Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review of Guardians of the Galaxy

With all their Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and Avengers movies, Marvel Studios made a much needed change of pace in their latest film, Guardians of the Galaxy. Arguably their biggest gamble yet, it is also arguably Marvel’s most fun film to date.

The movie starts in 1988 when a young Peter Quill is abducted by aliens and carried off into deep space. Twenty-six years later, Quill (Chris Pratt) double-crossed his boss (and abductor) Yondu Udonta by stealing a valuable orb from under his nose.

However when Quill attempt to sell the orb on the Nova Corps home world of Xandar, he discovers that there are no takers as the orb is coveted by the renegade Kree warlord, Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). Not only that, he is then promptly ambushed by the assassin, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), who attempts to steal the orb for Ronan.

A fight ensues, drawing in a pair of bounty hunters: the genetically engineered raccoon Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), and the tree-like humanoid Groot (Vin Diesel). The local police force, the Nova Corps, then arrives and arrests everyone.

The whole group is sent to a prison called The Kyln where an inmate, Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), attempts to kill Gamora due to her association with Ronan. Quill persuades Drax not to kill Gamora who reveals to the group that she was going to betray Ronan by selling the orb to a private collector.

Rocket Raccoon engineered a jailbreak and Gamera lead the group to Knowhere, a remote spaceport for the criminals of the galaxy. The group meets Gamora's contact, Taneleer Tivan, who opens the orb to reveal an Infinity Stone, an item powerful enough to destroy entire planets.

Lured by Drax, Ronan arrives at Knowhere and leave with the Stone after easily defeating the Destroyer. Forced with no options, Quill contacts Yondu to rescue the group and negotiate a truce by convincing Yondu that they can only recover the orb working together.

Working with Yondu’s crew, The Ravagers, the group finally caught up with Ronan on Xandar where they faced the might of the Accuser alongside the Nova Corps. The battle gave Quill’s group their name, the Guardians of the Galaxy!

Now after watching the film, I must say I'm kind of mixed on it. On one hand, Guardians of the Galaxy is something new from the normal Marvel fare and that's good for the company but on the other…the film just missed something from being great.

Guardians is a fun but flawed movie. Taking place in space with Earth only briefly seen at the start, Guardians does many things right. It has great music, an excellent script and able direction from director James Gunn.

It also has some good performances from its cast. Chris Pratt nailed his role as the arrogant, overconfident rogue with a heart of gold in Peter Quill, while former wrestler Dave Bautista show surprisingly good comic timing in his role as Drax. Even Zoe Saldana, more known for her looks than acting abilities, was excellent as Gamora.

The real stars of the show however were the 2 CGI characters of the Guardians. Moving Picture Company (MPC), who worked on creating Groot, and Framestore, who worked on creating Rocket, really outdid themselves on the creation of the Guardians. Both characters were amazingly, especially the final credit scene with the dancing baby Groot. I dare anyone to see that scene and not have a smile on his face. You literally have to be an “Inhuman” not to smile. Bradley Cooper (voice of Rocket) and Vin Diesel (voice of Groot) were also great. Who knew there were so many ways to say 3 words?

However, as good as Guardians is, it is strictly in the good but not great category. The biggest problem I see is the lack of supporting characters in the movie. In a way that understandable as the main focus is on the Guardians, but why have Glenn Close in the movie and do NOTHING with her? That’s just a bloody waste of talent.

I found the villains kind of understated. Karen Gillan (Nebula) and Lee Pace did their best but when you have both of them reporting to Thanos halfway through the film, it leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that these 2 are minions. Also, Michael Rooker’s Yondu is a bit of a joke. In the comics, Yondu is a deadly warrior/archer. Here, he is a blue skinned redneck!

Overall, I have to say the film is worth a watch. It is a bit of a rojak film with wit, action and comedy all mixed together, but it’s a good mix. It’s not the space epic I was hoping for but it’s entertaining and fun. And in the end, that’s why we watch movies. Take a look for a good time. 

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