This was (by far) my most anticipated movie of the summer. I knew nothing about the Guardians before it was slated to become a film but I’ve spent the past two years reading, watching, and learning everything I could. With two years of preparation, my expectations were high… so could this movie even meet those standards?
The gist is that Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) was abducted as a child and raised by a band of thieves in outer space. When he tries to steal a dangerous orb, he gets caught up in an adventure where he is teamed up with the unlikely duo of a giant tree Groot (Vin Diesel) and a talking raccoon Rocket (Bradley Cooper). He also allies himself with a revenge-driven maniac (Dave Bautista) and an assassin (Zoe Saldana). The supporting cast includes Benicio del Toro, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Josh Brolin, and Michael Rooker.
My God. Everything. Even with super high expectations, this absolutely blew me away.
Let me start with the story. It’s a perfect balance of epic adventure and comedy gold, with a handful of really dramatic emotional moments as well. Luckily, director James Gunn was able to take his unique vision and translate to an incredible film. To implement his vision, he brought on a stellar cast. Chris Pratt is the next big thing and he is absolutely wonderful in this movie, acting as much more than just a hero. He is emotional, he kicks ass, and he is hilarious. He’s the perfect leading man here and he makes this story much more accessible.
This movie’s success is based on the success of Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper). If he failed, this movie would’ve tanked. But luckily, Rocket is incredibly funny and emotionally touching. His story is tragic and it really balances some of the film’s humor. Rocket’s best pal Groot though is the one that stole the show for me, though. The effects for Groot are stellar and he’s easily the most likeable character.
In terms of action, there are some awesome fight scenes. A giant prison break is probably one of the highlights, as the Guardians learn to work together. Drax (Bautista) is a beast, while Gamora (Saldana) also deals some major blows. The “Hulk” of this movie is definitely Groot though, as he has some moments that make you stand up and applaud.
And the music… Wow. Not only is the soundtrack catchy but it’s actually integral to the story, as these songs mean something to Peter Quill. Excellent execution.
Visually, this movie is also just a blast to watch. The colors are bright and vibrant, while the effects are usually subtle and almost seem practical in most instances. Gunn’s dedication to using actual practical effects when possible is also admirable.
While the villains of the film do their job, this movie isn’t really about them. Both Ronan (Lee Pace) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) look amazing, but their motivations aren’t always clear and the political story of why Ronan was being a jerk was a little muddy.
With incredibly high expectations, this movie still managed to surprise me. You don’t need to know anything going in. Though it’s set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s a whole new branch and a great starting place for new viewers. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll be entertained for a solid two hours. It’s a stellar addition to the franchise and will please most viewers. Please go see this opening weekend to reaffirm that Marvel should take more risks on unknown (to the mainstream audience) properties like this.