Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Yeah, those “other” Marvel heroes are just a bunch of pricks anyway.

After he sees his own, cancer-riddled mother die in front of his own very eyes, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is mysteriously captured by a spaceship. 26 years later, an older Quill, now sporting the name “Star-Lord” and dancing around to vintage pop-tunes on his Walkman, discovers a strange crystal ball that is apparently very dangerous and serious, considering it triggers off a group of evil people to come after him. So much so, that when he eventually gets into town and sell the thing for whatever money he can get, he ends up getting in a brawl with a woman by the name of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), as well as a giant tree named Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), and a talking raccoon they call Rocket (Bradley Cooper). The stunt eventually lands the foursome in prison, where they meet all sorts of trouble and unlikely pals, especially in the form of Drax (Dave Bautista); but what they end up finding out is that the artifact they were all fighting over, is being sought out after by a very powerful, very evil Kree radical named Ronan (Lee Pace) and his noble band of trustees. Together, the five decide to put away their differences for the time being and do all that they can to save the galaxy, one David Bowie track at a time.

Going into this flick, I wasn’t expecting much. Honestly, that moreso has to do with the fact that every Marvel movie since the Avengers, has either been ranging from “mediocre”, to “hey, it’s fine and it’s fun, so what’s the harm, yo?”, and also the fact that it seems like, especially after this whole Ant-Man debacle, that Marvel is becoming more of a lackey-boy for the ultra, super, duper, powerful kingpins that are Disney and their ways of making people do what they want, when they want, and how they want.

“Don’t offend the kiddies!”, Disney may say. Or, something that seems to be more common, “Please do make sure that it ties-in with the AGENTS of S.H.I.E.L.D.! And by ‘please’, we really mean, ‘do it, or else we’re going to fire your ass and find somebody else who is willing to take orders and be happy with it!'”. And though some of this may seem overly-dramatized by yours truly, there’s something in me that feels like Marvel is just starting to become more and more like what others want them to be, rather than what they want to be, which, at first with Iron Man, seemed to be: A kick-ass, fun-as-hell, hilarious and exciting superhero movie that you could take the whole family too; as well as grand-mom and grand-pop if you got stuck with them over the holidays.

That's the thingy they need to find. That's all you need to know.
That’s the thingy they need to find. That’s all you need to know.

But that’s where James Gunn comes in and absolutely gives a big, old, flying “FUCKA YOU!” to Disney and Friends, and shows them that if it’s his movie, it’s going to be his rules and his ways of having fun. Which, for the most part, means we get a whole bunch of strange, slightly off-kilter gags and pop-culture references including Kevin Bacon; metaphors that aren’t metaphors; Jackson Pollack; the art of dancing; and, best of all, calling a raccoon, everything else that isn’t a raccoon. If that sounds very strange to you, then yes, you are at least somewhat sane. And if that sounds especially strange to you being that it’s all packed into a Marvel movie, then yes, you are even more sane and, would you like a cookie?

What I’m trying to get across here is that Gunn’s humor is a weird one and although some of it’s a bit tamer now so that the PG-13 can sit and stay with the movie, it’s still hilarious and nearly perfect for this world that he’s created. That this other “realm” (for lack of a better word without saying “galaxy”), is a wide, never ending and seemingly bizarre matter of space that seems to have a bucket of surprises waiting at every corner, shows Gunn is able to not only build on his characters and the action-sequences, but also this world that he’s created. Which, yes, for a Marvel movie, is very strange, yet, totally works.

Most of that has to do with the fact that each and every character we get here is likable, fun, vibrant and exciting in their own measly, little ways, but most of that also has to do with the fact that Gunn is the kind of writer and director that has a sense of humor that can work for practically anyone. Okay, maybe if you check out his first two movies (Slither and Super, which I definitely recommend), don’t necessarily back me up on that statement, but taking away all of those and just leaving this here movie as his one and only true example, then I’d have to say it’s a pretty impressive one.

Gunn’s funny, he knows he’s funny and he’s going to let us know about it every step of the way. However, whereas most of the other Marvel movies wink their eyebrows so much so that it seems like they’re going to have to be surgically put back into place by the end of its two-hour run-time, GOTG (short for the title, if you’re nitwit) is a different beast: It’s a funny movie, yet, doesn’t try to make you laugh in a charming way. It’s just weird and since it soaks up the sun and basks in its own weirdness, it’s hilarious to watch and listen to, as well as have an awfully fun time with.

