Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – James Gunn

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I have to commend Marvel Studios with what they’ve done in bringing the Marvel Universe to the big screen.

By establishing the basics of the universe with the first series of films leading into The Avengers, the collection generated goodwill in the audience by giving them solid stories, solid direction, brilliant production and A-List talent who seem happy to play in this world and crossover from film to film.

Guardians would not have worked in Phase I, but with the faith generated by Marvel’s previous instalments, the audience is willing to take the leap to watch a property that a lot of the viewers may not have heard of. Not to mention, the tag at the end of the film that includes a Marvel property I thought I would never see on the big screen again!

And best of all, it works like gangbusters!

Peter Quill (played charmingly and with a delightful sense of fun by Chris Pratt) was abducted from Earth, as a boy, on the night of his mother’s death, with just his knapsack, and his Walkman (loaded with his Awesome Mix Tape No. 1). Now, he’s grown up light years from his home, and works as a lone salvager, hoping to make a name for himself under the unlikely moniker, Star Lord.

When a deal he’s working on, ends up being larger than he thought, he finds himself pursued by a group of fellow hunters, who end up allying themselves with him to take on the dangerous Kree empire, led by Ronan (Lee Pace), who is seeking to wipe out the planet Xandar, the center of the Nova empire.

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Teaming up with Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the adopted daughter of the villainous Thanos (an uncredited Josh Brolin), glimpsed briefly previously in the Marvel Universe in The Avengers, a genetically modified racoon, Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and his sidekick, the living plant, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), as well as the literal-minded Drax (Dave Bautista), this unlikely group are all that stands in the way of Ronan, who with an infinity stone in hand (a kin to the tesseract we’ve seen in previous Marvel installments), is close to unstoppable.

There are laughs aplenty, Gunn keeps the story going at full tilt, and even running at two hours, I was thinking I would happily have sat for an hour or more, and was ready to turn around and head right back in as soon as the film finished.

The vfx are fantastic, and Rocket, and Groot, not to mention all the other tweaks, and creations in the picture, all look photo-real. Another reason, why this one works now, and wouldn’t have, say, even 5 years ago.

The dialogue is pitch perfect, they come across as just ordinary people, sure they may be living light years from here, but by making the way they speak, interact, and share some of the same worries we do, jobs, family, it makes it easier for the audience to relate, and dive right into the world the film has created.

And I can’t tell you how delighted I was to see at the end of the film, the promise that the Guardians of the Galaxy will return. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

This one, was the perfect mix of space opera, comedy, action, and comic book, and I cannot wait for more!!!

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