Review: “Guardians of the Galaxy”

From the moment a brash, arrogant Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) dances through space ruins to “Come and Get Your Love” during the opening credits, gleefully kicking space rats along the way, you can tell this isn’t going to be like your average Marvel movie. And by the hammer of Thor, it’s not.
“Guardians of the Galaxy”, directed by James Gunn (whose past work isn’t worth mention, but proves this is the right kind of material for him) thrives on showing off the grandeur of Marvel’s newly expanded universe.

Unlike with this year’s “Hercules”, “Guardians” utilizes a bevy of content to create a totally unique world filled with ray guns, exotic creatures, space ships, jet packs and everything else that your inner 10-year-old (or an actual 10-year-old) could ever hope for.

Most of it rings the “Star Wars” bell, especially when it comes to interplanetary travel. Gunn focuses his shots on the monolith planets as a ship zooms onto screen, then cutting to the vastness of its surface as the ship enters, looking like a glowing peanut in comparison. These are big new worlds whose enormity and intricacies outdo anything seen by Marvel before, and Gunn wants you to know it.

The loveable band of misfits is treated likewise. When we first see Quill he seems quirky and high-spirited, but he is. But like the rest of the Guardians, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel, he has some serious emotional struggles, but is also kind of an ass. Only Groot manages to be constantly sweet, using his powers to bloom flowers and unleash fire flies to light up any dark situation—sometimes literally.

Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman communicate this best through banter and an off-brand sense of humor. Unlike Joss Whedon’s witty approach to The Avengers, Gunn humor is more observational and involves the characters tearing each other a new one.

They constantly poke fun at each other’s flaws—which may sound mean to some—but hey, that’s what friends/ intergalactic criminals do. Most of the jokes work perfectly at creating the characters as they harshly analyze all situations. Albeit the humor does sometimes act as a cushion when having to deal with dramatic elements it’s still the movies defining highlight.

Sadly, the flaw that stayed with me was the criminal underuse of Benicio Del Toro as the intriguingly strange The Collector. We were led to believe he had a bigger part, both in advertising and throughout the movie, but he’s unfortunately delegated to one scene and a mediocre after credits sequence.

Blend that abnormal humor with flawed thugs and an unrelenting sense of fun and you got yourself a blockbuster for the ages. Ships blast others out of the sky, jabs are exchanged, and each character pummels enemies with their own unique style. I won’t give it away, but during a fight Groot does certain things to a group of enemies with his tree branch arm that gave me permanent smile marks. Rooting for criminals has never been so fun!

Grade: A

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