Because, yeah, guess what??!?! Guardians of the Galaxy is a damn fun movie!

See, because while I’ve been going on and on so aimlessly about this movie’s humor and how effective it actually is, there’s an element to this movie that works, and can probably be shared among the rest of the Marvel crowd: It’s a fine action movie, if you want to look at it like that. There are hand-to-hand fights; spaceships flying throughout the sky and shooting each other; sword-duels; girls beating the crap out of each other; girls beating the crap out of the opposite-sex; raccoons shooting big-ass guns; walking, talking trees causing havoc; and etc. The only thing that’s missing was the only known wrestler in this movie giving somebody a Batista Bomb, but that’s for another movie, I guess.

And since I just mentioned a certain character in this movie, I think it’s best to now use that as a segue into my next part of the review which, unsurprisingly, also happens to be about the best element to making this movie work as well as it does: The characters and the actors that portray them. Because Gunn’s movie/script is a rather odd one, not only does he need a cast that has a comedic-bone anywhere located in their body – he needs a cast is absolutely able and willing to go that extra mile into trusting that his every move, is not only a benefit to them, but a benefit to how this whole movie plays out. “Well obviously, Dan. You no-sense-piece-of-shit”, you might retort back to me, but I have a reasoning for saying this.

Take the idea of a-list stars such as Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel doing voice-work here – not only are they big names that people flock out to the movie theaters to see – but you’d expect them to do more than what they’re given. In the case of Cooper, he voices Rocket as Brooklyn gangster, where it’s sometimes too hard to even recognize he’s doing the voice-work in the first place; as in the case of Diesel, all the dude has to do is say “I Am Groot” over and over again, and, occasionally, yell, scream and holler with that low-pitched bass we know he can do so well. Sounds crazy enough? Well, yeah, but that’s sort of the point. Also not to mention that Cooper and Diesel, with what they have to do, do it so amazingly well that I wonder just how the heck Gunn thought of them two in the first place. And even if he didn’t, then kudos to the casting-department on this decision!

Oh, and that he's the villain, too!
Oh, and that he’s the villain, too!

But an even bigger kudos should be given to them for giving Chris Pratt the star-making role the dude deserves, this time, as one Peter Quill. Or, as some of you may, or may not know him as, “Star-Lord” (and yes, that’s it’s own, whole joke, too). Pratt’s been a lovable presence on the screen for quite some time; rather it be the large one, or the small one, the dude’s shown us time and time again, he has the chops to not only give us a cool-as-hell character, that has a winning-personality. Here, Pratt’s able to utilize the warm, lovely charm he oozes so well on Parks and Rec., but is also able to use some leading-man prowess we have yet to see him do, yet still shows he’s capable of actually having it in the first place.

But he’s not a pansy of a character. He’s a bad-ass dude that knows how to get himself out of situations, even while he doesn’t always think them perfectly through. Same goes for Zoe Saldana as Gamora; not only does she get to be an ass-kicking lady with a mouth on her, she doesn’t let that be her only trait and has a personality that goes almost hand-in-hand with Quills’. And though people were initially rioting over the casting-decision of having Dave Bautista play Drax, needless to say, the dude’s great in it as he shows everybody he can definitely act, be funny and best of all, remind everybody why he was in the profession that he initially chose in the first place.

Altogether though, this movie mostly works because these characters, in their own, little, unique worlds, wouldn’t ever seem like they do fine together. That’s sort of the point, however, Gunn allows them to work off of one another and it’s probably the most fun-part of this whole movie. Sure, you can give me as many mind-numingly loud and outrageous scenes of stuff exploding, while other stuff is exploding elsewhere, and I’ll crack a grin or two. But if you can give me characters that I want to get know better, spend more time with, and just never leave the presence of, then you can count me in, take my money, sleep in my bed, bang my wife, whatever. As long as you can give me that, then I’m all fine and dandy.

And to have that spliced together with the best Marvel movie since the Avengers is, well, exactly all I could ever ask for and ever want.

More Batista Bombs next time, though. Please.

Consensus: Hilarious, exciting, and well-written, Guardians of the Galaxy is a downright good time that features some top-tier performances from a cast you’d be surprised works so incredibly well in the first place, yet, in the world of James Gunn, anything seems possible.

9 / 10 = Full Price!!

The best line-up in a "line-up" scene since the Usual Suspects, and it's not even in the actual movie!
The best line-up in a “line-up scene” since the Usual Suspects, and it’s not even in the actual movie!

