REVIEW | Guardians of the Galaxy

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By Dustin Heller

(Aug. 1, 2014) – “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the latest superhero movie from Marvel Studios. Based upon the superhero team introduced by Marvel Comics, the movie is co-written and directed by James Gunn who started his career as a screenwriter for movies like “Scooby-Doo” and 2004’s “Dawn of the Dead.” Gunn’s directing debut came in 2006 with “Slither” and he followed that up with his not-so-ordinary superhero movie, “Super.”

“Guardians of the Galaxy” features a big ensemble cast with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro. The movie is being released in 3D and IMAX 3D and a sequel has already been announced with a release date of July 28, 2017.

Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Pratt) is a human that was abducted by aliens as a boy and now travels the universe as a Ravager. His latest expedition finds him in possession of a mysterious orb that seems like everyone wants to get their hands on, especially the evil villain Ronan (Pace). Back on the planet Xandar, Peter runs into two bounty hunters, Rocket (Cooper) and Groot (Diesel), looking to take him captive and collect on his big bounty. At the same time, Gamora (Saldana), orphan daughter of Marvel villain Thanos, is sent to find Peter and steal the orb. After a big standoff in the streets of Xandar, all four are arrested and taken to prison. Here they meet up with Drax the Destroyer (Bautista) and the five join forces to break free from prison and sell the orb for a handsome profit. From here, things go awry and the orb ends up in the hands of Ronan. It is now up to these five misfits to retrieve the orb and save Xandar from complete destruction.

I must admit that I was a little worried for Guardians of the Galaxy over the first half of the movie, but a strong second hour made for a very entertaining time at the movies. I could see the potential in the first half, but it was a little slow and I really wasn’t connecting with the characters. Also, the scenery of the movie is quite dark which made my 3D screening a little difficult to watch. This is a summer blockbuster that I’d definitely recommend seeing in conventional 2D.

Once the team comes together and they set off on their mission, the movie really takes flight. Like the other Marvel movies before it, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is very funny. Rocket Raccoon and Star-Lord are both hilarious and their charm carries this movie. There are a number of superhero and big action clichés throughout, but it doesn’t really take away from the overall enjoyment. I did feel that director James Gunn relied on his pop music soundtrack a little too much, and it became overkill by the end.

As for the cast, it was spot-on from top to bottom. Chris Pratt’s star is definitely on the rise and he’s overflowing with charisma. Even though it started off a little slow, I ended up having a great time and can’t wait for the return of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the summer of 2017.

Grade: B+

“Guardians of the Galaxy” opens in theaters on Friday, August 1.

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