Film Reviews

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

By • Aug 23rd, 2014 •

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I had no idea going into this film just how much I would enjoy GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. I must explain that I am not a Marvel fanboy, even though I have seen the THOR and CAPTAIN AMERICA films, which I did enjoy quite a bit. THE AVENGERS was also a ride when it first came out and so we as a movie-going tribe become comfortable within this wildly changing Marvel universe of bizarre landscapes with dark and cruel villains that tend to remain one dimensional from film to film. The IRON MAN films of Robert Downey Jr always left me cold, mainly because he was so ego-driven as to drain the fun out of just about everything he touched, at least for me.

Now comes GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and guess what – it is a winner on every level, an epic escapist film that does just that: it entertains non-stop with warmth and humor until it is over, leaving you with a good feeling. The main reason for this film’s success is Chris Pratt who plays the films hero Peter Quill aka Star Lord, and he walks away from this movie a star just like Harrison Ford did in the first STAR WARS film that kind of started all these space westerns in the first place. There are many nods to the Star Wars franchise within this film and they are all welcomed. Chris Pratt is so charming and adorable that he overcomes most of the film’s few shortcomings, like one dimensional villains and somewhat static landscapes that sometimes look like they are a work in progress.

I think one of the reasons GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY works from the very beginning is because it is grounded in reality, with a prologue set in the 1980’s where we are witnessing a very dramatic situation in real time with the child Peter’s mother dying as he watches her waste away. This was especially meaningful for me since I lost my mother last year. In real life Chris Pratt lost nearly 100 lbs to trim down and buff up to play the hero in this film. I also lost nearly as much weight around three years ago, so all of this made the film and the performance of Chris Pratt resonate with me on a very personal level.

The utter joy Chris Pratt brings to his performance is aided greatly by a really fantastic oldies soundtrack that is woven into this film by creating a situation whereby his late mother leaves him a workable 80’s walkman filled with dozens of 70’s rock classic’s like HOOKED ON A FEELING, with Pratt on target every time with dance moves and plot points that make this film rock. The rest of the cast is totally in harmony with the off beat kilter of the witty screenplay and especially the direction of James Gunn, who seems to understand just how far to take things before allowing us to move in another mode of comic book logic.

Mr Pratt is aided by a strong cast of characters like Zoe Saldana in green as the beautiful Gamona, while Dave Bautisa pulls his weight as Drax, a gruff fighter with a desire to avenge the deaths of his wife and daughter. Even this is lightened a tad by the script which makes him funny in his lack of irony, not to mention he takes everything literally which makes for some very funny situations down the road, and what a yellow brick road it is, with a talking Raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper and a very dangerous tree named Groot voiced by Vin Diesel, with only one line he must repeat endlessly to great comic effect. There are cameos by Glen Close, Benico Del Toro and John C Reilly. There may be another villain to add to the Marvel universe with Josh Brolin as Thanos, who is completely unrecognizable in his scenes on an outlaw planet.

I will not go into all the different plot devices at work here since I am simply not that familiar with all the many aspects of the Marvel comic universe. It is simply the best film I have seen this summer and more than likely the best comic book film since STAR WARS. Chris Pratt has already been signed for Part Two, and for his career right now the sky is the limit, if not the universe.

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