If you happen to be a Marvel Comics fan, it truly is a golden age when it comes to film. Almost all of their biggest heroes have made it to the big screen in one degree or another and they have enjoyed tremendous success on many levels. For the long-time reader, it is finding the little things in these movies that are sometimes even more rewarding than the film itself. A character mention here, hidden symbols there – it is almost like a treasure hunt sometimes. With the latest film to come out of Marvel Studios, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the whole thing is in itself a giant Easter egg. Even after it was announced, it was met with a little skepticism. Here was a property that, even though having been enjoying a little resurgence in popularity in the last ten years or so, was not a go to comic book that most would think to make it to the big screen. Luckily for us, someone over at Marvel thought differently and saw the potential in its science fiction roots. Because of that, we now have one of the greatest Marvel movies ever made from a property first thought up in 1969. This may not be the original team first thought lo those many years ago, instead being the team made popular by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, but it does not really matter as having them up on that big screen is an absolute joy an in the end pure magic.
So was it a good film? According to nearly every person in the world, it can almost safely be said that it is probably one of the best, if not the best, Marvel movie ever made. It had the right amount of dramatic tension, suspense, intrigue, comedy and big screen science-fiction spectacle that was needed to pull it off. It had bad guys, it had good guys, it had the hero’s journey and it had a killer soundtrack. While most of the films in the Marvel library at the moment can also boast of those very same qualities, this movie had just a bit more of everything. And for those naysayers out there, even though it might have been a sci-fi flick, it really made it easy for you to connect with the characters on a personal level and identify with the various situations. A big thanks can be attributed to the expert direction of James Gunn who raised his game on this film and is at least partially responsible for the go-ahead of the sequel announced before this picture had even garnered a nationwide release. Unlike many of the recent films put out by Marvel which have been increasing in the running time department, this film was paced out nicely with a good balance amid the action and the interim between those scenes. Clocking in at a couple minutes over two hours, there were no wasted scenes or moments in the film. The great thing about the movie is that it has that same feel as the rest of the Marvel cinematic universe, being essentially Avengers in space.
Bringing the movie to life was one of the finest casts aside from the Avengers to ever be assembled in a comic book film. Coming out of nowhere to steal the lead of the film and the hearts of audience’s everywhere was Chris Pratt as Star-Lord. Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper who did the voices for Groot and Rocket Raccoon did a fine job, though as CGI creations, no onscreen work was required of them. Zoe Saldana as Gamora, the deadliest assassin in the universe was a great bit of casting as she has both the looks and the talent to pull off the role. Another big surprise was Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer. He was amazingly funny and even charismatic in his role as the muscled fighting machine and often brought a lot of brevity to the scenes he was in. While the main cast was really good, the supporting cast was almost even more so every time someone new was introduced. John C. Reilly plays a soldier in the Nova Corps, bringing his usual pithy persona to the screen while Glenn Close of all people played Nova Prime. That was the Screen Actors Guild Award winner, Emmy Winner, Golden Globe and Tony Award winner Glenn Close. As Nova Prime. Lee Pace starred as the main villain, Ronan the Accuser and he has definitely come a long way from Pushing Daisies, menacing and larger than life in his role as potential universal conqueror. Karen Gillan was fantastic in her role as Nebula, the jealous sister of Gamora and was even quite beautiful in an evil sort of way. Djimon Honsou had a bit part as did Benicio del Toro as the Collector. It will definitely be interesting to see just how many things people will be able to pick out of his collection when the home video release hits and they are able to pause the screen during those scenes. We also get Josh Brolin as Thanos, Alexis Denisof as Thanos’ vizier, Michael Rooker as Yondu and Stan Lee of course.
For whatever reason there are always some things that need to be changed, . Yondu did not sport his giant red mohawk, which would have been even more eye-catching and Cosmo who managed to get a little bit of screen-time was noticeably silent, though hopefully the sequel might change that. Quill’s origin was changed as was Nebula’s. Ronan’s role in the Kree Empire was quite different, some which did not really make a ton of sense for the film, but ultimately worked. Drax’s origin was pretty much ignored, though his family is a part of it. While the Nova Corps was cool to see, it would still be great to see some members that wield actual powers as they do in the comics. Thanos is great in his small appearance, though the full-body gold armour was not the best choice of wardrobe. And even with all the changes that did take place, the film really worked. None of the Marvel films up to this point have been literal translations so it was not unexpected of this film to do so either, though much of it was spot on.
Summing it up, there was nothing really bad about this film and of all the Marvel films it is the most feel-good movie and the one that has the most heart. The relationships worked well, that between Rocket and Groot was spot on as was Peter’s and Gamora’s. Drax is usually a pretty quiet guy and the writers Nicole Perlman and James Gunn really nailed down not only his personality, but everybody’s and really seemed to understand the source material. Pratt is infectious in his role as the Terran made galactic saviour and he is the glue of which this picture is held together. The cinematography by Ben Davis was wonderful and the movie just flowed from one scene to another quite flawlessly. The special effects, to say the least, are amazing. Everything from the costume design to the practical effects and especially the larger than life moments like the interior of Knowhere or the battle on Xandar, everything in this film was exceptionally well done. The previously mentioned soundtrack or Awesome Mix #1 was great and it will be interesting to hear just how good Awesome Mix #2 is when the sequel comes out. As a Marvel fan, a comic book fan or even just a fan of film, should you happen to catch this movie, you will not be disappointed. Also, be sure to stay for the post-credits scene which has been a little polarizing for a lot of people who are essentially split into two camps – those that hate it and those that love it. Bring on Guardians of the Galaxy 2!