What would you think if you saw a raccoon, a walking tree, a scarred wrestler, a green skinned woman, and a lazy intergalactic thief? To the general public, you would probably think this was the stupidest and most ridiculous idea to be put into your head. However, to those that are fans of comic book lore, it sets you on a path to excitement as Marvel’s latest creation is released into the theaters. Yet this late in the summer does the superhero flick still have the same spark, or have we been served a lackluster filler until the next Avengers film releases next year? Read on to find out.
Let us start this review with saying that Guardians of the Galaxy will not disappoint. The incredibly fictional team of anthropomorphic aliens brings a lot of diverse aspects to a series that has been rather consistent over the last few years. Stepping away from the heroic images of rock hard abs and blaring percussion music, the protagonists in this film are your run of the mill vagabonds of the galaxy. This fresh hero image is hilarious, and sets the stage for the humor that fills this movie. That’s right you heard me, Guardians is filled to the brim with laughs of all kinds using the ridiculous character designs as a foundation to make you scream out in delight. In particular is the raccoon Rocket (Bradley Cooper), whose wild, enigmatic edge comes out in full force. Rocket is a feisty little cyborg animal, whose pent up rage leaves him with a short fuse that leads to explosions of cursing and well timed insults that are so amusing coming out of a little animal. Cooper does a great job with his voice acting, using the right balance of emotions to give us laughs and yet not overdo it to get annoying. This may also be because of the character design, but the casting made the right call getting the talented man the role of the raccoon.
Yet the furry little rodent isn’t the only source of humor in this movie, but the rest of the cast provides some other quips and treats. Chris Pratt is the same egotistical idiot he plays so well, though this time trades his mindless, dribbling shouting for some well-written dialog. Zoe Saldana is the femme fatale, whose gorgeous looks guide the group along the adventure. While not the funniest of the bunch, Saldana’s acting is spot on, and her character plays off the others to provide some awkward relationships and a few zings that had me chuckle. The large and in charge assassin Drax (Dave Bautista) is surprisingly funny, mostly due to his literal take on every single thing the rest of the crew say. Combine that with well timed execution of his lines and you have a good mixture of fun, though his action scenes are surprisingly lacking and simple. Even Vin Diesel’s animated avatar Groot has some laughs, despite saying five words the entire movie. Like an infant, Groot tends to put himself in situations that are harmful, often relying on others to bail him out and apologize with his catch phrase “I am Groot” that while simple, is again delivered at just the right times. Yet as the adventure continues, the loveable tree alien does many other things that will have you laughing, many of which I don’t wish to reveal to avoid ruining the movie.
My preceding paragraphs state that this movie has a lot of humor, but what about the action. In truth, Guardians of the Galaxy is not as much hard hitting, fist slamming, mystic weapon slinging that we’ve seen in the past. No Guardians instead puts a bit less slashing and more laser blasting explosions into the mix, allowing for an adventure that feels like part Marvel, part Star Wars, and part Independence Day. Many movie fans will be picking up references from Star Wars over the course of the movie, with tweaks to the scenes here and there to avoid copyright infringement. While this may lack some originality, the creation team did a nice job balancing the action with the comedy, giving us just enough fighting to quench our thirst before an exciting conclusion. Well exciting for the most part anyway, the ship-to-ship battles were my particular favorite, and the infiltration scene was rather good. Unfortunately some of the epic build up fails and becomes anticlimactic fighting that was merely an attempt to get their money’s worth. In particular, the villain Ronan (Lee Pace) was not that threatening, but more so a pompous windbag who merely spoke loud and carried a big stick. Sure he had a menacing glare, but he spoke more than he acted and had little skills in the art of fighting, especially when you compare the size of him to Drax. Maybe that was the point; maybe the lack of edge was to go with the comedic theme of this film. Yet it was still a little disappointing to me, though the ending did make up for it.
Despite the lack of seriously threatening villains, Guardians of the Galaxy was well worth the wait. The blend of comedy with action is incredibly entertaining, and the cast of characters bounces their styles off one another to keep you laughing with a well-written dialog. Add in the nostalgia of geeky science fiction and retro movies and you have a fun adventure to fill the superhero gap from this summer. Of course there is some dark and mature themes in this movie, especially with some of the cursing, but this movie should be okay for kids as well. So go have some laughs, enjoy the special effects and make sure to stay after the credits for another classic scene. My scores for this flick are:
Movie Overall: 8.5