Guardians of the Galaxy: Get Hooked on a Feeling with This Movie Review!
by Rachael Ashdown
If you enjoy comedy, action, adventure, powerful villains, unlikely friendships, tears, and a cameo by Stan Lee, then you will not want to miss Marvel’s new intergalactic jaunt in Guardians of the Galaxy. Fans have developed high expectations for movies coming out of the Marvel universe, and this one delivers in a big way. The commercials claim it is the highest-rated movie of the year, and it is easy to see why. This fan just might go as far as to call it her favorite of the Marvel movies.
Let us start with the plot. Wild and wacky, director James Gunn takes us on a rollercoaster that starts with a tear-jerker origin story and takes us all the way to an epic battle in the skies over Xandar, the home world of the Nova Corp. On a quest to sell, and then recover, a seemingly-innocuous metal sphere, the unlikely group that becomes the Guardians of the Galaxy go from fighting each other to partners and friends united to take down Ronan the Accuser. Though the climactic battle echoes of many other low-orbit CGI showdowns over the last decade (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Marvel’s own Avengers come to mind), Guardians does a fantastic job sprinkling in a healthy dose of comedy and drama to keep the audience glued to the screen.
Next, characters. I agree with the guys sitting behind me in the theater; each of these characters was perfectly cast. This is my first experience watching Chris Pratt (Peter Quill/Starlord), and I have to say it was a good one. His mastery of comedy kept me laughing from start to finish, and he played off of his co-stars beautifully. Zoe Saldana as Gamora was as beautiful and deadly as usual, even managing to land her own comedic lines perfectly. I only wish we had more of a backstory for her and Nebula, as it appears to be an interesting dynamic that hopefully will be addressed in future movies. As a newcomer to the Guardians story, I was not sure what to expect from Dave Bautista’s Drax, but as the last of the crew to be introduced, his story was still developed enough to make him a sympathetic character and a surprisingly dynamic addition to the group.
Some skeptics shared their doubts early on about the success of a talking tree and a gun-wielding space raccoon being included in this film. But despite all the naysayers, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper as Groot and Rocket respectively rounded out the cast as an astonishingly successful duo. I admit I had my own doubts, having groaned inwardly at the addition of “comic relief” in so many otherwise fantastic movies (I am likely the only person in the world who found Olaf in Frozen irritating). But Rocket was not a two-dimensional character included just for comic relief, as I had feared. Though he cracks jokes just as much as Starlord, there are real emotions on his raccoon face that will tug at your heartstrings. And for only ever saying “I am Groot,” Vin Diesel puts enough emotion into his miniscule vocabulary to make us believe we know exactly what he is saying every time. These are characters we can laugh with, cry with, and that we would like nothing more than to party with.
As for villains, I got a chill up my spine listening to Ronan the Accuser, played by the talented Lee Pace (I am a huge fan; he is the reason I started checking out this movie over a year ago). He is remorseless and deadly, as is his right-hand woman, Nebula, played by Karen Gillan (well known by me and half the world as Amy Pond from Doctor Who). Together they are a brutal pair, bent on destroying all life on Xandar with the power contained in that tiny metal sphere mentioned earlier (some of you may not know what is in it yet, so I will refrain from telling you). If watching a cyborg Amy Pond and a blue King Thranduil wielding a war hammer appeals to you, then this is your movie (if not, there is something wrong with you; seek professional help).
When it comes to a Marvel movie, you cannot do a review without addressing the action sequences. And boy does Guardians have a lot of them. We have all seen Peter Quill running across the desolate planet avoiding gunfire in the previews, and we have seen some of the prison riot that begins the partnership between these five criminals-slash-heroes. But this is just the tip of the iceberg; the action sequences just keep coming. And just as we had to break out the tissues when Tony Stark directed the nuclear missile into the wormhole in Avengers, there are a number of moments in this movie that will make your eyes water involuntarily.
It hardly seems worth it to discuss visual effects anymore, since Marvel has pretty much mastered that aspect of moviemaking, in my humble opinion. Additionally, the witty and memorable dialogue will make you laugh just as much as—if not more so than—Tony Stark does in the Iron Man films. And do I even need to mention the soundtrack? I for one will never be able to listen to “Hooked on a Feeling” without thinking of spaceships and a talking raccoon.
Oh, and PS…don’t forget to stay until the end of the credits. There’s a rather surprising cameo.
Rachael is a freelance writer fresh out of college with a taste for fantasy, science fiction, and adventure. From Lord of the Rings to Doctor Who to Terry Brooks, she loves fictional worlds and the lore that inspired them. She has circumnavigated the globe, visited five continents in five years, and recently sailed aboard a tall ship in French Polynesia. She has a degree from Sweet Briar College in International Affairs, but her passion is writing, anything from sports articles to fan fiction to analyses of military theory. In her spare time she dreams of being one of Tolkien’s elves, practicing archery and wandering through forests wherever her travels take her.