run time: 121 mins
considered: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
director: James Gunn
starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, Laura Haddock, Sean Gunn, Peter Serafinowicz
movie summary: Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is a teenage boy who loves listening to music from the 1970s and 80s. He loses his mom to cancer and runs away before he is abducted by a space ship in a field outside of the hospital. We don’t hear from Peter for 26 years until he flies down to a planet to search it for hidden treasures to salvage and sell for gold. He skips around puddles listening the mix tape his mom gave him before stumbling upon a temple with a rare artifact hidden inside. The moment he unlocks the gemstone from its case Peter is surrounded by Korath (Djimon Hounsou) and his armed soldiers but manages to escape in his spaceship. He returns to a dealer who specializes in rare items but he wants nothing to do with the gemstone when Peter shows it to him.
Kree Ronan (Lee Pace) is an evil ruler that has plans to take over the whole universe when he learns Peter discovered a rare gem stone. He dispatches one of best warriors Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to go capture the stone. After failing to sell off the stone Peter is pursued by Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and his best friend Groot (Vin Diesel). The raccoon and tree duo are bounty hunters who come across Peter’s outstanding warrant and want to bring him for cash. Gamora shows up at the same time and the four of them battle it out across the streets until they are all arrested by the Nova Crops. When the group finally get through the prison processing centre they cross paths with a ruthless convict named Drax (Dave Bautista), who has been waiting for the day to seek revenge on Ronan for killing his family. When he learns that Gamora is close to Ronan he wants to kill her before Peter stops him and offers him part of the reward money for his gem stone and his outstanding warrant. Raccoon and Groot come to their friend’s aid and the enemies agree to put their differences aside to form a team to bring Ronan down and return the stone to its rightful place.
The four of them work together to escape from the prison to bring the stone to a buyer Gamora knows. They travel to a planet called Knowhere to meet the collector named Taneleer Tivan (Benicio Del Toro) who unlocks the gem from its case setting off a chain reaction of explosions that damage the whole building. Outside of Tivan’s collection room Drax and Groot are hammering down the beers and get into a huge fight before Peter, Rocket, and Gamora separate them. Drax is a tad bit drunk, doesn’t like the pace of the mission, and wants to kill Ronan that night. He wanders off and sends a message to Ronan’s guards that he wants to meet him on Knowhere and fight, of course Drax had no clue the consequences of his message, but when Ronan shows up he kicks Drax’s ass all over the place before stealing the gemstone.
Gamora explains to the guys that if Ronan unlocks the stone’s true powers it could mean the end of the universe. Drax apologies for his actions and explains to everyone why he acts the way he does, everyone is forgiving while moving their focus to hatching a plan to stop Ronan before he begins to conquer planets. The group doesn’t have enough man or fire power to take the battle to Ronan on his home turf so Peter calls Yondu (Michael Rooker), his best friend and father figure that he has been working for since he was a kid. When the parties meet up Yondu wants to kill Peter for betraying him in the past but once they settle their differences thanks to Gamora’s advice they sit down to play their attack. Releasing they are still underpowered Peter calls the Nova Corps to provide back up, who agree to help as long as Peter turns himself in after the battle. The action picks up when Ronan boards his ship and sets his sights on Xandar, the first of many planets he plans on destroying thanks to his new invincible powers.
my thoughts: If you have been reading my blog over the last year you’ll know I rarely read books let alone comic books. I knew nothing about these Guardians of the Galaxy except they are a Marvel creation and will someday be tied into the Avengers storyline. It was refreshing to go into a movie I knew nothing about the characters or storylines and could enjoy myself. This Guardians movie has been billed as the greatest Marvel movie to date and even though I firmly disagree with that bold statement, I do find it to be the funniest superhero movie I’ve ever seen. The beginning was a tad bit confusing for me because there’s so many names, planets, and storyline directions that I was afraid this would suck, then about 20-25 minutes in everything started to make sense and come together.
Chris Pratt shines in the role of Peter Quill/Starlord, he provides that sarcastic dry humour that breathes his character to life on the big screen. He becomes the defacto leader of this group of misfits because he’s stupid, crazy, and level-headed enough to pull it off. He has great chemistry with Zoe Saldana’s character Gamora despite his reputation as a ladies’ man, much like Captain Kirk of the Star Trek series. Zoe gets a chance to show her warrior side by kicking ass with a flexible move set while playing up her sexy side with green skin. When these two meet Bradley Cooper’s raccoon character Rocket the friction kicks into high gear because Rocket is a tough as nails animal who loves to kill and blow up everything. His big dumb protector Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel, is around to shield Rocket from all the dangers while providing the audiences with gut busting laughs thanks to his inability to say anything besides his name. The other main star is wrestler turned actor Dave Bautista who is presented a muscle man but doesn’t really do much to tear people’s heads off. I kinda feel bad for him because as a man’s man yet he comes across as pretty emotional and light-hearted which you wouldn’t expect as a member of a group of ruthless convicts. They play up his anger for revenge but the rest of the movie he sits in the back seat behind both a tree and a raccoon. He will never be like the Rock and command leading roles but he’s for sure not missed in the wrestling world.
I thought the movie was very entertaining, not from a storyline perspective, but from the chemistry between the characters and the action sequences that fly off the screen thanks to 3D animation. The story does follow the pattern of every other superhero movie with the good guys teaming up against the bad guys while leaving many angles open for more sequels and other Marvel story tie ins.
my final thoughts: I don’t need to tell you to go see Guardians of the Galaxy because you have either gone already or plan to go over the next week or so. If you are on the fence I’d recommend it (even at full price) for the entertainment value and laugh out loud moments.
my star rating: 8 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 92% out 100%
rogerebert.com: 3 out 4