Tuesday, August 5, 2014

MATT's Review: "Guardians of the Galaxy"


Before Siobhan has a chance to corrupt me with her opinion of the comic book and the film, I offer my thoughts on the summer's biggest blockbuster. Marvel Studios, which first appeared in 2008 with Iron Man, unleashes its tenth feature film with Guardians of the Galaxy. I have only seen two of those ten films. And I actually think I liked Iron Man 3 more than The Avengers... Robert Downey Jr. may just be growing on me! My only experiences with Chris Pratt have been on television's Parks & Recreation where he plays the lovable idiot Andy Dwyer. I am not really a fan of Zoe Saldana - but can you blame someone whose tastes do not usually include sci-fi action films? Add the voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper and I had all but rejected seeing the movie. So what swayed me? It was a glowing review of the film which praised the 80s nostalgia. I opted to see the film in IMAX 3D - the IMAX screen is worth it but the 3D is not! I was hooked from the very beginning when the film opened like every 80s film in its genre! I did not even know that Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro appear in the film in small supporting roles! Guardians of the Galaxy worked for me because it seems to unlike all the other films in the Marvel franchise. These so-called guardians are rejects who band together to conquer evil. I was even appreciative - even curious - when the film ended with obvious allusions to at least one sequel. Guardians of the Galaxy is a great summer film because of its atypical heroes and its ability to maintain its almost-cheesy vibe throughout. And let's not forget the music. It is great!

In 1988, Peter Quill is abducted from Earth after his mother's death. In present day, Peter (Pratt) survives by scavenging artifacts on abandoned planets. While on the planet Morag, he discovers an orb. The orb is desperately wanted by Ronan (Lee Pace), a Kree who wants the power of the orb to destroy Xandar. After unsuccessfully trying to sell the orb, he is ambushed by Ronan's assassin Gamora (Saldana), caught in a fight with bounty hunters Rocket (a genetically modified raccoon voiced by Cooper) and Groot (a tree-like humanoid voiced by Diesel), and finally arrested by Nova Corps (led by John C. Reilly) and all four are sent to prison. In prison, the four create a pact where they will escape and sell the orb to the Collector. They are forced to work alongside Drax the Destroyer (Dave Batista, in my favourite role), who spared Gamora's life only to get closer to Ronan.

There is quite a lot of humour in Guardians of the Galaxy. Chris Pratt is great as Peter Quill, but he almost the same lovable imbecile we see on television - only this time he has powers! It is hard to imagine someone other than Zoe Saldana playing the role of the green-skinned Gamora, but after playing a blue-skinned Na'vi in Avatar, does she have other talents? Looking through her filmography, I have trouble remembering if I have seen her in any, except for Star Trek and its sequel. I am exceptionally worried about Saldana in the Nina Simone (oh how I love her!) biopic Nina. Besides these two main characters and potential love interests, I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed the other performances. Lee Pace (everyone's favourite pie maker in Pushing Daisies) in unrecognizable as Ronan. Rocket and Groot are great characters - even if I could not tell they were being voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel! Do their names really have selling power in a Marvel film? I just wish that Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro had been given more to do than just stand around. Guardians of the Galaxy has a lot of action and a lot of entertainment. Even when Transformers: Age of Extinction is the other summer blockbusters, Guardians of the Galaxy (and its great 80s nostalgia) is worth the price of admission.

My rating: 3.5 stars out of 4.

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