When you’re talking the Marvel Cinematic Universe I’m in the mood for something different, what about you? Going into the press screening of Guardians of the Galaxy this past Tuesday evening “different” is what I was hoping for. I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular other than just simply wanting to have a good time. The past few Marvel flicks, although rather enjoyable, have been kind of heavy and serious in tone (while keeping the Marvel humor of course). So to have something brand spanking new and capable of shaking up the Marvel universe just a tad would be very much welcomed in my world. After the piece of cr@p Transformers: Age of Extinction and the disappointment of Lucy last week in the “fun” category, I really went into this craving and hoping for the best. I wanted to be dazzled and most of all…entertained! Is that too much to ask for from a popcorn, summer blockbuster?
Unless you’ve been living without Internet for the past two years, then you would know that Guardians of the Galaxy is Marvel’s newest entry into their connected universe that’s get this…not a sequel! I know! It’s quite shocking, but if you ask me, it’s all very fresh and exciting feeling at the same time. It’s about time Marvel and Disney took a chance on a new “galactic” property outside of their usual safety zone, with the exception of the Thor mythology that is. And if you’re keeping count, this is the tenth feature in the connected Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film, directed by James Gunn, stars some heavy hitting names too such as Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper, who all flesh out our guardian superheroes here, and Michael Rooker, Dijimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Benicio del Toro and more.
So here’s the thing folks and I’m going to come right out and say this as I’m very excited to do so. Guardians of the Galaxy is the CLOSEST you will come to capturing the magic of Star Wars (original trilogy) in the Marvel universe of films. Everything about Chris Pratt’s character, Peter Quill/Star-Lord, literally screams Han Solo with no silly debates over who shot who first. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I think I dig Star-Lord’s snarkiness over the legendary Solo and I know…I know…that is blasphemy to say. However, I can’t help it. Star-Lord is the renegade space outlaw we all have been waiting for to reincarnate onscreen ever since Ford last portrayed Solo way back in 1983 (and I don’t really want to see his geriatric version next year). Alright, maybe saying Chris Pratt’s character is better than Harrison Ford is a bit too much. I’ll admit. So let’s agree to disagree here and maybe just say he’s the new Han Solo. How’s that? Does that bode well for you all? I know it does for me!
While I won’t spoil it for anyone, I want to at least squash any doubts that this film isn’t connected to the already established Marvel universe out there, because IT IS! It’s connected in so many way that I wish I could devote a whole paragraph to listing and talking about them, but I digress because to do that would be venturing into spoiler territory and I’m not one of those people despite what the naysayers may make up about me. So to be fair, let’s just work on setting up the story in this upcoming paragraph and I think the rest of the gray we leave untouched will just serve as a whetting of your appetite. So here goes nothing.
After a brief introduction to the character of Peter Quill we find him on almost an Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark-like adventure after he secures an orb wanted by the evil Ronan (Lee Pace), whom we learn serves Thanos (I told you there were connections). The only thing is, Ronan and Thanos are not the only ones interested in the orb. Oh, there’s also a green vixen named Gamora (Saldana) and a bandit known as Yondu (Rooker), leader of the Ravagers, that’s after it too. After a fateful encounter where it’s basically a free-for-all to steal the orb away from Peter, he finds himself imprisoned by the Nova Corps with his attackers Rocket Raccoon (Cooper), Groot (Voiced by Vin Diesel) and Drax the Destroyer (Bautista), whom we find out is hell bent on avenging the death of his wife and child who were both killed by Ronan. The unlikely gang formulate an impromptu plan to escape their imprisoned clutches and why not, they determine that since they live in it, the galaxy might be worth saving too as they work together to attempt to regain possession of the orb. And basically the rest of the story is for you to discover and fall in love with this weekend at the movies. How do you like that for being a tease?
Essentially, what it all boils down to and why I like Guardians of the Galaxy as much as I do is the fact that Marvel has taken a risk on a lesser known comic book property and like they did with the mythical Thor, they miraculously made it work. However, I called it way back when Aaron Neuwirth posted the film’s first theatrical trailer on the site earlier this year. You could tell, even then, that the movie was just going to have enough quirkiness, groovy music, comedic relief, wit, charm and most importantly, a heavy sigh of freshness about it that would ultimately spell success for Marvel Studios and of course Disney. Let’s also give credit where it’s deserved to screenwriter Nicole Perlman and director James Gunn, who’s come along way from his days at Troma to helming an invigorating space opera like this. It also doesn’t hurt when your cast is all likable and are all actually into what they are doing onscreen too. Their chemistry all together plays a big part in that too. Thank God there are no Bruce Willis wannabes in this one. What you simply have is one of the best summer blockbusters this year and you can take that to the bank and cash it because as you’ll see for yourself this week…GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY WILL RETURN. I kept this review short on purpose because I want you to stop reading, run to the theater and enjoy yourselves with this one! I’m going back! I want to see that after credits scene!