GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014) review

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In commemoration of the upcoming CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019) as well as AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019), I’ve decided to take a trip down memory lane and revisit ALL of the films relating to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Phase 2:

Click the following links for:

 

Cast: Chris Pratt (LEGO MOVIE [2014] and 2 [2019], JURASSIC WORLD [2015] and 2 [2018], PASSENGERS [2016], and upcoming films THE KID [2019] and ONWARD [2020]), Zoe Saldana (MY LITTLE PONY [2017], STAR TREK 3 [2016], AVATAR [2009], and upcoming films MISSING LINK [2019] and AVATAR 2 [2020]), Dave Bautista (HOTEL ARTEMIS [2018], BLADE RUNNER 2049 [2017], SPECTRE [2015], and upcoming films STUBER [2019] and MY SPY [2019]), Lee Pace (THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY [2012] and THE GOOD SHEPHERD [2006]), and Michael Rooker (BELKO EXPERIMENT [2017], and upcoming films BOLDEN [2019] and FANTASY ISLAND [2020])

Director/Co-Writer: James Gunn (SUPER [2010] and SLITHER [2006])
Co-Writer: Nicole Perlman (stuff I’ve either never heard of or seen, and the upcoming POKÉMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU [2019])
Composer: Tyler Bates (SPY/DUMPED [2018], ATOMIC BLONDE [2017], JOHN WICK [2014], and the upcoming JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM [2019])
Cinematographer: Ben Davis (THREE BILLBOARDS [2017], STARDUST [2007], and upcoming films DUMBO [2019] and KINGSMAN: THE GREAT GAME [2019])
Editors: Fred Raskin (HOUSE/CLOCK [2018] and HATEFUL 8 [2015]), Hughes Winborne (FENCES [2016] and PIXELS [2015]), and Craig Wood (THE GREAT WALL [2017], TOMORROWLAND [2015], and the upcoming MALEFICENT 2 [2020])

This is my honest opinion of: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

 

(SUMMARY)

In 1988, young Peter Quill (Wyatt Oleff) watched his mother Meredith (Laura Haddick) die of cancer. In an attempt to runaway, he was inadvertently abducted by aliens, lead by Ravager space pirate Yondu (Michael Rooker).

Over twenty years later, Peter (Chris Pratt), now a Ravager himself and trying to go by the name of Star Lord, Peter has trekked out away from the other Ravagers to track down an orb with unknown contents inside that fetch a high price. However, Peter isn’t the only one who wants it. A henchman named Korath (Djimon Hounsou), working for the bitter Kree warlord, Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), has his own plans for it. Peter escapes and intends to sell the orb and keep the money for himself. When Ronan learns of the escape, he orders Gamora (Zoe Saldana), adopted daughter of the mad titan Thanos (Josh Brolin), to retrieve the orb herself. However, nothing goes anyone’s way. Despite Gamora, as well as the efforts of Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a wise-cracking raccoon, and a living tree named Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) trying to collect the bounty the Ravagers put on Peter, all of them get arrested and sent to prison. Deciding to work together, along with an all-too-literal warrior named Drax (Dave Bautista), they escape and intend to pawn off the orb to a new dealer for Gamora, for an exorbitant sum.

(REVIEW)

Yet another two for two, GUARDIANS VOL.1 still holds up gloriously.

Let’s start with that opening. When the hell was James Gunn capable of writing heavy drama? This is on par with STAR TREK’s (2009) opening that makes me cry. It’s like, Gunn was all like, “Yeah, I’m making a goofy movie, might as well offset it with emotions. No one’ll see it coming from me.” Well, I didn’t, Gunn. You got me. You got me good. You made me, my mom, and my aunt cry when this first came out in theaters, and even now I get choked up. I’ve seen this scene more than a few times and it still gets me. Stop it, Gunn! You make goofy movies! Stop being good at other things!

But seriously, I love this opening. I love how scared Peter is of his mom and won’t hold her hand as she passes away and gets hit with that immediate guilt and disbelief of the reality of what’s happening. Oleff did such a great job with his performance that it’s only now that I realize this kid found his way to co-starring in IT (2017) as one of the main kids. Good for him. Now he just needs his own starring vehicle and he’ll be in real business.

Fun fact, Laura Haddock, who plays Peter’s mom, this isn’t her first stint in a movie in the MCU. She was actually one of the dancers for Captain America in FIRST AVENGER when he was used to buy war bonds. Internet, make your theories. In any case, funny how it took a few years, but she got arguably her most memorable performance of her career thus far. Good for you, Haddock.

From this point on, it’s nothing but sheer awesome. Star Lord using a space rat as a microphone while listening to Red Bone’s “Come and Get Your Love,” cool visuals, fun action, and great humor.

Drax slays me to no end. “Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast. I would catch it.” Or how about working in the joke that raccoons are little pests who steal and making Rocket a kleptomaniac? Wanting random objects like a prosthetic leg or fake eye? I thought that was really creative. No idea if it’s true to his character in the comics, but it should be. I also kind of like how Quill and Gamora don’t really get together at the end of the movie. Sure, their romantic chemistry is heavily hinted at, but it doesn’t really go anywhere clichéd. That’s pretty refreshing for a superhero movie. This also gets my vote for best soundtrack in the entire MCU, so there’s that as well. The action is pretty visceral too. When Quill, Gamora, and Rocket are flying around Knowhere and having a good old fashioned dogfight. It’s just got everything that a good space opera needs.

What more can I say?

Well, I can start with sorta, kinda defending Ronan as a villain. One of the major complaints about this character is that he’s basically a carbon copy of DARK WORLD’s Malekith. This is true. Both characters are on a revenge quest against those that wronged them from a bygone war that is now history to others and both want to use an Infinity Stone to cause mass destruction to do it, and with little to no personality all the way through. Except, here’s the thing. I said this in my DARK WORLD review, but Malekith was pathetic. Not only did he do absolutely nothing in the way of achieving goals, but even when he is in a fight, he either loses, or doesn’t stay for the whole thing. He loses a fight against Thor’s mom, for Christ’s sake! Give Ronan some credit, he at least gets his hands dirty. When someone picks a fight with him, he holds his own and even wins. The only reason he loses is because he’s either overwhelmed or outsmarted, which is pretty typical of even good villains. Don’t get me wrong, as a villain, he’s definitely one of the weaker and blander ones, but he’s far from the worst.

Are there any negatives regarding this movie? Hmm… I suppose I think the chase between Star Lord and Gamora when they first meet is kinda dumb. Not the actions itself, but on Gamora’s end, she’s supposed to be the most feared assassin in the galaxy, she volunteers to recover the orb instead of Nebula (Karen Gillan) because she knows Xandar better than her. Except… her plan of attack when encountering Quill is a schoolyard bully tactic: grab the orb, push him, and run away. It’s like… wow, “most feared assassin in the galaxy” my ass. Still, if this is the worst that I have to complain about, then this is a downright great film.

GUARDIANS VOL. 1 remains as much fun to watch now as it did back then. No matter how many times I see it, I laugh, I cry, and I cheer. Love it now, and always will.

My honest rating for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: 5/5

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11 Replies to “GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014) review”

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