Film Review – Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians - 3

Title – Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Director – James Gunn (Slither)

Cast – Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro (Voices of) Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel

Plot – Once Earth bound, Peter Quill (Pratt) now finds himself in a space battle that could destroy the entire universe. He is joined on his journey to stop the evil Ronan (Pace) by a rag tag group comprising of female warrior Gamora (Saldana), vengeful Drax (Bautista) and bounty hunters Rocket (Cooper) and Groot (Diesel).

 “I’m pretty sure the answer is “I am Groot”

 Review by Eddie on 08/08/2014

To read my opinion piece written before I had seen Guardians of Galaxy click HERE

For one to not find Guardians of the Galaxy fun they would have to be some type of Grinch, for James Gunn’s loud, colourful and at most times unashamedly odd Marvel movie has an appeal in most areas you look, and despite slight moments of darkness has a mantra for entertainment over seriousness that allows the film to overcome its generic nature that has been strangely overlooked by the public yet is quite prevalent throughout the film.

Guardians is going to go down as one of those odd movie cases where one can’t help but feel people were far too lavish in their praise for a movie that at its core is built around the tried and true formulas of a rag tag bunch of mismatched antiheros banding together to stop the big bad nasty from destroying the universe. Director Gunn has done a seriously good cover up job of this by instilling an often ingenious and witty script into proceedings that, as mentioned previously, demands fun to be had by an audience member willing to jump in the journey and forget that what they are actually seeing is something that is not entirely as unique as one would think. It’s a risky story no doubt thanks to the set of oddball characters at its centre and it’s a credit to Gunn that he manages to be so successful with the elements at his disposal.

Without doubt, one thing that Guardians does better above all else is create a set of space hero’s that look to be one of the most memorable and adored set of trouble makers this side the Millennium Falcons crew. Long held back by supporting turns the group is charismatically led by Chris Pratt as Han So…I mean Peter Quill/Star Lord. Pratt is an anchoring presence in the film and excels as expected at his comedic timing and as the wise cracking adventurer, but to say Pratt is alone in the charm stakes would be a lie, as the film also excels at perhaps it’s hardest task which was to create a not-only believable but loveable duo in the form of genetically altered racoon Rocket and his walking tree sidekick Groot. These two creations would’ve been a consistent worry on Marvel’s and Gunn’s mind, as getting them wrong would’ve plagued the picture beyond redemption, but the work of quality CGI creativity and the voice acting of Cooper and the unsung mo-cap work of Vin Diesel is that of the highest order, so much so that the two nigh on run away with the film. To a lesser extent Zoe Saldana and ex-wrestler Dave Butista provide solid, if a little more as-per-usual support as female heroine Gamora and angry man mountain Drax the Destroyer respectively, but no amount of good work by this group can overcome the film’s Achilles heel (even while slightly petty for such a fun film) which is a weak overall story arc and even weaker villains.

Focussed too much on the 5 Guardians, there was arguably a lack of similar effort in the creation of the film’s big bad Ronan the Accuser and actor Lee Pace, who feel like an afterthought in a tale that needed to amount to more in order to be worthy of the now ardent praise poured on it by audiences and many critics. It’s not to say Pace is bad, but Ronan is severely undercooked and a culmination of his efforts in a far from satisfactory final act leave a diminished mark on a movie that should’ve prided itself on going for the unpredictable or for going all out. One feels that it all ends with a whimper and not with a bang, despite a late saving-grace effort by our favourite tree and a dancing hero.

Without question, Guardians of the Galaxy is a fun, enjoyable ride that sadly lacks certain thrills and sense of adventure due to a story that didn’t develop around the characters that come into a life of their own. It was a risk by Marvel (this feels a lot more edgy than your average Marvel piece, sexual innuendo included) to even commission this material to the big screen and it’s a risk that has worked (especially in a financial sense), and Gunn seems like the perfect fit as director. Both however need to significantly step up their game in the story stakes next time, and aim for not only fun but a more original and unpredictable story to go along with its unique and now much loved character set. I am Groot indeed.

3 and a half never dying Walkman’s out of 5

53 responses to “Film Review – Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

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  2. The villains were an disappointing elements of an otherwise epic tale. I had even more of a problem with Nebula than I did with Ronan. She was utterly pointless….

    • Yeh great point man, they both just felt really undercooked and it was sad to see that as the rest of the cast really made a good impression. I found the story just slightly to underwhelming to.

  3. Saw it, it was okay. I actually thought it would be great because of some reviews that I read. The music was more exciting than the characters. And I agree, Nebula was pointless! I really don’t enjoy films that have characters who bring nothing to the table. My husband wasn’t happy about the film at all. That man loves his Marvel Comics.

