The darkest times are upon us in an otherwise fun, event-filled, and growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. To celebrate the coming release of Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War," where two ideals will come to a head, let's reflect on the "marvellous" films that this studio has put together. I will be going in order from 2008 - 2015, ending with thoughts and predictions for "Captain America: Civil War." These will be minor reviews and more of a re-evaluation of my thoughts on these films, how they hold up now, and how well they connect/impact the films that came after. Here we go.
WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS THROUGHOUT!!
Part 10: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has never really been known (aside from Thor) for focussing on other world's, but little did they know that gambling on an ambitious space opera such as this would have become such a cultural phenomenon. 2014's "Guardians of the Galaxy" opens the universe to much bigger and better things. Who would have thought that a gun-slinging, quick-wit-talking raccoon and a talking tree would have sold over $773 million dollars at the worldwide box office? I certainly didn't, but I am so glad that it did, because this is easily one of the best, if not arguably the best film (entertainment-wise) of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Following Peter Quill/Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot, this film takes place on multiple planets as they are all criminals on the runs for various reasons. All captured after pursuing the same item, they are thrown in prison. Meeting each other mostly for the first time, they all bond over their escape plan. Escaping, while not without consequence, they are on the run for the rest of the film, as they try to take down bigger threats. The Character of the collector is introduced, while last seen in the post-credits of Thor: The Dark World, and benecio Del Toro plays him perfectly. As a side plot at first, the villain Ronan "The Accuser" is on the rise, and willing to stop at nothing to take control of the universe. Now again, this plot has been driven into the ground by this universe, but there is just something far too charming about the rest of the film (as with most), that they are able to hide the cliches with ease.
Chris Pratt proved to the world that he is a mega-star with the portrayal of Star Lord, and Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel all add their sahre of great character moments as well. In the most family-friendly adventure from Marvel yet, it also has quite a bit of heart in the final act. Throughout the film, Groot can only say the words "I am Groot," and while this may come annoying to some, it is meant to be cute and fun, and when he uses the words "we are Groot" just before saving their lives in exchange for his, it really brings his character that much more meaning to the overall story and makes you look back on how his character was needed all along. I truly think that scene in the movie is perfect.
Visually, this film is stunning to look at, from it's planetary effects to it's amazing soundtrack that only adds to the excitement that is on screen. From start to finish, "Guardians of the Galaxy" is an all out blast from entertainment values to characters. I love this film more and more every time I watch it. James Gunn definitely put his stamp on this film as a director that we want to see continue this franchise for many years to come. He is a very welcome writer/director for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Truly, after revisiting this film again and again, the only word I always use in reference to it, is fun.
By the time the credits rolled, you could just tell the audience had so much fun watching this movie, to the point where a post-credits scene was not even needed; However, when Howard the Duck shows up for a few seconds, the hardcore fanboys of comic books and the cult film, went absolutely nuts. This was a very clever nod to the character, and to be honest, in a few years, I would not mind seeing a remake of the film "Howard the Duck" at all. In the end, if you have not seen this film, please do treat yourself to it. You absolutely do not have to have any prior knowledge to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the sequel to this film may end up tying into the overall world they are building here, but this particular film stands on it's own as far and away one of Marvel's best. "Guardians of the Galaxy" is the definition of fun!
Review By: KJ Proulx