Last weekend, I experienced something transcendent. Something that comic book fans, sci-fi geeks, and popcorn movie enthusiasts could only dream about before.
As both an installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and as a film in its own right, Guardians of the Galaxy is amazing.
Where do I even begin? You want action? How about a thousand starships in a dogfight over the skies of Xandar, with a giant black warship in the background? You want romance? You’ve got the curious relationship between our young male lead, Jason Quill (Chris Pratt), and the sexy green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana). And if you’re looking for straight-up mayhem and wonder, I need only tell you about the following facts about this film (hopefully without too many spoilers).
You’ll get to experience:
- A talking raccoon (Bradley Cooper) firing a laser cannon off the shoulder of a massive roaring walking tree (Vin Diesel)
- More colorful aliens and cyborgs than you can shake a stick at
- Fine performances by Benecio Del Toro and Nathan Fillion
- A space station built into the severed head of a slain god
- One heck of a great soundtrack with such hits as “Hooked on a Feeling,” “Cherry Bomb,” and “Moonage Daydream”
This is the kind of comic book movie that doesn’t try to be gritty or ultra-serious. It’s a thrill ride from start to finish, and yet, it’s got plenty of heart. Marvel could’ve just gotten away with making the Guardians a bunch of misfits thrown together for a simple purpose of fighting a fanatical Kree warlord (Lee Pace), but they didn’t stop there. As Peter Quill himself puts it, they’re people who’ve lost something and it’s worth every second of this film to see them fight hard and risk it all for a chance to gain victory in their messed-up lives in their messed-up universe.
Honestly, the only regret I have is the lack of “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum, which got a lot of play in the trailers, but doesn’t show up in the film itself. Also, the film opens with the death of Peter Quill’s mother in 1988, which is so heavy that it almost makes you forget you’re watching a movie with blue-skinned warlords and talking raccoons in space. But it’s a small price to pay for a rip-roaring action film that has a lot of spirit, brilliant comedy, and some memorable characters. I can’t wait to see how the MCU is going to try to fit these space oddities into the Avengers.
Guardians of the Galaxy is now playing in theaters and available through Marvel Studios.
Bibliography: Guardians of the Galaxy (film). Directed by James Gunn. Produced by Kevin Feige. Written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman. Based on the comic by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Perf. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Benicio del Toro. Marvel Studios. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. US release date: August 1, 2014.