written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
The little movie I never expected to come. I remember when I first caught wind of Guardians of the Galaxy. I was at the Marvel panel at San Diego Comic Con 2011 and all we got was a title card image. No casting yet but just that title card was surprising enough. Fast forward to 2014 and three SDCCs later, the movie is live... oh and what a movie it was.
I find myself comparing comic book movies to Avengers or the first Iron Man flick a lot, mostly because those two are damn near perfect comic book movies. Guardians is right up there with the aforementioned. Sporting a robust cast and some supporting actors with some serious credentials like Glenn Close and John C. Reilly. This was a damn near perfect comic book movie.
Directed by James Gunn (he also is credited as a writer) though he doesn't have that deep of a backlog of credits to his name, with his most high profile credit being the Dawn of the Dead remake from 2004 (as a writer), Guardians proves to be his first major directorial role. The gamble payed off well for Marvel Studios. The story centers on a rag tag group of would-be heroes, led by the sarcastic "Han Solo-esque" outlaw Peter "Star Lord" Quill, played by Chris Pratt of Parks & Rec fame. Peter was born on earth but after his mother's death he was abducted by interstellar travelers and put to work. Zoe Saldana plays Gamora (the adopted daughter of MCU baddie Thanos), Dave Bautista is Drax the Destroyer (a super powered hulking man with markings all over his body), Rocket (a somewhat anthropomorphic Racoon) is voiced by Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel rounds out the principle cast as the living tree Groot. Faced with impending doom, the unlikely heroes band together to take down Ronan the Accuser (played by Lee Pace) a murderous Kree who answers to Thanos (played by Josh Brolin). Rounding out the baddies is the lovely Karen Gillan (of Doctor Who fame) as the bad ass super villainess Nebula, also an adopted daughter of Thanos.
The narrative holds a perfect mix of break neck action, genuine comedy, and some heart warming moments... all in the span of this two-hour picture. For me, Bradley Cooper's portrayal of Rocket stole the show. He played the character to a tee and Rocket's unique brand of humor was clearly evident in Cooper's portrayal. From one-liners to jokes about stealing from cripples, the guy kept me laughing all through his scenes. Even his more sincere moments held weight to them, a testament to Bradley Cooper's acting chops. The stellar soundtrack is notable for touting some seriously good music. From "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede (the song from the trailers) to "O-O-h Child" by the Five Stairsteps, if you dig good music the soundtrack will really resonate with those sensibilities.
Much of the film was setting up the team, with the actual team forming shortly before the final climax of the film. I was a little disappointed at how they barely utilized Karen Gillan's Nebula character. I wish she showed up in more scenes, but that's a VERY small complaint. Overall the dynamic between the core members is what kept the film interesting to me. While I was very excited for this film (and it clearly did not disappoint) I'm already looking forward to the next chapter in the Guardians saga. I want to watch this one again, and from friends who checked out the midnight showing... only to go back the next day and see it again... it doesn't disappoint the second time around.
Guardians of the Galaxy stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and Dave Baustisa as the titular heroes. Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, and Djimon Hounsou star as the primary baddies with Glenn Close, John C. Reilly, and Benicio Del Toro in supporting roles. Also, make sure you stay all the way to the post credit scene for a VERY surprising cameo... I literally made the Jackie Chan "mind-blown" face... seriously. Guardians of the Galaxy is out now in the American market, make sure to check it out g33ks.