KcMsterpce posted a MOVIE REVIEW item: 13 days ago

Guardians of the Galaxy


Directed by: James Gunn
Written by: James Gunn
Cast: Michael Rooker, Lee Pace, Chris Pratt, Zo Saldana, Dave Bautista, Benicio Del Toro, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan, Nicole Perlman
Studio: Marvel Studios
Official Site:
Plot: A thief that calls himself Star Lord, Peter Quill steals a rare (infinity) stone, which is THEN stolen by other thieves that want the object for their own purposes. As time moves forward for these lowlifes, so too does their unexpected bond in the fight against Ronan, a very bad man. He wants the stone for himself, to become as powerful as the ever out-of-sight Thanos.


Before hearing about the Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG) being made into a movie, Warner Bros was barely getting the ball rolling for the beginning of its Extended Universe for DC (DCEU), with Man of Steel finishing production, but no female hero headlining a feature at this point in their plans. Fans have been clamoring for a Wonder Woman literally for decades. It seemed like it was about to happen almost a decade ago with Joss Whedon helming the project, and Morena Baccarin (yes please!) as the tit-tular Diana. Instead, WB didn’t have the balls to move forward with Wonder Woman for quite some time (which was a bigger surprise than everyone expected, most likely most of all for WB).
Meanwhile, over at Marvel and the MCU, they began scraping lower into the barrel for characters to add to the ever-expanding pantheon of players. Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and others were already exposed, so now it was time to start a new “Phase” of players such as Black Panther (?), Ant-Man (!), and… the Guardians of the Galaxy?! A talking tree that says “I am Groot”, a raccoon, and a single human in a galaxy filled with aliens and colored creatures seems way more outlandish than WB’s hesitant rollout for Wonder Woman!
Even more surprising was the directorial choice. James Gunn never really proved himself to be a financially bankable director (or writer). Granted, there has been a quiet fanbase for the guy for over 20 years, writing TROMEO & JULIET and (the only Zack Snyder movie I liked) the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake, and directing interesting projects such as PG Porn on Youtube, showing a deft and daft understanding of horror films and why they work with SLITHER, and dabbling – in a way, I guess – with the superhero/vigilante concept in the brilliant SUPER. His humor is twisted and at times even cynical and harsh, yet he understands the fundamentals of what I think is important for a movie: Make a silly premise as long as the characters take that SILLINESS seriously. Give the characters a likeable or relatable disposition, and the audience can most likely hitch a ride in a comfy seat on the crazy train.
That’s what happened for me with GotG. To my amazement, after being given a huuuuge movie budget, and chance to write and a chance to expand his imaginative pallet with such a large budget, Gunn did not lose sight of what made his low budget movies work just as well. I’m so happy that Paramount gave him a chance with this movie. GotG is one of the most colorful, fun, and adventurous romps at the movies since… some would say it’s the most fun since STAR WARS. I might say that I could agree with those people.
GotG has a weak villain. Ronan is another atypical bad guy that shows he is really strong by overpowering the “warrior” of the group, Drax. Granted, Drax is not in the right frame of mind (so to speak) when he battles Ronan, but it is also supposed to set him up as a formidable villain. For me, I just saw a dude that was constantly scowling and about to break into childish pouting. Whatever the case, it wasn’t the villain that kept me transfixed to this movie.
I loved the way they expanded the Marvel galaxy into realms that burst with rainbow colors, bright settings and planets, with colorful and imaginative creatures. The sets are teeming with life and exuberance, much like the combined energy of the guardians themselves. Groot possesses a lot of strength and tenderness, going from sweet to vicious and back again, all the while emoting with surprising conviction using a single three-word phrase. Add to that the unique sidekick/friend to Groot, Rocket, who is a raccoon that has an affinity for guns and gadgets. He’s also a loudmouth braggart that does not get along well with Peter Quill at all. Quill is the human connection for the audience, and was taken away from his dying mother from earth when he was ten years old. He has a lot of issues to deal with, and a tape that his mother gave him for his Walkman brings about some clever cues for great music while also throwing in strong emotional “feels” during the beginning of the movie, and throughout its runtime.
Throw in Drax, a warrior who doesn’t understand sarcasm; a hot green alien (adopted) daughter of Thanos named Gamora, and the team is just a bunch of ruffians who play tough but ultimately show their more tender side(s) by the end credits. They are also a well matched team with abilities and skills that help compliment and fill one another’s strengths and weaknesses. This is always what’s fun to have in any given ensemble film or series (such as the crew of the Serenity, in Firefly).
There is a lot of silly humor scattered throughout. For some viewers, the constant prattle of trash talk, one-liners and pointless quips can get grating. Typically, I am one of those in that viewing category. However, for some strange reason, I was tuned into to the GotG vibe and this group’s antics. The action scenes are an added bonus on top of key scenes slowing down juuuust long enough to allow some drama to breathe into the mix. But then, before you know it (sometimes a little too soon, even) they’re back to insults and wisecracks.

I’m late to the review curve for this movie, but being such a fan of this, and James Gunn’s work in general, I wanted to say a few words about what makes it so special. What gets me most is the pure audacity of the MCU’s choice to make a movie about the Guardians in the first place. They aren’t well known, and even though I like James Gunn’s previous work, I wasn’t sure it was a good idea. I was thinking that this would SURELY mark the beginning of the end for the MCU.
Here it is, 4+ years later, and they aren’t showing any signs of stopping. Also, GotG is one of the more-liked entries in the cinematic universe. Fans took hold of this movie with high praise. I’m pleased with this, and even more pleased to feel that it’s deserving of the praise.

Grade: A
Score: 8.5/10

Reviewed 12/4/17

TRIVIA: I liked seeing another cameo by Lloyd Kaufman, as a snearing prisoner when the Guardians first enter the cell block. He was also a homeless man in the police station in SLITHER. Also, he was a witness of one of the crimes committed in SUPER.

As for Diana/Wonder Woman finally getting made... is it possible that this movie actually gave WB the hope that WW might have a chance at success? That, combined with so many fans screaming for a movie. I think so.


Other reviews of this film: cerealkiller182 (9/10) , oscarxp25 (8/10) > Display all

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