reviewed by Tom-Tom
The Marvel Cinematic Universe can be quite intimidating for newcomers making them feel as if a certain amount of homework is necessary before walking into the theater of the current MCU entry. In Marvel’s defense, they usually offer all the points necessary for understanding what is happening in the current film but as a devout viewer and reader of many of the corresponding comics, I can’t truly put myself in their place. Guardians of the Galaxy is a different film. For starters, its setting isn’t even on Earth (well, after the first 6 minutes it isn’t). It’s in a galaxy far, far away and perhaps one of the most enjoyable, funny, and awesome Sci-Fi action flicks since the original Star Wars Trilogy. Definitely the best since Serenity.
The plot isn’t all that out of the ordinary. A madman in space called Ronan (who is a rogue Kree, they’re the blue guys who usually sport mohawks) wants to destroy a planet Xandar (Nova Prime) )and massacre its inhabitants despite a peace treaty signed by both governments. To effectuate this, he needs an orb which contains a deadly power. Typical Sci-Fi fare, right? Wrong. While the outline of the plot may be basic, its carrying out is so fresh, hip, and well, cool, that it took my breath away. The film neither begins or ends as you would expect it would, with just enough sentimentality to make us care but not enough to be preachy. The script is absolutely excellent, with each character: Peter Quill, Gamora, Rocket, Groot, and Drax all very well fleshed out. Even Yondu (Michael Rooker, Southern Accent and all), Peter’s kidnapper/father figure/nemesis has an awesome part to play. There’s much of Han Solo and Captains Mal and Kirk in Quill (Chris Pratt) AKA the Star-Lord and Chewbacca in Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel redolent of his Iron Giant voice) but they have their own distinctive qualities as well. Bradley Cooper as Rocket is hilarious with a Joe Pesci-like constant buzz of commentary and complaints although never profane or unintellectual. Gamora (Zoe Saldana) mostly plays your standard kickass Sci-Fi babe although her scenes with Quill have a nice, natural chemistry. Dave Bautista as Drax is a fierce fighter although painfully literal, he talks like a Hemmingway character, with no metaphors or window dressing. Each character is instantly likable and memorable making their eventual adventures together so fun to watch. Hearing their trash talking one another is like hanging out with ones own friends for a fine time.
Along the way, there is a cool jail break worthy of even the one in the second X-Men movie, tunes from the 70’s the mixed tape of which has its own rather moving story, and a high stakes, epic battle in the air and on a ship amid the impending doom of annihilation. We get to meet Thanos in a minor role, (although everyone will know his name come 2018 when The Infinity War begins), Nova Prime (Glen Close), The Collector (Benicio Del Toro), and even John C. Reilly, with his Chicago accent introducing each character late into the 1st Act.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a cool and fun ride from beginning to end and arguably one of the best films of 2014. Aside from the first Iron Man film, it’s easily the most accessible entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.