johnlink ranks GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)

A good friend made the six hour trek up this way to watch the AFC Championship Game (Way to go Pats!). But he also brought a few movies. One of them was GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. As usual, I’m seeing this way after everyone else.

GuardiansOfTheGalaxy

I watched GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014) on 1.17.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY was a gamble for Marvel Studios. The successes of the AVENGERS universe had opened up the possibility of making some films with lesser known comic entities. The less-famous Guardians of the Galaxy may have been loved by their fans, but they didn’t have nearly the name recognition of Captain America or Thor or Iron Man. The studio dumped the movie in early August. In the US, at least, that is the time of year usually reserved for action movies that were made for a ton of money, but which the studio doesn’t think can carry the important May or fourth of July markets (early August, for example, has been the landing spot for each of the GI JOE films while TRANSFORMERS always owns the July 4th Holiday weekend).

So GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY came out with a fair amount of deserved buzz, but it didn’t have the push of an AVENGERS. The reputation it has earned, then, is one it fought for by putting out an aggressively funny and interesting movie. It sits at 8.2 on the IMDb scale, making it the #174 best movie ever made according to that site’s frequent voters. That’s not a bad spot for a comic book movie about a group that only comic book readers had ever heard of.

The movie tells the story of a mismatched group of galactic folks coming together to form a team that might kill each other before they help each other. They are comprised of a guy who was abducted by aliens as a 12 yer old in the 80s (and still lives there mentally) in Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). He serves as team leader. They get an adopted daughter of the villainous Thanos (Josh Brolin) in the green-skinned Gamora (Zoe Saldana). They have a vengeance-seeking brute who takes – everything – literally: Drax (WWE Wrestler turned actor Dave Bautista). There is the cyber-enhanced (and CGI animated) raccoon warrior Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and another CGI creation in the tall tree-man Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel).

The movie starts with Quill has a thief trying to deliver an orb to a fence who will sell it off to some nefarious person. Once Quill encounters all his soon-to-be friends (and they all get arrested), he soon realizes that the orb contains one of the Marvel Universe infinity stones which can destroy worlds without the user having to blink an eye. The group decides to come together in an effort to get it back from this movie’s villain Ronan (Lee Pace). Ronan starts as a General under the universe’s uber-villain Thanos, but soon decides he doesn’t need the big guy’s help to destroy everything in his path. He can do it himself with the power stone.

If this all sounds like standard comic book movie stuff – well it is. What sets GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY apart, what makes it such a fan favorite, is its humor. All of the characters in the team have moments of legit, funny humor. This is maybe the funniest team-does-a-job movie since the first Clooney-Pitt OCEAN’S ELEVEN. Pratt serves as the comedy leader as well as the team leader. But the Cooper-voiced Rocket has his share of (mostly angry) funny stuff too. The revelation is Dave Bautista – a guy who never seemed to be much as an actor in his WWE days – really killing the roll of Drax. His muscle-bound serious dude is written funny enough, but Bautista really sells it well. Zoe Saldana is given less to do, and I’d love to see her conflicted character get a little more fun stuff to do in the inevitable sequel. Vin Diesel has the movie’s famous line “I am Groot”, but most of that character is in the animation.

This movie doesn’t have many flaws, but they are probably in the story’s central conflict. While the action scenes are mostly awesome, the final battle is one of those things where whoever has the weapon is going to win, so we can see a lot of the moments coming (well, perhaps, except the dance-off). Marvel set the bar high with the climactic scene of AVENGERS, so any team movie they make in the future is going to have a hard time matching the epic level of that scene. A second GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY will have the benefit of having already built the team. It will be interesting to see how they balance the humor and the action with that one.

This is a fun movie which is easily liked. In a cinematic landscape where comic book movies are asked to do more and more heavy lifting, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is a refreshingly good time which isn’t afraid to be silly.

SCORES

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 9; ACTING: 7; WRITING: 7

6+9+7+7+0=29

FINAL SCORE: 7.25 out of 10

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~ by johnlink00 on January 19, 2015.

6 Responses to “johnlink ranks GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)”

  1. great review! glad you liked this one, it was sooo much fun to watch!

    • Totally agree. I still think I prefer Avengers in the grand scheme of things, but I was really happy with the tone and fun of Guardians.

      • Im actually curious to see how they incorporate them in the Avengers storyline. This reminded so much of the Star Wars universe thst perhaps that also contributed to my high esteem for this film.

      • Yeah, Guardians has the potential to be a sweeping series. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with the world building in the next one.

  2. A note you might find interesting: I have never seen The Iron Giant, but apparently the tone and cadence of the line “We are Groot” mirrors the line “Su-per-man” from that movie very intentionally.

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