Review – Guardians of the Galaxy

by | Sep 1, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel has a reputation for producing movies that are action packed and full of special effects. They also offer decent plots and an interconnectivity that is missing from many of Hollywood’s offerings. The latest addition to the Marvel franchise is no exception. “Guardians of the Galaxy” lives up to the reputation nicely!

The Players
James Gunn directs this blockbuster. With a run time of just over 2 hours this film isn’t too long, so the story line had to be tight. He keeps the action moving while interjecting just the right amount of humor to keep the mood light. Mr. Gunn gets his money’s worth from the $170 million budget, the effects are top notch. This huge budget is right in line with other Marvel films and the quality of production is very high. While James Gunn is no stranger to Disney, this is his first go at a Marvel film. It won’t be his last, he is already working on the Sequel, “Guardians of the Galaxy 2”, which has a reported release date of July 28th, 2017.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” revolves around the main character, Peter Quill aka Star Lord. Peter Quill, played by Chris Pratt, was one of the brightest points of light in this film. Star Lord is the title that Peter bestows on himself. Unfortunately, it quickly becomes obvious that he is the only one that is aware of the title. Not only is the title of Star Lord all but unknown, so is the imagined respect such a title should demand. This is one of those running jokes that could have fallen flat, but ends up working quite well as the film progresses. While Star Lord’s ego is almost as large as the galaxy that he inhabits, it turns out that he actually has the skills and cunning to go with the ego. Maybe Star Lord isn’t that much of a stretch.

Zoe Saldana provides considerable eye candy in the role of Gamora, the adopted daughter of the villain Thanos. Gamora has super-human strength and agility along with accelerated healing. She has been trained to fight as a leader of Thanos’ Infinity Watch. She uses all of these attributes to kick some major butt throughout the film.

Dave Batista plays Drax the Destroyer. This mountain of a man didn’t need many special effects to appear menacing on the silver screen. Those muscles are real, developed over years of workouts on the way to becoming a 6 time World Champion wrestler. Drax is bent on revenge against Thanos and becomes part of the “Guardians” group in order to exact his revenge. At first, Drax only appears to fill the role of muscle for the group but he also provides quite a bit of comic relief, though his character is oblivious.

The last 2 members of the Guardians are both CGI. Groot is a tree-like humanoid voiced by Vin Diesel that first appears rather stupid, but later reveals quite a depth of intelligence and compassion. It is remarkable how well Groot can communicate with such a limited amount of dialog. Rocket is a genetically engineered raccoon that is voiced by Bradley Cooper. Rocket’s genetic manipulation gives him superior tactical skills and the ability to use seemingly random objects to execute grand master plans. This character is also a bit of a smart Alec and practical joker which adds to the light mood of this movie. Groot and Rocket come to the group as an experienced team of bounty hunters, though how that connection began is not revealed.

A group of misfits is thrown together by destiny to fight a common foe.

The Film
The main plot of this movie is an old one in an outer space setting. A group of misfits is thrown together by destiny to fight a common foe. Together they reveal a higher moral standard than any of them seemed to possess as individuals. While the basic plot still works, it’s the details of the journey that make Guardians such a delight. Each character adds depth to the overall experience, making the whole better than the sum of the parts. The sub-plots that each character brings to the story line, gives the movie new dimensions.

One of these sub-plots provides the movies’ soundtrack. When Peter Quill is abducted from Earth, one of the only possessions he has is a Walkman that has a cassette tape titled “Awesome Mix Vol. 1”. This soundtrack provides a clever juxtaposition between then popular 70’s music and outer space. The soundtrack also reminds us of Peter’s tenuous link to ‘home’ and hints at a possible future story line for the Guardians. It is also worth noting that the soundtrack from Guardians was the #1 downloaded album on iTunes since the release of the movie. This is both very clever film making and great merchandising. We've created an XBMC playlist that contains the film's soundtrack. You can find and download it here. Alternatively, you can grab the album download at the following link. It's definitely worth a listen.

The character of Gamora is a study in conflict. Her adoptive father is an evil villain but he did take her in and provide a home for her when no one else would. Thanos trained her as a leader of his Infinity Watch and now she is using this training to fight against the forces she was trained to lead. This conflict is even as simple as her ruthless, selfish upbringing verses the greater good of the Galaxy. There are all kinds of potential future plot lines here.

Drax the Destroyer is a ruthless thug that re-examines the focus of his all-consuming drive for revenge. Where will his new perspective take him? There are several potential future plot angles in this character as well. Next, what about Groot and Rocket? Where did their unlikely alliance come from? What does the future hold for them, and how does their future fit in with the rest of the ‘Guardians’?

Finally, we have come to expect that all of Marvel’s film franchises tie into each other. How will Guardians of the Galaxy accomplish this? There doesn’t seem to be any easy connection between Guardians and Marvel’s other film franchises. We will just have to wait and see if this franchise follows form for Marvel.

In Conclusion
As is the case with nearly all of the other Marvel franchises, Guardians of the Galaxy leaves us with more questions than answers. Some of the questions will likely be answered in the sequel, while there will undoubtedly be more questions raised. I don’t have the answers, but I do know that I am looking forward to seeing all of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.

Images by Marvel Studios


About Brian Hill
Brian Hill is a home theater enthusiast who has an extensive background in sales. His interests include music & movies, F1 & NASCAR auto racing, hot rods (he has a '56 Nomad) and hockey — Go Sharks!
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