Guardians of the Galaxy: Marvel’s Other Superhero Team

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

STARRING: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro

DIRECTOR: James Gunn

GENRE: Superhero

YEAR: 2014

COUNTRY: United States

After discovering a mysterious orb in another part of the galaxy, Peter Quill from Earth, is now the main target of a manhunt led by a genocidal maniac Ronan The Accuser. Being hunted across the galaxy Quill gets lumped together with a group of misfits that need to learn how to get along before they can become the “Guardians of the Galaxy”. This team includes, Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, Groot, and Drax the Destroyer.

The story focuses on the five main characters, and the way in which these radically different beings form a bond. Each character – Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (voice of Vin Diesel) and Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper) – is given just enough back story and setup that they have specific personality goals to achieve over the course of the film. Rocket Raccoon has an inferiority complex, Gamora has daddy issues, Star Lord has mommy issues. Even though they’re comic book badasses, everyone is flawed and vulnerable in some way. Those character pay-offs, in tandem with the story pay-offs, give the film numerous chill-inducing moments.

What holds Guardians of the Galaxy together is its humanity. Sure there’s lots of action and humor but it’s the quiet moments, the pauses, the knowing glances, that make the experience feel so wonderful. That humanity (or whatever passes for humanity when talking about Rocket and Groot) grounds an otherwise fantastic movie as something we can all relate to.

It rides the line of its PG-13 rating content wise but never demands much of the audience. There’s very little subtext or subtlety. Very few beats aren’t laid out to easily digest, save for some of those quiet pauses. Not that a movie like this needs them, but with such a diverse cast of characters and locations a hint of deeper meaning would have enhanced the story.

The film  feels way too busy for its good, crowded with more characters than is possible to keep up with. Solid actors like Benicio del Toro, Glenn Close, and John C Reilly barely get any screen time, while an important character like Thanos is introduced but never adequately employed. It’s evident also that the makers couldn’t decide on one definitive conclusion; the film has multiple endings. Yet these are minor issues in a film that is mostly enjoyable, and one that gives us such a charming set of heroes.

PROS:

  • Story.
  • Characters.
  • Main cast performances.
  • Set design.

CONS:

  • PG-13 rating.
  • Too many characters.
  • Interesting side characters not enough screen time.

SCORE: 8.9 / 10

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