August 2, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: Movie Review

Though suffering from the same problems that plague every Marvel film, Guardians of the Galaxy still proves that Marvel can create a droll, high flying adventure from any character/team in its comic vault.

Based on the 2008, Marvel comic book team by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning - not to be confused with the 1969, comic book team created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan -  Guardians of the Galaxy follows a group of misfit characters as they try stopping a classic Marvel cinematic villain, Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), from destroying the galaxy. The Guardians consist of Peter Quill a.k.a Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), who's a mix of rebooted Star Trek's Captain James Kirk and Han Solo; Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Thanos's adopted daughter bent on double crossing Thanos and Ronan; Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper, motion captured by Sean Gunn), a genetically engineered raccoon bounty hunter; Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel, motion captured by Krystian Godlewski), a talking, walking, human-like tree; and Drax the Destroyer (David Bautista), an alien seeking revenge on Ronan for killing his family. 

The film has a lot to get through, while trying to create a broad story. James Gunn shows off his charisma as director with the opening shots of space and the introduction of Star-Lord. The film's pace is certainly the foe during the entire two hour running time. Gunn has the arduous task of introducing five main characters, dozens of secondary characters, a villain and an entire galaxy. Characters are quickly molded through shoehorned scenes. Scenes are choppy and breathing room is absent. Each scene has importance to it, whether it's introducing a new character to Marvel's cinematic universe, giving exposition on something that will become important in future Marvel films, or expanding a character. 

While pace is the enemy, chemistry is friend. Pratt, Saldana and company, although very different characters, create memorable moments together and noticeably have fun working with each other. There are character changes that go unexplained or are meagerly touched upon, but each actor plays their part like their life is on the line. Lee Pace plays Ronan, the radical Kree working for the mighty Thanos (John Brolin). Lee Pace brings life to this formulaic, borderline flat Marvel villain.

Guardians suffers from the Marvel Formula. No matter how much charisma or originality Gunn brings to the camera, the script follows basic Marvel plot and characters points. Guardians also becomes one big trailer for what is to be expected in future Marvel films, with characters like Thanos continually popping up.  However, Gunn creates a universe that is breathtaking and will be a platform for Marvel in future films if Guardians unites with the ever-so expanding Avengers. Gunn's film also proves that maybe B-characters from Marvel comics can be brought to the big screen.  

Good Qualities: Chemistry, acting, the newly created universe which Gunn has so incredibly created
Bad Qualities: Pacing and Marvel's same old formula

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