Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: Movie Review

Riotous ragtag guardians of a Marvel universe.

The Guardians of the Galaxy are an oddball group of outcasts that have appointed themselves in charge of saving the world and kicking some ass. Of course the world is not our world, but a Marvel universe in outer space where the visual effects artists have really outdone themselves. There is thankfully one human who is hilarious and his compatriots, including a raccoon, a tree and non-humans, are funny too. 2014

Directed by: James Gunn

Screenplay by: James Gunn and Nicole Perlman; Based on the comic book

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper,
Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista

If anybody was unsure of Chris Pratt’s ability to lead a movie, this should hopefully answer any and all questions. Whenever the action dies down, he dances, and sometimes sings, but usually just dances. He’s funny on his own, he’s funny when he’s trying to lead an untalkative tree, an overly talkative raccoon, an uncooperative thug, and uncooperative girl, he’s funny when he’s falling in love and he’s still somewhat funny when he’s saving the galaxy.

The plot was fairly simple: Peter Quill (Pratt) who has dubbed himself Star-Lord steals a mysterious orb, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) attempts to steal it as well, and then Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket the Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) will just steal them, but together they must keep it out of the hands of evil crime lords. But the movie didn’t slow down enough to give us a reason to care why they must save the universe (other than it’s their galaxy) or which crime lord is more evil. Way too many bad guys, not enough good guys.

Perhaps I’m nitpicking. I did love Pratt’s Peter Quill and his non-stop wit and Earthly references, but I’m not a Marvel fan. I have not read this comic book, nor any comic books, nor seen any Marvel movies. I don’t know these characters nor their universe. Cooper’s voice work of Rocket was hilarious, Diesel’s use of three words for Groot was also hilarious, Dave Bautista as a bad guy turned good guy had his moments and even Saldana who often took Peter at face value had her moments. But there were a lot of other creatures – all ugly, all evil and all trying to destroy our heroes.

This leads to a lot of action. All the action was the same – the guardians are attempting to stay in possession of the orb, defeat an evil crime lord, and accidentally kill a lot of creatures and destroy a lot of space ships. Going though that once or twice would have made the film a much quicker, funny romp through outer space. As is it’s still a funny and entertaining ride.

While writer and director James Gunn and I have always dealt in different genres (he makes horror movies and superhero movies and I do not watch horror movies or superhero movies), I have always appreciated his sense of humour. His quick wit and style were perfectly placed in our main hero, and judging by the unanimously positive audience and critics response his style was a perfect match for the Marvel universe. For non-Marvel/comic book/superhero fans, Guardians of the Galaxy is funny but it is still an other-worldly action movie. For fans of other-worldly action movies, this one is funny!