    • Yeh I had wondered how die hard fans of the comic may find it all, be interested to hear more from them. It was a fun film but reviewers have over praised it badly.

  4. I love everything Gunn does and found all his slight nods and off beat humour particularly working here! The villain may have been underwritten, but this picture wasn’t focused on ‘the big bad,’ who was at least threatening! All-in-all, I would recommend this to anyone, as it’s the best time I’ve had in a cinema all year!

    • Mr. Movie I very much agree with you on a majority of those points and will be recommending Guardians to anyone that asks. I have a feeling Gunn’s next Guardians ride will be even more of it’s own beast though and shun the more predictable arc this one went for.

  5. I thought the weak villains could be overlooked for this one because the rest of the film was so enjoyable, but I understand why some may have found it disappointing. Hopefully the next one is a more complete package.

    • Hey mate. It was a really enjoyable ride, one that I am hopeful Jordan will be able to check out as well because it would take someone pretty hard to please to not like this journey.

  6. I totally agree that there were a lot of weaknesses within this film. It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one who feels this way because there seems to be a lot of blind praise from all audiences. In addition to the points you made, I wasn’t too thrilled with the portrayal of Gamora. Whether it was Saldana’s fault or the writers’, it felt very one-note to me. I mean, Groot felt more well rounded. I hope that in the future she becomes more fleshed out. Still, I had a fun time and will be eager to see more from this ragtag team!

  7. Great review. I disliked the way the villains were handled too. Karen Gillan, Lee Pace and Djimon Hounsou – such good actors wasted!

  8. *cringes at score* … but I respect why it was slightly above average for you. I went in expecting a terribly executed villain(s) played a great actor(s), and I wasn’t disappointed because it was exactly what happened.

  9. Excellent review. I completely agree. It’s 5 fun movie but people are treating it like the second coming and it’s just not that memorable.

  10. Great review. I felt similarly about the movie and thought myself kind of a party pooper for not raving over it like many have. It was fun, but not very well-written. But, I guess I could say that of many films I enjoy!

  11. I saw this yesterday when I needed to kill a few hours while my car was being serviced. It is one of those films you have to take for what it is, with low expectations, to enjoy the fun. I’m not sure if fans of the comic book can complain too much since previous attempts to bring this franchise to life were not successful, but this time it might come off. I did find it fun, I did laugh with it, but I did also laugh at it a little. Particularly at Benicio Del Toro as The Collector – reminded me too much of Jemaine Clement as Boris the Animal from Men in Black III.

  12. Nice Review, definitely agree with you on the villain’s who felt much more like an afterthought.

  13. I haven’t seen this movie yet. I plan to watch it next week. I am not a big fan of space battles anyway.

  14. Because I am a bit of a grammar nazi you want to change that sentence. It should be far too lavish.
    Great review by the way.

  15. The familiar narrative never bothered me because I felt the characters were so good. Rather than a second or third instalment in a franchise – where the plot is imperative in terms of gaining and retaining our attention – this seemed like more of an introductory piece; to the five characters and their bamboozling world. I thought Ronan was a solid baddie, certainly not the best, but enough to serve a purpose. What else can I say? I just adored this film! Haha.

    Great write-up Eddie!


    • Great to see you got such a kick out of it mate! I can appreciate peoples love for it that is for sure. I sense that this is a franchise that has room to really grow though and in many respects that is an exciting prospect.

  16. I think they improved upon Thor 2’s villain a lot but it just wasn’t enough in the end to make Ronan a memorable villain and maybe with a better final boss scene it could have been shrugged off, but it was indeed underwhelming. But that being said this will still stand as one of my favorite films of this year, a genuinely fun film can go a long way. I’d like to think the sequel will be a lot more adventurous now the characters are more understood. Awesome review 🙂

    • Cheers for the kind words mate. I have very high hopes for the sequel, I think they just need a really interesting scenario for the characters to be involved in, this one seemed like one big mcguffin with a lame finale.

  17. I was underwhelmed when I saw this in the cinema because of the undeserved hype. It was so predictable I could see the wheels of Marvel’s machinery spinning. That being said, it was enjoyable.

  18. Although I was on a break for over 2 months… I always knew that this is the movie I’ll be reviewing first after returning to the blog which happened only a few hours ago. Loved it more than you did but great review nonetheless, Ed.

      • I guess what worked for me is the absence of any expectations… as comic book films generally never really work out for me but this was a refreshing change. Admired it even more for the ballsy approach Marvel took here & still managed to pull it off. DC will have to come up with a miracle to come even close to challenging it.

      • DC is too desperate to imitate Marvel’s formula after watching them score gold with The Avengers. And this desperation feels like will lead to another downfall. They’re just cramming the next Superman movie to get closer to Justice League.

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