Thursday, August 7, 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy
Film: Guardians of the Galaxy
Starring: Chris Pratt (Her) and Zoe Saldana (Out of the Furnace)
Director: James Gunn (Super)
U.S. Release: August 1st, 2014 (Rated PG-13)
Runtime: 121 minutes
Prepare to hold onto your seats for one of 2014's finest summer blockbusters. As Marvel continues to expand its universe and bring these stories to the big screen, its latest adaptation, Guardian's of the Galaxy, is funnier than 22 Jump Street and more action-packed than Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. For many moviegoers, Guardians will represent the quintessential blockbuster experience. Yet, even for the non action-lovers like myself, the film is one hell of a good time.
After losing his mother to cancer and being abducted by a space ship full of outlaws as a boy, a much older Peter Quill (played by Chris Pratt) ventures throughout the galaxy listening to an old mix tape on a walk-man and stealing anything he can get his hands on. Yet, when he stumbles across a powerful orb on an abandoned planet, Peter (aka "Star-Lord") becomes the target of an evil villain named Ronan. And once Ronan gains possession of the orb and intends to use its powers to destroy the entire galaxy, Peter must band together with a group of misfits to save everyone from annihilation.
As someone who laughed-off the trailers and buzz surrounding James Gunn's latest effort, Guardians of the Galaxy, I'm here to admit that I was wrong. Gunn delivers a triumphant feature that surpasses even the overly-adored 2012 cash-cow, Marvel's The Avengers. Leading star Chris Pratt has always been a comical genius and someone I've admired for quite some time. Stealing the spotlight in past works such as Delivery Man and 10 Years afforded Pratt the opportunity to seize a money-printing franchise such as this, and he does so with ease. The humor is legitimate and Pratt isn't the only one cracking jokes. Bradley Cooper, who offers his voice for the cunning raccoon, Rocket, does a fantastic job of infusing comedy into the film as well. But in addition to a multitude of laugh-out-scenes, Guardians of the Galaxy conjures up a cohesive and entertaining story that isn't bogged down by an action-overdose. Unlike other recent over-the-top blockbusters such as Man of Steel and Iron Man 3, who attempted to replace substance with artificial action, the chase scenes and special effects are very tasteful and properly placed, making Guardians of the Galaxy a fine summer blockbuster for all types of audiences.
Although I give James Gunn's superhero flick a validated endorsement, it fails to begin and end without the occasional hiccup. Zoe Saldana's character, Gamora, is clearly the weakest link. Yet, she becomes a necessary evil that we'll gladly take in order to enjoy the rest of the experience. Furthermore, Guardians of the Galaxy constantly employs an unforgivable trait in movies, Gunn and the rest of his writers make up the rules as they go along. Without any prior explanation or understanding of the characters and their situations, important plot elements are sprung onto the audience in order to provide a smooth transition to the next scene. This is a sign of lazy writing and development that's hard to overlook. Therefore, Guardians is a winning effort that definitely has its flaws.
If you're still seeking out a successful summer blockbuster, look no further than James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy. As the Marvel universe continues its expansion, I become more and more impressed with what they have to offer. A commitment to an engaging story through the use of comedy and appropriately measured amounts of action feel like a recipe for success, and one that's clearly evident with Guardians of the Galaxy.
Stars: 3 stars out of 4