Guardians of the Galaxy may just be the most obscure comic book title that Marvel has brought to the big screen. This particular movie is based on a 2008 rendition of the comics, as opposed to its original 1969 cast. The plot introduces the main members of the Guardians of the Galaxy as they learn to work together in order to stop Ronan (Lee Pace) from destroying the planet Xandar. Although it may sound like any old comic book story, Guardians of the Galaxy introduces some very important things into the Marvel Universe (more on this later).
A big part of what made Guardians of the Galaxy such an entertaining movie was how perfectly each cast member was able to fit into their role. Chris Pratt (Parks and Rec, The Lego Movie) had the job of carrying a good portion of the film as he played Jason Quill, the immature outlaw. Quill is a character who can only be compared to a young Han Solo with a more impulsive personality. The death of his mother that is shown at the very start of the film seemed like a cheap way to give his character depth but Pratt’s performance as Quill really make you root for him immediately. Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek), also fit the role of deadly assassin perfectly although she had a more discreet performance in comparison to other cast members. Vin Diesel who played Groot also deserves credit for bringing the tree creature to life although it seems like he really hit the jackpot since all he had to do was repeat one line. Dave Bautista, Drax in the movie, is probably the actor whose performance surprised me the most. Known more for his years wrestling in the WWE, Bautista seemed like the perfect fit for Drax the destroyer but it wasn’t just the muscle that made him a stand out performer. The wrestler was able to show moments of emotion beneath the muscle-bound exterior of Drax as well as delivering various jokes in the film. No movie would be complete without its villains and the two main antagonists Ronan and Yondu did an excellent job. Lee Pace (The Hobbit, Lincoln) did an excellent job at playing Ronan the Accuser, his lack of emotion and emphasis on brutality made him seem like a villain who you would want to avoid. Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead, Jumper) also did an excellent job even though it seemed he was essentially reprising his role as a space version of Merle from the Walking Dead.
Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, Hangover) as the Rocket Raccoon was probably the most controversial casting of all. Although Cooper brought certain star power to the role, there are several other actors that had played him before in both video games and television shows. When Guardians of the Galaxy was first announced, rumors of who would voice Rocket included talented voice actors such as Seth Green (Mass Effect, Robot Chicken), John DiMaggio (Futurama, Adventure Time), Nolan North (Deadpool, Uncharted) who had voiced the character before. These names paled in comparison to the fan favorite, Greg Ellis(Pirates of the Caribbean, The Hobbit), who had given the mastermind raccoon some popularity through his portrayal in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. When it was finally decided that Bradley Cooper would fill the role, there was a lot of skepticism of what would happen to the character’s trademark cockney accent. The voice was ultimately changed to a more “street” version as opposed to cockney but the actor was able to surpass everyone’s expectations. Cooper was able to voice the character’s anger issues and intelligence while also being able to show the character’s soft side when it was necessary. In a lot of ways, Rocket Raccoon is the heart of the Guardians of the Galaxy and Bradley Cooper was able to play the role perfectly.
One of the things that stood out during the initial trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy was Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” track. Such and old song like that immediately stands out in a science fiction movie like GotG but it was done so well that it actually added to the identity of the movie. The soundtrack is actually one of the key belongings of Peter “Star Lord” Quill that was given to him by his dying mother. “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” is a set of nostalgic songs from the 80’s that reminds us that although Quill is in space fighting aliens and having adventures, he’s still human. Every song is out of place in the futuristic world of Guardians and at times it is even addressed directly in humorous ways. Love it or hate it, the list of tracks is a very significant factor that sets the tone of the scenes they are played in.
I’ll go ahead and say right now that I’m not the biggest fan of CGI in movies but I didn’t mind it so much in this movie. James Gunn, the director, uses a lot of CGI graphics to make characters like Groot and Rocket as well as the exotic locations within the film. To my relief all of the graphics were done extremely well and every scene was paced really well for the most part. There was no shortage of laughter or action throughout the whole movie which made it easier and more enjoyable to watch. Apart from a few shots that seemed to be catering to a 3D audience, the world of GotG was created beautifully.
SPOILERS OF VARYING WEIGHTS AHEAD~
With the introduction to this colorful cast of characters, it is easy to forget that this is still a story that is happening within the Marvel Universe. There are several ways that Marvel could use GotG to link itself to other super hero universes but there are two main things that stood out to my basic knowledge of comic books. The first is that there are several “Guardians” that were not mentioned in the movie. One of these characters is Cosmo the telepathic dog, who actually appears within the film in the after credits scene. The other t has been a Guardian in the past should be familiar since it is none other than Iron Man. This is the part when you start to realize how close Marvel is at making a cross over movie between Guardians and Avengers.
The second and most sure fire way that Guardians is connected to the rest of the Marvel Universe is through the reveal of the Infinity Gems and the villain Thanos. Infinity Gems are extremely powerful stones that are able to give its wielder an enormous amount of power. These gems can all be wielded together through the use of the Infinity Gauntlet which also happens to be the major plot point of a mini series by the name of Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet in which Thanos (who is played by Josh Brolin in the film) tries to collect all of stones. If this isn’t enough proof of a Guardians/Avengers crossover then it’s also worth mentioning that the Tesseract from the first Avengers movie also happens to be an Infinity Stone. Adding to all of this is the fact that the Infinity Gem ends up being taken by the Nova Corps at the end of the movie which may potentially open up the way for Richard Rider, AKA Nova, in the future.
All in all, I am excited for what Marvel has in store for its upcoming movies. Guardians of the Galaxy is an extremely solid film that showcases James Gunn’s skill in directing as well as a superb performance from all of the cast members involved. The soundtrack is an amazing throwback that adds some personality to the film. It’s also worth mentioning that there never seemed to be a dull moment in the film. Guardians of the Galaxy is a must-watch movie for any fan of the Marvel Universe.
TL;DR: Solid Summer movie and a must watch for any fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Rockit Raccoon Rating: 9/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%