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz


  1. I don’t like most superhero movies, but this kind of looks interesting. Great review, Dan.

  2. Great review and I completely agree.

    I was impressed by the cast the most. They were all just so damn good.

    What a treat of a film and a fun time at the theaters. Great review again, Dan. I should have mine up tomorrow.

  3. Solid review Dan! The thing I was most worried about was the actors asides from Pratt, however they all proved me wrong in their own ways. I was loving Star Lord & Rocket

  4. Can’t say I was as big a fan as you were, Dan! I found it pretty formulaic, lacking in plot, lackluster motives, but just enough witty banter to keep it up to scratch. The MCU needs some serious work, though, in my opinion. It’s getting tiresome watching nearly the exact same movie over and over. GotG was a breath of slightly fresher but still slightly stale air.

    • It made me happy to know that Marvel was at least willing to let some things slide for entertainment-purposes. Cause lately, well, they’ve just been doing the same thing. I’m glad that we could see eye-to-eye on something. Thanks, man!

  5. Awesome man, I’ve been very curious how this will work out. As I’m sure the rest of the galaxy is. By the sounds of it, there was no reason to fear! I mostly want to see how they handle Rocket the Raccoon. Brad Cooper better deliver!!!! 😀 😀

    Great review

  6. I loved the movie as well. To me, it’s probably Marvel’s 3rd or 2nd best film behind Iron Man and Winter Soldier. It’s better than The Avengers for me.

  7. Saw it today and woah.. loved it. I mean, I’m Marvel girl at heart.. I’d even go as far to say Thor wasn’t that bad just to justify my love for Marvel. Have I read the comic books? No! Am I open to the idea to reading them.. yes.

    Anyway, I loved this one and partly because Chris Pratt and his lovable persona. Also, the wrestler dude, pretty cool to be honest. I mean.. the humor was there, the attitude.. I was impressed. But…. just to say something bad.. I wasn’t a fan of the 3D. Is it me or is it me but 3D just doesn’t work for me at all and it seems such a waste to pay more to see almost no effects at all.. god darn it.

  8. Awesome review, man, I really couldn’t agree with you more. I loved basically everything about this one, and really hope it kills it at the box office (which I think it’s safe to say that it will) so that Marvel keeps on making crazy movies like it. Keep up the great work! 😀

  9. Nice Review Dan. This one surprised me quite a bit. I’m so glad Marvel changed up the formula a bit for Guardians. It felt fresh as a result. For me, thus far, The Blockbuster of the Summer.

  10. It just goes to show you don’t need a high profile property to put out a great film. I knew nothing about this going in and walked out loving it. Great review.

  11. I was surprised too when they picked James Gunn, mostly because he’s a weird choice. He makes weird culty movies but you’re right, he’s funny.

  12. Nice review Dan. Glad you like Guardians as much as me. Although, I can’t fully agree with your whole Marvel debacle. I really like Captain America 2. Like, love it. And I thought it was fantastic that it tied into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It made great TV and it did something fairly new for TV- it tied it into an ongoing movie franchise.

  13. Nicely done, Dan. You’re right. It was a damn awesome movie. Forget Dave not unleashing his goddamn superb move unlike the Rock who sometimes uses that Rock Bottom or chokeslam or plain clothesline (or whatever). I remember in an interview with some kind of internet sensation Bogart the Explorer, Dave did not really intend to act a Batistsa bomb on this movie. That can help increase some flavor. But nevertheless, his acting remains good.

    By the way, thanks for commenting on my post regarding this subject, too! I appreciate it.

  14. Nicely done, Dan. You’re right. It was a damn awesome movie. Forget Dave not unleashing his goddamn superb move unlike the Rock who sometimes uses that Rock Bottom or chokeslam or plain clothesline (or whatever). I remember in an interview with some kind of internet sensation Bogart the Explorer, Dave did not really intend to act a Batistsa bomb on this movie. That can help increase some flavor. But nevertheless, his acting remains good.

    By the way, thanks for commenting on my post regarding this subject, too! I appreciate it.

  15. Great review Dan. I would argue that since Marvel is now linked up with Disney they have more money and power to take big risks. I think Guardians of the Galaxy is a huge gamble for them because they used someone like James Gunn with an offbeat sense of humor and made a movie about characters most moviegoers aren’t familiar with. Thankfully it was a gamble that paid off. The soundtrack for the film is great, all of the actors turn in fantastic performances, and the chemistry between the leads is phenomenal. I would have liked to see more background/development of the film’s villains, but that’s really my only area of critique.

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