From the trailers, I had not expected much of Guardians of the Galaxy: a fun, brainless summer “popcorn” flick. I should have known better. Marvel again knocks it out of the metaphorical ballpark. They just keep getting better.
The main characters are delightful, from the moment Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) starts jivin’ to 80’s rock and lip-synching into a hostile little lizard during the opening credits. Each of the main characters takes a fairly standard comic book archetype (the misunderstood foundling hero, the kickass beauty, the obligatory cute animal, the quiet sidekick, and the dude who has lost his family and is hellbent on revenge) and warps it into something fresh and warm and credibly down-to-earth.
The computer animated main characters are so well animated and so well voiced that they don’t register as the amazing technology that they are. They just merge seamlessly with the other characters. Rocket was probably my favorite character in the entire movie, and I’m normally not a huge fan of the obligatory cute animal.
The villains and supporting characters played their parts well. I can’t make my normal gripe about character motivation, because, while it was not always explicitly spelled out, it was absolutely clear from words and actions that each character did have reasons that mattered to him/her/it for doing what he/she/it was doing. I particularly enjoyed Karen Gillan, unrecognizable in makeup and effects contacts as Nebula, who brought sibling rivalry to bitter, violent life.
Kudos to the script writers and the director, as well. The dialogue was brisk and never dragged. Jokes abounded and were actually funny, but never took over the scene or threw viewers out of their suspension of disbelief. The writers and director told a very satisfying story, leaving just enough loose ends for viewers to be sure that there are more stories to be told. No scene was wasted. Everything tied into the climax, and what a beautiful, fitting, yet still a bit comedic climax it was!
All the behind-the-scenes people did a fantastic job. They made a movie set entirely in space and on foreign worlds feel very real and down-to-earth. The costumes, though fun and well worth cosplaying, were practical enough that I could imagine real people wearing them for their regular, going-about-daily-business clothing. I enjoyed the soundtrack, as well, and loved how they had a credible and really quite touching in-story reason for setting this movie to 70’s and 80’s music.
As usual for Marvel movies, make sure you stay to the very end of the credits. You will not be disappointed. I thoroughly enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy and recommend seeing it on the big screen while you can.
Release Date: August 1, 2014 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Language: 2 (mostly minor, a couple stronger expletives)
Sexuality: 1 (some innuendo)
Violence: 3 (multiple fights, death, death, more fighting, prison break)