After the first few scenes of “Guardians of the Galaxy” you get the tone that director James Gunn (Slither, Super) is going for. In a matter of minutes you see that this is unlike any of the other nine Marvel movies that have come before. It is a welcomed and fantastic surprise.
Thief Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), who likes to be called Star-Lord, though no one calls him that, steals an orb that is wanted by Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) a member of the alien race called the Kree who is bent on destroying the planet of Xandar. When Quill is captured, he is forced into a partnership with Gamora (Zoe Saldana) an assassin and daughter of Thanos (that purple guy from the end of Avengers), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket a genetically altered raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and his muscle, the living tree Groot (Vin Diesel). What begins as a partnership for profit and revenge changes as the group decides to defend the planet that hates and imprisoned them.
This movie is so much fun, with Star Wars being the biggest influence from the type of action, to certain set pieces, even the way the characters argue like Han, Luke and Leia did. Though what really sets it apart from both Star Wars and the other Marvel films besides the well placed music queues is its humor. It has the right amount of wacky without being stupid, and doesn’t do too much self-deprecating to be annoying. Chris Pratt has excellent screen presence, and great comedic timing. Zoe Saldana is doing a decent cross between her roles in “Avatar” and “Star Trek”. Bradley Cooper is the stand out as Rocket, and both the CG artists and Vin Diesel channel the Iron Giant for Groot. The only weak link is Dave Bautista as Drax, who is clearly not an actor, but does his best, and it helps that he’s given some of the best lines to say. And it does earn its PG-13 rating, mostly for its profanity.
The script by Gunn and Nicole Perlman is exceptional, it’s the perfect balance of comedy and adventure as the two hour running time flies by. When it’s over all you want is to spend more time with this rag-tag crew of misfits and see what other kind of trouble they might get into.
Thankfully another “Guardians” is promised by the end and a sequel has already been green-lit. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens when this series crosses paths with the rest of the Marvel universe. And as always stay for that end-of-credits sequence.
–Robert L. Castillo