GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Review; "Not Just One Of Marvel's Best, But Also One Of 2014's"
Guardians of the Galaxy is finally out in cinemas, and you can read my spoiler-free verdict on James Gunn's spectacular Marvel Studios space opera right here! Is it really Star Wars for a new generation of another Green Lantern? Well, it's certainly not the latter...
Each of the Marvel Studios movies are so good that it's easy to declare each new release their best yet, but in the case of Guardians of the Galaxy, it might just be true! Whether or not it's better than The Avengers is a conversation for another day, but the James Gunn helmed movie is certainly right up there with it as one of the greatest comic book movies of all-time. All the credit goes to Gunn for that as there are countless scenes which simply would not have worked in the hands of a less capable director. Though it's packed full of hilarious moments and perfectly timed one-liners, dismissing Guardians of the Galaxy as a comedy would do it no justice, as you'll find yourself on the edge of your seat stunned by the incredible action sequences (or possibly with tears in your eyes) just as much - if not more - than you do laughing.
Chris Pratt cements his status as this generation's Harrison Ford/Han Solo as Star-Lord and is in many ways the most likeable Marvel leading man to date. Zoe Saldana's Gamora is also great, and the material she gets to work with here is a hundred times better than in her two Star Trek appearances. However, of the live-action members of the team, it's WWE Superstar Dave Bautista who really steals the show. His line delivery is impeccable, and Drax easily gets the most laughs, despite being both sympathetic and a scary force of nature. Like many of you, I went in expecting Rocket to be my favourite character, and while he is fantastic, it's Groot who you'll really fall in love with! Both are incredible CGI creations, and Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel are perfect choices for their respective voices. How much the latter does with just "I Am Groot!" is as surprising as everyone's been saying during the build up to the release of Guardians of the Galaxy.
The focus is very much on the team, so the villains not being as well developed as some of the previous Marvel ones is easy to forgive. We know their motivations and that's ultimately enough, and Lee Pace's Ronan the Accuser is easy to hate, something which is all that's really needed. In the words of one character, he's a prick! The supporting cast are all excellent, though it would have been nice to see more of Glenn Close as Nova Prime and John C. Reilly as Rhomann Dey in particular. Of course, that's what a sequel is for, and plenty of seeds are planted here for just that. A certain bad guy who we last saw in The Avengers' mid-credits scene makes only a brief appearance, but boy is it great. Josh Brolin's voice is perfectly suited to Thanos, though they will need to spend a little more time making him look as good as the Hulk when he does make his first full-blown appearance.
In terms of story, Guardians of the Galaxy isn't the most unique, though both the tone and structure are vastly different to previous Marvel movies. The team is brought together far more naturally than in The Avengers. While the plot is fairly simplistic enough in the sense that it revolves around stopping a bad guy unleashing a dangerous weapon, there are enough great character moments and twists and turns along the way so that it never feels like we're on familiar ground. As witty and funny as the movie is, Guardians of the Glaxy also has a hell of a lot of heart, and it makes for a unique two hour experience. The special effects are top notch, the soundtrack is downright amazing and the after-credits is fantastic fun, even if it doesn't set up a future movie...or does it?!
Congratulations James Gunn, you've taken a group of characters that the majority didn't care about two years ago and made them guaranteed fan favourites. As if that wasn't enough, you've also made not only one of the greatest Marvel movies yet, but also one of 2014's best.
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