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