REVIEW: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – THE Next Big Superhero Franchise?
ComicBookMovie.com President Nate Best gives his spoiler-free thoughts on Marvel and Disney’s comic inspired space opera. Is it going to be a hit? Read the review and find out!
I was one of the lucky few invited to attend the first screening of Guardians of the Galaxy on July 19th at Walt Disney Studios. If you follow ComicBookMovie.com’s social feeds, or saw the initial screening reactions, you’ll note that my initial reaction was “Watch out Avengers, there’s a new posse in town!”… After spending the weekend in Burbank California for the screening, interviewing Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) and Yondu (Michael Rooker) and having a several days to digest the film, what was great and what could have been improved upon, do I still feel the same way? ABSOLUTELY!
James Gunn does so many things right with Guardians of the Galaxy that one is tempted to say “The film is perfect!” While I’m tempted to say exactly that, it wouldn’t be true. The “perfect” film has yet to be created, and I would be the least qualified person to review such a film.
The Cast – James Gunn mentioned in the press conference that Chris Pratt set the standard in what they were looking for in Peter Quill, A.K.A. “Star-Lord.” In fact, he said that he wasn’t interested in the chubby guy from Parks and Rec, but a VERY persistent casting director (Sarah Finn) was able to get him in front of the director. He changed his mind once Pratt auditioned. Discussing this very topic during the recent press conference Gunn said “This is 100% true. Within 20 seconds I was like “Holy $hit that’s the guy. That’s who we’ve been looking for… sometimes a role and a person are meant for each other and that’s what I felt this was, and I turned around to Sarah who was sitting behind me and I’m like “Chubby or not… the world’s going to have to be ready for the first chubby superhero.”
Dave Bautista fought for his role as Drax the Destroyer as well. Gunn said that it all clicked once Pratt and Bautista tested together, that they had instant chemistry. You see this same chemistry between the actors that were on set, as well as the CGI cast. When I sat down with Dave Bautista to discuss the role of Drax the Destroyer (see the full interview HERE) I asked him “How difficult was it being one of the few actors present for the scenes and filming with Groot and Rocket not actually there?” Dave said “I never felt like they weren’t there… I never felt like we were acting on green screen, or we were working with puppets… I really got lost in the moment and change and the set. The cast they made it easy to do that.”
The Characters – Let’s face it, origin films are tough when introducing a new character, especially one that’s not well-known to the public. Guardians of the Galaxy has the impossible task of doing this for not one character, but five AND several villains, all of which are relatively unknown unless you follow the comics that the film is based upon.
The character development in the film is perhaps the one area that critics may find fault with the film. I follow the Guardians adventures off screen, so it didn’t have a big impact on the film for me. Guardians will be Marvel’s next big franchise, so they have to leave a little room for character development in future films. With that being said, the movie is from Peter Quill’s perspective for the most part. From the very first few minutes of the film, you can’t help but fall in love with him as you meet him in his younger years before he is taken to space by Yondu (Michael Rooker, see my interview with him HERE). Chris Pratt IS Star-Lord. Peter Quill is the new Tony Stark. You’ll laugh with him, cry with him and kick some butt along the way.
I would have loved to learn more about the other characters in the film and their individual histories. Groot’s history is especially absent, but by the end of the film, most noticeably in the third act, you’ll love Groot, Rocket, Drax and Gamora as much as Quill. I still can’t decide which character is my favorite… All of them have moments where they shine.
The Villains – EVERYONE wants to know how Thanos was in the film when discussing the villains of the film. I’m not going to spoil anything… YES we see Thanos in the film, a few times, and he is an imposing figure, to say the least. Brolin’s voice fits perfectly. The Guardians have a rough time with Ronan and the Marvel cinematic universe is going to have much tougher time handling Thanos.
Ronan the Accuser and Nebula are great villains and portrayed very well on the big screen by Lee Pace and Karen Gillan. You almost feel sorry for Nebula, but you can’t help but hate Ronan. Not only is he evil, he has a very poor temper and daddy issues to boot. Some were worried about the black face paint, but it works on-screen.
Landscape and Aliens – The landscapes are beautiful and stunning when viewed in 3D. The colors and formations transport you to several different worlds and you’ll be happy to visit each and every one of them. There are a plethora of aliens to see in the film, but most are of the two-legged variety. While most resemble humanoids, Gunn does an impressive job of adding variety, even going as far as building a cast system within different races, with each cast having their own shade. While this is understandable, humanoid are much easier and cheaper to put on set, hopefully upcoming sequels will include many more body types and races.
Soundtrack – A review just wouldn’t be complete without covering the soundtrack. The name says it all - “Awesome Mix 1”. Some of the best music from the 70s is used in the film, as well as music from Tyler Bates. What many don’t realize is that Gunn had the music for many of the scenes mapped out before filming had even started. He even went as far as working with Tyler Bates prior to filming so that portions of the soundtrack would be complete and could be used on set while filming. The actors have mentioned the music on set and it really seems to have helped with the performances.
The Verdict – Go see this film! Better yet, take your family and friends with you to see this film. There’s something for everyone to be had. It not only has something for everyone, but it has a little bit of everything too: humor, emotion and action. Missing are the slow points typical in origin films as Guardians keeps a pretty quick pace. It’s a sci-fi romp through the galactic Wild West with a group of characters that you won’t want to end.
My initial reaction remains intact - Watch out Avengers, there's a new posse in town!
Read my interview with Dave Bautista / Drax the Destroyer from Guardians of the Galaxy!
Read my interview with Michael Rooker / Yondu from Guardians of the Galaxy!
From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team—the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel's “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand—with the galaxy's fate in the balance.
Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which first appeared in comic books in Marvel Super-Heroes, Issue #18 (Jan. 1969), stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, featuring Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, with John C. Reilly, Glenn Close as Nova Prime and Benicio Del Toro as The Collector.
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