Sunday, August 10, 2014

Theatrical Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Date: August 10, 2014
Location: Pocono Movieplex
Time: 2:05 pm

Party: 2 (my mom & I)


Star-Lord- Chris Pratt
Gamora- Zoe Saldana
Drax- Dave Baustisa
Groot- Vin Diesel
Rocket- Bradley Cooper
Yondu- Michael Rooker
Ronan- Lee Pace
Nebula- Karen Gillan
Korath- Djimon Honsou
Nova Prime- Glenn Close
Corpsmen Dey- John C. Reilly
The Collector- Benicio Del Toro
Thanos- Josh Brolin
Duration: 121 minutes (+  trailers)


Saw another trailer for this animated movie I can never remember the name of: "Big Hero 6"
Don't really see myself seeing it, even though it was mentioned somewhere in trailer it might be Marvel-related. But I enjoyed myself because they played "My Songs Know what you did in the dark"... pretty much the only Fall Out Boy song I'd ever enjoyed.

Then we had the heavy hitters:

Mockingjay-part 1
and the final Hobbit film

Sometime during these, my mom made a comment she should have brought ear plugs. It was pretty loud in the theater during this movie. I noticed at one point that we were sitting in a row with a speaker close by.


We were among roughly 20 people in the theater. In front of us were a dad and two boys and everyone else was either my age or older. But it was a good theatrical experience that everyone got into. There were plenty of laughs to be had throughout this.

One of two things it has in common with "Avengers."
The other thing is, obviously, the idea of having several different personalities coming together to accomplish a common goal.

We begin in 1988 with Peter Quill's backstory. He's a young boy listening to his tape player while waiting in the hospital lobby. His mom dies of cancer and shortly afterwards, he gets abducted by aliens.
Fast-forward 26 years later... yeah, this movie takes place in 2014 but in another corner of the galaxy.
During the opening credits, we are treated to Quill getting his groove on to a song off his mix tape. Something that really helped me get a feel for the type of movie we were expecting because the whole 'mom dying' thing put a damper on things early on.

Little by little we're introduced to our characters.

Peter Quill aka "Starlord" is stealing this orb for the guy who had "abducted" him all those years ago and later changes his mind.
Gamora is the "adopted" daughter of Thanos, the much-hyped super villain we saw at the end of "Avengers" and will fight in "Avengers 3," and also after this orb.
Rocket the genetically engineered raccoon travels along with his heavy/bodyguard/tree creature Groot and they're bounty hunters.

All of these characters come together at the planet Xander, which reminded me a lot of The Capitol from The Hunger Games with maybe a touch of Naboo from "The Phantom Menace." Quill and Gamora fight for possession of the orb while Rocket and Groot want to capture Quill for a massive bounty. This public scuffle lands them all in prison where they face hardships and meet their final member, Grax, who has a score to settle with the main villain of the picture, Ronan.

One way or another, they break out of prison and decided to take this orb to "The Collector" to split the money they'd receive in return. Those who stayed around for the credits of "Thor: The Dark World" met this character. I found him extremely fascinating then, but now... I was a little disappointed. He didn't grab me to that same degree.

We find out during this scene, before things go terribly wrong, that the orb contain an Infinity Stone, which is capable of massive destruction and loss of life. Obviously, this is not something you want to see end up in the wrong hands and shortly before the epic battle scene at the end, that's exactly what happens.

As far as it being part of the Marvel universe goes, it's definitely one of my favorites. It catered to my tastes way more than the recent "Captain America." In the overall scheme of things, I'd say it's on a tier just below "Iron-Man," "Avengers" and the first "Captain America".. not excellent, but REALLY well done.

In a nutshell, it's a fun, action-packed comedic space movie with good balance of all those things.

I first "met" Chris Patt in the Lego movie earlier this year and again, he was great here as the everyman who finds himself with a greater purpose thrust upon. Only this time, he has help.

Zoe Saldana seems to have a thing for playing different colored alien butt-kickers and Gamora is no exception. Despite her reputation as daughter of Thanos, she actually has a vendetta against him, seeing as he took her in after killing her parents and torturing her. And compared to the other members of the "Guardians," she's the straight-woman. Everyone else having their comic relief moments.

Quill inserting random 80's references in his dialogue, which includes his stating Gamora has a case of "Footloose" because she says that she doesn't dance.

Drax is rough around the edges, but has moments of unintentional comedy because his race always takes things literally.
Rocket packs a lot of firepower and part of that is his attitude. Early into the promotion of this film, I figured he'd be my favorite character. It's hard to agree with Bradley Cooper doing a killer voiceover.

But then, I didn't count on Groot stealing the show. This tree creature only says "I am Groot" several times throughout as his only bit of dialogue, but he's a remarkably complex character. He doesn't just have a great heart, but he has so many hidden abilities beyond your imagination. Adored him.

I have my anxieties about the next Avengers movie, whether or not there'd be a heroic body count... oddly enough, I was perfectly fine throughout this movie despite how many near-death experiences the "Guardians" have had. Maybe it's because I'd only just met them and haven't grown attached as of yet... or I knew everything was going to work out perfectly fine.

Ronan was a strong villain that was difficult to defeat, but when the defeat comes, the payoff was pretty huge. At the same time, though, to me it felt like it was a little unbelievable. This is made easier when they make the discovery that Starlord's father might not be human (the answer to that question is exactly what sequels are for and obviously "Guardians" will get one).

One thing that stood out to my mom and I was the killer soundtrack. We had songs like "Hooked on a feeling" and "I want you back" as well as a couple others we didn't know, but all kinds of random songs were thrown in as if they were part of the commentary. However, I'd need to see this movie a couple more times to be sure on that.

"Star Wars" fans and Trekkies can argue that this is the Marvel universe's version of their folklores. For me, the trailers reminded me of some of the first animé series we watched at my college's club: "Outlaw Star" (which is about space pirates) and "Trigun" (Quill/Starlord reminded me a bit of that series' protagonist Vash the Stampede, only less lethal).

The mythology of "Guardians" takes a little while to process, but once you get past the first 15 minutes, the rest is a breeze. The only other negative is the action scenes, which can be a little chaotic and hard to follow at times. That's the main reason I didn't want to see this in 3D (the experience of "Thor" was hampered by this through the course of the fight scenes).

Grade: A-

1 comment:

Dan O. said...

Good review Jackie. Had a wonderful time with this. Actually, probably the most fun I've had with a Marvel movie since the Avengers. Which, yes, is totally saying something.