Friday, August 1, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy review; out of this world fun!

I have to be completely honest; before Marvel announced that it was releasing Guardians of the Galaxy in their line of films, I had no idea it was a comic book.  And after seeing some production shots, and a trailer, I started to get excited.  But none of that could have prepared me for this film.  Director James Gunn directs an all-star cast in a film unlike anything Marvel has done before, and totally nails it!  Let's go!

What I liked about the film:
The Director
I usually save this 'like' to the end of reviews; but not today.  James Gunn has done such a magnificent job here, he deserves to be front and center.  Not only did Gunn direct the film, he has a writing credit as well.  Gunn's choices helped build the perfect world for these characters to inhabit.  Everything from the production design, to the casting, to the choice of make-up; all of it helps to bring this world to life.  This isn't Gunn's first foray into a 'super hero film'.  He directed the criminally underrated Super, starring Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page.  He is just going to keep getting better at his craft too.  I am so glad he has signed on to direct the already green-lit sequel to GOTG.

The Guardians (The Actors)
I absolutely loved this cast.  Chris Pratt is the leader of this group of misfits, and he is perfect in the role of Star Lord.  I watch "Parks & Rec" religiously and Pratt's work has been my favorite of the hit NBC series.  He plays the part with child-like wonder and even a sense of vulnerability that we are yet to see in the Marvel films.  Pratt is a naturally gifted comedian, and his sense of timing really shines through in this well-written script.

Zoe Saldana plays a warrior who joins the Guardians, almost by accident.  Saldana is good in everything, I mean really; I am yet to see her in something I didn't like, and she didn't disappoint in this film.  Dave Bautista is probably biggest (and most pleasant) surprise in the film for me.  He plays the character so perfectly, you will fall in love with him the minute he shows up on screen.  Bautista's best scenes are where he's verbally sparring with the other characters.  Again, some great writing.

Bradley Cooper is so damn good in this film, and is given easily the best lines in the film!  Cooper voices a raccoon, who is the victim of numerous scientific experiments.  He has, almost, a Boston and New York accent mixed into one, which he is consistent with the entire film.  And even if Cooper isn't on screen, you could feel the emotion in his voice during a pivotal scene in the film.  I can't tell you enough how much I loved Cooper in this movie.  Terrific actors like Michael Rooker, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly and Glenn Close round out a fantastic cast.  Great stuff in this department.

The Writing
The story in the film is very simple, and easy to follow along.  This is very much a stand-alone film, even if you haven't seen the rest of the Marvel films.  The story is nice and tight, even if it is obviously a part of a bigger whole.  Nonetheless, all 3 acts in the film are well written; James Gunn and Nicole Perlman have did a tremendous job.  Even though there are 5 main characters, there was enough time spent on them all, to ensure they all mattered.  Also worth noting is that each character is fleshed out, and we get a really deep look into every characters.  Well, almost every character anyway...

The Visual Effects
Ok, Marvel may be notorious for being stingy with their money; they could have fooled me.  In my opinion, this is the best looking Marvel movie yet.  The galaxy never looked so good, and neither did all the alien life in it.  Flying aircrafts look amazing against a backdrop of the bright blue sky.  And the completely CGI characters are realistic and believable.  I am telling you, this movie looks amazing.

What I didn't like about the film:
The Villain(s)
Why can't Marvel get this right?  Other than Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston), they are yet to showcase a memorable villain in their films.  Lee Pace plays Ronan, and does a decent enough job with the material he's given, but it's just not very good material.  The design of the character and the costume are amazing, but we have no idea who this person is.  Why is he really doing what he's doing?  What is the end game for this person?  Sorry Hollywood, it can't simply be revenge anymore.  The same goes for Benicio Del Toro and his depiction of The Collector.  When the character was teased during a post-credit scene in an earlier Marvel film, I was so excited.  Now?  All I can think to myself is 'who cares?'  I sincerely hope Marvel can get it together before the next Avengers film hits theaters, and we are left disappointed with another inadequate villain.  

The Verdict:
The Most Fun I've Had at the Movies in a Long Time
The title says it; this is the most fun I've had at the movies in a long time.  While X-Men: DOFP is still my favorite film of the Summer, this is a close #2.  And while X-Men was fantastic in my opinion, it wasn't this much fun.  Pratt and company had me wanting more by the time the credits rolled.  I seriously can't wait to see this movie again.  In fact, maybe I'll go check it out again tomorrow.  You should do the same.

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