Spoiler free! Despite pushing Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Avengers into the main stream, Guardians of the Galaxy was Marvel Studios biggest gamble to date. Aside from introducing a completely new cast of characters, including a talking raccoon and giant tree, this featured none of the mainstays established in any previous films. Guardians unabashedly succeeds on every level. This tells a well rounded story that’s not only funny and compelling, but gives each character equal time, allowing the audience to fall in love with all five. There are no more gambles for Marvel to take, they have officially earned carte blanch.
After a tearful cold open, writer and director James Gunn quickly shows exactly what Guardians is, with Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) dancing on screen to old 1970’s music. It was perfect. The cast was introduced via one of the smartest exposition scenes yet, the line up, as seen in the trailer, though slightly modified in the film. After all, these were characters that even a well informed comic fan would be hard pressed to name. Now, every child knows Rocket, guaranteed.
Despite the solid script, the movie could have failed if poorly cast, or if the group lacked chemistry. Pratt was perfect as the roguish Quill, striking the delicate balance between adventurer and swindler. There was no question that Zoe Saldana would be at home here, given sci-fi pedigree (Avatar and Star Trek). The rest of the cast had plenty to prove though. Dave Batista was worry some, only because most pro-wrestlers can’t act, save for the Rock. Fear not, Batista was flawless as Drax the Destroyer. The role nearly went to Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones). Thankfully, it didn’t.
The two biggest questions were the CG characters, Rocket and Groot, a talking raccoon and giant tree creature. The latter only capable of only saying “I am Groot.” While the rest of the team was astounding, these two shined. I believed they were real, thanks in no small part to their voice actors. Bradley Cooper, a divisive choice to say the least, brought his typical brand of sarcasm to Rocket, stealing the show. Rocket didn’t shutup for the entire movie, and I didn’t want him to. Anyone who’s seen The Iron Giant knew Vin Diesel was perfect for Groot. Much like Giant, Diesel was given a “Superman” type line that was just as tearful. Despite his limited “vocabulistics”, Groot was just as funny as the rest. If Marvel made a three hour movie of Groot and Rocket flying a ship and talking for three hours, I’d be there day one.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a perfect movie. Marvel completely surpassed every expectation. Like The Avengers before them, Guardians is now a household name, and it’s easy to see why. A lovable cast, amazing soundtrack, well told story, and instantly quotable lines, this has it all. Honestly, now I hope Marvel becomes drunk with power, reaching as deep into their catalog as they can. Squirrel Girl the movie? After this, I’d be there day one.
Who’s your favorite Guardian? What’s your favorite line? Comment below!
“Just like Kevin Bacon.”