Marvel scored a massive success in their risky venture deep into an unfamiliar comic-book world, with a wild adventure only to be matched by the long list of even more characters to become household names.
“GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY” was easily the most risky venture Marvel Studios embarked on since their string of can’t-miss films started back in 2008 with “Iron Man”. After six-years of raking in lucrative profits with familiar characters like Iron Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk and Thor, Marvel has build the groundwork for testing cinema audiences with more of the vast untouched comic-book world.
The success of this film and introducing audiences to these new characters would prove to be vital for the outlook of Marvel’s Phase Three in their ‘Cinematic Universe’. With James Gunn (Super 2010) in the directors chair and adding to the writing team, he virtually had the success of Marvel Studios future on his shoulders when this film was released over the summer blockbuster season.
Human Peter Quill (Pratt) is scavenging out in the outer reaches of the galaxy when he mistakenly steals an orb that will make him the target of a villainous leader named Ronan (Pace). While imprisoned, Quill forms a team that can help him stop Ronan. Aliens; Gamora (Saldana) and Drax (Bautista), a small raccoon named Rocket (Cooper) and a talking tree named Groot (Diesel) will all team together to become the Guardians of the Galaxy.
I will start by saying the highly ambitious journey Marvel took into the untapped comic-book world was an astounding success. The film was able to create and capture a far reaching universe similar to “Star Wars” and with an endless trail of uniquely different characters both personality wise and visually, the result was intriguing from start-to-finish.
Throughout the two-hour run-time there was never a dull moment and always something for the eye to focus on. It’s a wildly colorful, adrenaline filled, and for the most part laughable adventure that does its best to give you a little bit of it all in regards to emotion. There is plenty of nail-biting action, a couple of dramatic moments that do a decent job of landing as well as some chuckles along the course of this script.
This was easily the most kid-friendly of the Marvel films, and yes many will say all comic-book films are aimed for kids but it was clear this one was aiming for a more wide-stretching audience in an attempt to garner more box-office earnings. But like Marvel is accustomed to, despite the younger target demographic this film was still enjoyable to all ages.
The inflated budget was easy to see here as well. The wardrobes, make-up and backdrops are all top-notch and they at times all drew your attention as I found myself staring off at the quality and vivid color of the film rather than pouring myself into the usual comic-book script jargon. Drax and Gamora’s paint and make-up were excellent as was that of Yondu, the character played by Michael Rooker. The characters of Groot and Rocket were so detailed you could easily forget they were simply CGI creations.
The cast was also very strong in this one. Chris Pratt was able to fill the shoes of a leading role and delivered a believable and simply likable character. Bautista and Saldana were also strong in their performances and together the group showed some awkward but enjoyable chemistry. Even stronger quite possibly was the side characters, Michael Rooker, Djimon Hounsou and John C. Reilly added to the enjoyment of the script with their performances in nicely placed doses to keep the pace moving.
I would have liked to have seen more of Glenn Close and Benicio Del Toro but their roles were minimal and fit well into the structure of the story-line. Toro’s character was given a mild amount of screen-time seemingly to continue building his character off the last cameo he had post-credits in “Thor: The Dark World”.
On the downside the plot to this film was rather weak for a Marvel Studios project. It was clear the main intention was to deliver the characters to the mainstream viewer to test the waters. It was easy to see the extra effort in the marketing of this films special-effects and all the visual appeal. The problem was it appeared to result in some lack of time spent working on a detailed plot. In the end it felt like a small snapshot of a story and I hope the sequel will weave a more intriguing story-line that fits into the Marvel Cinematic Universe more concisely.
Overall though this was a fun movie to watch and could be described as a true visual feast. The 3D texturing was great letting the action spill out into the room from the screen. While you may snooze through the generic antagonist and paper thin script it will still result in an entertaining movie night with the special-effects of today on full display helping you overlook the handful of cheesy moments and one-liners.