Director: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel
Released: 31st July 2014
I’m not going to delve into spoilers in this review. At all. But… Thanos. Josh Brolin as Thanos. That alone should be enough to make you want to see this movie, no matter how small the amount of screen time the Mad Titan gets. Obviously, for me, that was one of the things I was most excited about going into this movie, and I have to say I’m absolutely ecstatic at both the voice work and the physical appearance of Thanos. Seriously. It’s amazing. AMAZING!!
Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s talk about the film itself. Now, the first thing that hits you is the tone of this movie, which is utterly unique, managing to strike the perfect balance between dramatic, emotional scenes and tongue-in-cheek irreverence. It’s also gloriously self-aware, and does a terrific job of not taking itself too seriously at any point, something that several other superhero movies have fallen down on in the past (I’m looking at you, Man of Steel). Yes, the galaxy is in peril. Yes, the threats are all real and the emotional motivations of the characters are legitimate. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun though, right?
As expected, Chris Pratt proves to be a charming, humorous and dynamic lead, ably assisted by a well-balanced supporting cast. However, the hard work of the ‘human’ portion of the cast are pretty substantially eclipsed – once again, as could have easily been predicted – by everyone’s new favourite comic book double-act, Rocket and Groot. Skillfully animated and brilliantly acted by Cooper and Diesel, these guys steal pretty much every scene they’re a part of. Which, as you would imagine, is most of them. The new gold standard for comic book buddies, they have taken Stark and Banner’s “Science Bros” trophy and ran off with it, hurling abuse and spraying bullets as they go.
Also, following on from the trend set by X-Men Days of Future Past, where one of my chief concerns going into the movie (i.e. Quicksilver) turned out to be one of the highlights, WWE’s own Dave Bautista ended up being pretty damn awesome as Drax The Destroyer, showing a great sense of comic timing to go along with his pecs, and delivering several truly hilarious one-liners along the way.
And then there’s the soundtrack. Oh lord, the soundtrack. It’s was always pretty obvious from the trailers that James Gunn envisaged music playing a big part in this movie, and he manages to interject the glorious retro pop hits into the film in the most natural of ways, giving Guardians of the Galaxy a distinctive feel all of its own.
I also want to take a moment to allay a concern that has been levied at a lot of ‘hero group’ movies that have been suggested in the past. Often, people’s criticisms about these kind of movies (Justice League, for example), is that “people aren’t going to care about the individual members of the team unless they have a movie of their own to get people used to them”. Well, I think James Gunn has proved without a doubt that is most definitely not the case. Here, he manages to introduce, establish and make us care about each of the five members of the Guardians, in spite of – let’s be honest – 90% of the audience (at least) probably not having a clue about any of them prior to seeing the movie. So yeah, tip of the hat to Mr Gunn for dispelling that particular fallacy.
So, while it may have dipped a little in the middle, and perhaps lost its direction just a tad at a few points, in terms of smile-raising, fist-pumping, head-bobbing awesomeness, it’s difficult to envisage a more perfectly-crafted ‘popcorn movie’ than Guardians of the Galaxy. Go see it. I promise you won’t regret it.
And yes, as always, there is a post-credit scene. Although… uh… well, let me know what you think when you see it. Random isn’t the word.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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