“Guardians of the Galaxy” is directed by James Gunn and written by Gunn and Nicole Perlman. The film out this Friday starrs Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Benicio del Toro.
Earlier this year, I had the chance to watch and review “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” At that moment in time, I truly believed I witnessed one of the best Marvel films, as well as comic book films, to date. To follow up “The Winter Soldier,” Marvel took a risk and released a more unknown property: “The Guardians of the Galaxy.” Sure, Marvel had visited the Cosmos before with “Thor” and briefly in “The Avengers,” but never have they gone as deep into space as this. It’s safe to say that director James Gunn and his crew were touching new ground in the MCU. The end result? Probably the most fun a Marvel film has had in a long time — it felt like a blending of tones of “Star Wars” with “Indiana Jones” with a hint of “Firefly.” It truly doesn’t disappoint on any level.
In 1988, a young Peter Quill is abducted by a spaceship from the planet Earth (it seems like a nice place, but no where I’d want be…you’ll get it soon). Years later, Quill (Pratt), now a thief and a junker is on a job looking for some sort of mysterious orbs. I have to take the time here to just say that Quill’s introduction sequence to Redbone’s “Come And Get Your Love” is one of the best in any movie I’ve seen … right off the bat it sets up the tone for what’s coming. But bad news for Quill — he’s not alone in looking for the orb. Korath (Hounsou) and a couple of others are hunting down the orb for Ronan the Accuser (Pace). Quill, surrounded by Korath and some of his men, knocks them out and makes his escape.
Quill heads to the planet Xandar to contact his guy, but once Quill let’s slip that Ronan is interested … well, he’s sent out of the shop quickly. Waiting for him outside is Gamora (Saldana), an assassin who has been sent by Ronan to retrieve the orb. But also waiting for Quill to collect the bounty on his head are Rocket (Cooper) and Groot (Diesel). What comes next makes for one of the funniest moments in the movie that end in all four of them being arrested, with Rhomann Dey (Rielly) bringing in Quill or as he calls him, “Star-Prince.”
The four of them are sent to Kyln prison, and the only real way for them to survive is if they stick together. At least Quill sticking with Rocket and Groot … they really want that bounty. Gamora on the other hand … a lot of people in that prison were affected and had friends and family killed by Ronan so her head is wanted. Once night time rolls around, Gamora is taken by some inmates and is all but killed until a big guy walks in the room — Drax the Destroyer (Batista). Drax makes the claim that he’s the one who should kill Gamora for what Ronan has done to his family. She’s all but dead until Quill steps in and saves Gamora’s life by promising Drax they will kill Ronan.
I’ll say this right now — “Guardians” isn’t just the funniest movie in the MCU, but may be the most emotional, most heartfelt and touching movie in the MCU as well. Each of the Guardians has gone through hell and back. Each of them has their own demons that turned them into what they are. James Gunn doesn’t gloss over this — he lets each character have their moment and it’s both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. Before the Guardians can come together as a unit, they have to come to terms with their past and what they’ve become. In “The Avengers,” it’s ego that gets in the way of them becoming a force. In “Guardians,’ it’s not ego…it’s a lack of family and trust in a society where all of these individuals had been forced to go at it alone.
As a whole, Guardians really is a special movie and is instantly a Marvel favorite. Chris Pratt is perfect as Star-Lord while Dave Batista is, shockingly, one of the funniest characters in the whole movie. The villains are also well done and thoughtout — both Lee Pace and Karen Gillan (as Nebula) are fierce and it feels like at any moment they can kill you if they so choose. While there’s a lot going on in the movie and there’s so much movement and traveling, it never gets to a point where it feels overwhelming.
In terms of a Marvel movie, James Gunn has created a sci-fi masterpiece unlike any other. Gunn has always been a bit insane … just take a look at his past movies. But that’s what made him the absolute perfect choice to direct this movie. With a talking tree, a bad mouthing raccoon, and just pure craziness going on every second, you need an insane director. James Gunn has cemented his place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I expect he’ll be around for a long while. “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a delicious treat for just about everyone. But remember — stay for the credits. It’s never quite over.