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Film Review: Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy

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L to R: Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Groot (Voiced by Vin Diesel), Rocket Racoon (Voiced by Bradley Cooper), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana).
©Marvel 2014

What do you get when you team up a brash space adventure, a beautiful and deadly assassin, a super-strong brute, a tree that walks and talks, and a genetically modified raccoon?

Perhaps those last two don’t exactly scream hero-material.

Though at first glance they may sound more like an odd bunch of screwballs rather than saviors of the universe, this unlikely team of outlaws lives up to their reputation as the Guardians of the Galaxy.

In the latest Marvel universe film co-written and directed by James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy shows exactly what a rag-tag group of misfits are capable of accomplishing when working together. Co-written by Nicole Perlman, Guardians introduces audiences to a different group of heroes not readily recognizable except by the most dedicated of comic book enthusiasts. Yet despite the unfamiliarity, audiences will be quick to fall in love with these oddball heroes.

The story revolves around a mysterious orb discovered by an adventurer named Peter Quill (played by Chris Pratt) that is coveted by the infamous Ronan the Accuser (played by Lee Pace). A manhunt ensues as Ronan attempts to retrieve the orb and unleash its mysterious yet incredible power. Quill is reluctantly forced to ally himself with the mysterious and deadly Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana), a gun toting raccoon named Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and his humanoid tree companion Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), and the vengeful Drax the Destroyer (played by Dave Bautista). While attempting to keep the orb out of the hands of Ronan and his followers Nebula and Korath (played by Karen Gillian and Djimon Hounsou respectively), other interested parties like Yondu (played by Michael Rooker) and The Collector (played by Benicio Del Torro) also hope to possess the orb.

Comic book fans and average moviegoers alike will thoroughly enjoy Marvel’s expansion into the cosmos. While not as famous as the Avengers or their individual members like Iron Man or Captain America, audiences will come to embrace them just as much—if not more—after seeing Guardians of the Galaxy. Their personalities and motivations give them their own distinct charm, something that should be attributed to Gunn’s efforts as director and co-writer along with Perlman.

Guardians is nothing short of entertainment at its highest level and the cast is nothing short of brilliant. Their chemistry on-screen allows them to be humorous and genuinely form an emotional bond on-screen. Pratt in particular is impressive as Quill, showing his range and proving that he is an incredibly talented and funny actor who unquestionably understands comedic timing and the specific demands of an action-adventure film. Saldana thrives in her role as a the strong, independent Gamora while Bautista proves he is a more than capable action movie star in his turn as Drax. Diesel makes the unconventional Groot lovable and humorous. And not to be forgotten, Cooper’s voice for Rocket brings amazing life to his character and contributes significantly to ensembles performance on screen.

guardians of the galaxy
L to R: Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (Voiced by Vin Diesel), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) Ph: Film Frame ©Marvel 2014

Gunn’s direction should be praised in bringing all of these characters to life in a way that develops them while entertaining the audience with humorous dialogue and appropriate drama. It is these wrinkles that makes Guardians the best superhero movie of the summer and one of the best Marvel films.

Visually the entire movie looks stunning and thrives when seen in 3D. There are no cheesy or unoriginal shots that make the film obviously intended for 3D as opposed to a standard screen. Rather, the cinematography captures the action and makes the 3D experience organic to the film. Audiences will not loose out on the visual impressiveness of the characters and universe they occupy if they view the film in standard 2D.

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy has its own unique feel to set it apart from its Avengers counterparts and other superhero movies. James Gunn showcases his impressive talents as a filmmaker and storyteller by creating a group of lovable outlaws who never cease to entertain throughout the film. It is well paced to keep audience interested while telling its compelling story within a span of two hours. The film keeps from meandering longer than it needs to be—a problem many movies as of late have had and seems to be a new and troubling filmmaking trend—and leaves audiences wanting more. Chris Pratt emerges as a bona fide talented star and Dave Bautista becomes the action hero audiences have been pinning for since his movie career began. Saldana once again proves why she has been attached to so many blockbuster movie franchises while Cooper demonstrates an impressive ability to lend his voice in order to bring a character to life.

As the last Marvel film until next year’s highly anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy goes beyond serving as a teaser for the next epic blockbuster in the Marvel franchise. It stands on its own as a brilliantly entertaining movie that audiences will want to watch again and again.

Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy – Grade: A

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Aaron Zamora

Aaron grew up in Whittier, California and is currently finishing his master's degree in Human Communication studies from California State University, Fullerton. His interest in journalism began in high school where he served as the Editor-in-Chief for his school’s newspaper and participated in their inaugural broadcast journalism program. An avid world traveler, Aaron has a wide array of interest that include a passion for cinema and television. He is also a sports fanatic.

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