Guardians of the Galaxy can best be described by a quote from Rocket Raccoon: "Ain't no thing like me, except me!" There were a few other choice quotes to choose from, but this one embodied the film the most (and has the least amount of swearing). This is easily one of the riskiest and (seemingly) unstable Marvel collaborations to date. Yes, even riskier than the Howard the Duck film, and we all know how that turned out: Weird. Not the good kind of weird that is the spectacle of the wonderfully anomalous comic book-to-film adaptation that is Guardians of the Galaxy.
Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), AKA Star-Lord is a ravager who basically hunts down treasure for money. Quill is part of a much larger team, headed by Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker), the same person who kidnapped Quill from Earth when he was just a little boy. There is no honor among thieves, so naturally Quill decides to keep this very valuable sphere for himself and try to sell it. This sphere is more trouble than its worth. It turns out that Yondu was hired by Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) to get the relic. The evil Kree-supremacist Ronan was, in turn, getting the sphere for the mad Titan, Thanos (Josh Brolin). This movie would have been much shorter if they cut out the middle men, but where is the fun in that?
At this point, Star-Lord has basically pissed off everyone in the galaxy (as only he can), and now has bounty hunters, in the form of a cybernetically enhanced raccoon named Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and his not-so-verbose ent-like comrade Groot (Vin Diesel), chasing after him. Believe me, he won't let you forget his name anytime soon. On the other side, Thanos has Ronan sending assassins/daughters Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to retrieve the sphere for him at any cost. After an all out city brawl/sphere tug of war, they are all arrested and that is where they meet the final member of their team of unlikely heroes, Drax (Dave Bautista).
One mechanical leg and an impromptu escape plan later, they meet with their buyer, the eclectic Collector (Benicio del Toro)***, who shows them exactly what they're dealing with, and how dangerous it is. Realizing how deadly the sphere is in the wrong hands, they decide to band together (with the help of Nova Prime played by Glenn Close) and basically save the galaxy from Ronan and Nebula, who want to annihilate an entire planet. I guess if they succeed, some people might think of them as some sort of guardians or something, right?
Early on this year, I had already decided that [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](movie:254973) was my new favorite Marvel film (it was previously The Avengers). It showed me a smart, well-developed and thoughtful film that Marvel had yet to produce to date. The integration of comic book style fighting with daunting political thriller struck a harmonious chord in me. Then, I finished watching Guardians of the Galaxy and my mind was blown, again, and for completely different reasons.
The two films are near polar opposites. Where Captain America uses its brain and a great use of suspense & mystery, [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073) uses two completely different body parts to lure us in: the heart and the funny bone. From the beginning, your heart strings will be tugged. The irreverent humor (alongside the groovy film's soundtrack) will quickly cheer you up. The characters are all rude, profane, and downright cheeky, and it wouldn't work any other way. Guardians of the Galaxy very rarely takes itself seriously, but the few times it does is only because it's used as a necessary vehicle to move the story forward.
The overwhelming amount of stars in this galaxy is staggering. I'm of course talking about the immensely talented cast of actors that brought every character to life in Guardians of the Galaxy. I'm also referring to Groot, who was surprisingly one of my favorite characters in the film. If the actors brought life to the characters, than the intoxicatingly dazzling visual effects could best be described as the Big Bang because they basically made the whole universe possible.
Every space battle sequence, every planet that was the head of a dead god, and every CGI character was expertly crafted with perfection in mind. We can thank writer/director James Gunn for taking a human, several aliens, a raccoon and a talking tree and creating one of the most explosively entertaining comic book films to date. On the topic of diplomacy, Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Walk softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." Guardians of the Galaxy didn't really walk softly, but it did undiplomatically far exceed my greatest expectations and completely conquered on every front. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the "big stick" it carried was in fact Groot.
RATING: ★★★★★★★★★★(10/10 stars)
IN THEATERS NOW
***Side Note: Pay extra close attention to everything in The Collector's room. You may see some very familiar things. As always, stay after the credits for a fun scene Marvel comic book fans will laugh hysterically at.