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Monday, 1 September 2014

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Today I went to see the new Marvel comics adaptation Guardians of the Galaxy and cannot wait to review it. When I first heard about an adaptation and saw the trailers I dreaded it because I thought they would put little effort in as Guardians wasn't one of Marvel's flagship characters like the X-Men, Avengers or Spider Man and I thought that they wouldn't be given justice after after seeing other recent Marvel adaptations, (especially after Iron Man 3). Luckily I was proven wrong. Guardians of the Galaxy is easily one of the best Marvel films to come out in recent years along with Captain America 2 and the Avengers.

The plot centers around a ragtag group of people: Peter Quill played by Chris Pratt, Gamora played by Zoe Saldana, Drax the Destroyer played by Dave Bautista, Rocket voiced by Bradley Cooper and Groot voiced by Vin Diesel. The group have to deliver an orb of mystical power to a mysterious buyer for a large amount of money while being hunted by the Nova Corps for breaking out of prison and Yondu's, (Michael Rooker), Ravagers who wants revenge on Quill. At the same time they must stop Ronan the Accuser, (Lee Pace), getting his hands on the orb. Although the best plot points, especially what is inside the orb and the prospective buyer, I won't reveal to avoid spoilers but it is a must see. The plot has a good premise with good pacing which keeps you hooked making it a good family film but the action will keep older viewers entertained for which I am glad of as it allows everyone to enjoy the film. I was even willing to overlook the massive personality change of Peter Quill thanks to my next point. The dialogue is surprisingly good considering other sci-fi comic adaptations out there, (like in Green Lantern), and the film is quite funny. Everyone in the cinema was laughing at the parts to which the writers intended to be funny and each time it hit the mark although I think it mainly was down to the actors who showed exceptional acting. I must give credit to the writers James Gunn and Nicole Perlman for such good dialogue.
  The actors in the film hit the mark each time. You could tell that they enjoyed filming and fit perfectly in the roles so almost always the dialogue didn't seem forced, I particularly enjoyed the scene where Drax misunderstands Quill's and Rocket's metaphors. The characters honestly felt like they were friends and was a realistic exchange which made the film even more enjoyable although at times I thought that they were trying to make Chris Pratt into a new Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark although this didn't happen too often so can be forgiven.

The setting perfectly captures the mood and themes of the comics and felt that it belonged in the Star Wars or Star Trek universe which was the main inspiration for the comics. Everything fit together so well although I did see a plot hole about why the Kree wouldn't get involved to stop Ronan and I thought the reason why they didn't was too flimsy to be realistic. I also felt that they missed an opportunity to weave in other Marvel races such as the Shi'ar or the Skrulls, not as main races but maybe just little cameos. I even thought that the Kree could have gone to war with the Skrulls and that's why they couldn't stop Ronan. I also had a minor issue about how Chris Pratt's character had a fully functioning cassette player after twenty years and it never explaining if he ever went back to Earth to get new batteries but I'm nitpicking. I liked Stan Lee's cameo as well as a cameo from Lloyd Kaufman, a film director and producer who has worked with the directer James Gunn before.
Here's Kaufman if you want to look out for him
I love Kaufman's Toxic Avenger series so I glad to see him but I thought that a cameo of the series protagonist Toxie could have been done. Also the after credits cameo from a certain Marvel character was well received. I was glad though that they kept Guardians contained in its own little universe so an Avengers crossover would be more optional rather than forced, in fact I only noticed one Avengers reference. Another thing to note which was well received was Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Dave Bautista and Karen Gillan wearing make-up to create their characters instead of CGI.

For its good dialogue, acting, setting and loyalty to the source material but with one or two minor plot points I would give Guardians of the Galaxy 8.5/10. It is one of the greatest comic adaptations that I have seen which doesn't require prior reading to enjoy as well as being a good family film for all. I hope to see a sequel with maybe a Skrull or two or even better Thanos being the main villain. Now I just hope that Avengers 2 can deliver after such a high standard set by this film.

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