By Ethan Harmon
When Marvel came forth and told the world they were making a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, which would be directed by James Gunn, half of the world scratched their heads with curiosity, while the other half collectively screamed with joy. It was a terribly big risk for Marvel Studios; green-lighting a movie based off one of their popular, but not well-known comics came with a big price. The film would either soar and delight audiences or epically fail and crumble to the ground. Luckily, the risk was full of reward for Marvel, for Guardians of the Galaxy is an absolute delight, and easily one of Marvel’s best, if not the best, film of the ever-growing superhero franchise.
The film chronicles the misadventures of Peter Quill, AKA Star-Lord, played by the charming and hilarious Chris Pratt. Quill is a thief who decides to steal a mysterious orb, hoping the orb will make him rich when he pawns it. Bad luck follows Quill, as a bounty is immediately placed on his head, leading the assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to track him down as well as the bizarre team of Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). The power-house Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) eventually enters the fray, bringing action and dead-pan humor with him. These misfits do not want to stick together, but the looming threat of Ronan the Accuser, a maniac hell-bent on “order” in the universe (basically, he wants to destroy everything), forces them to take up arms and protect the galaxies.
Though the premise is simple, Guardians of the Galaxy soars to incredible heights due to its cast. Chris Pratt is a shining star in this movie, bringing wit and funny quips with his anti-heroic performance. Pratt was the perfect fit for the role and he carries every scene with gusto. Saldana does wonderfully as the cold-hearted, honorable Gamora, giving audiences some incredible acrobatic fights. Dave Bautista may seem like a weak link here, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. He plays Drax with emotion and ferocity. The stand-out characters, however, are the smart-assed Rocket Raccoon and gentle giant Groot. Rocket constantly brings humor to each scene and will win over audiences immediately. Groot, although only able to say “I am Groot,” brings a surprising amount of warmth to the film, as well as some action-packed moments.
Director James Gunn has written and crafted an incredible film. Guardians of the Galaxy brings a broad color palette to the science-fiction genre, as well as the superhero gig. Gunn pumps the film with rich atmosphere, allowing audiences to instantly feel comfortable and engrossed within these new planets and ships. The movie definitely has a lot of Gunn’s trademark humor and wit, which is definitely to the film’s benefit. The only complaint that comes to mind – and this is a minor one that is filled with bias – is the fact that press screenings did not include the now-famous end-of-credits teaser. Again, it’s just a small issue that will be immediately solved on opening night when the teaser is added.
Marvel took a massive risk with this movie, but with the perfect cast and director, the efforts paid off. Guardians of the Galaxy is a wonderful, epic, thrilling adventure with a lot of humor and surprisingly heart-warming moments. Audiences will easily find a favorite character to attach themselves too and everyone will enjoy the ride. This movie achieves something simple, yet something that has been difficult to find in other films in recent memory: it’s incredibly fun. Whether it’s midnight on Thursday, opening day on Friday, or just sometime this weekend, everyone should find themselves in a theater watching this movie. Anything less is just a disservice to potential enjoyment.