Friday, August 1, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy review

Guardians of the Galaxy is the best Marvel film yet.
Before I justify that, let me give you a little background. I've always deeply enjoyed all of the Marvel superhero fare (discounting the hit-or-miss Spider-man movies). Even their lesser movies are always fun and entertaining. Yet, in my mind, they never seem to truly go beyond one liners and explosions. What I mean by that is that the Marvel films always seem like they're kind of all doing the same thing. They're doing it very well, but most of the films are sort of the same in some way or another. Sure it's all fun, but after a while your Captain America: The Winter Soldier's and your Iron Man 3's start to blur together. That's why the newest Marvel tent pole, Guardians of the Galaxy, feels so refreshing. It's different than the usual Marvel stuff. I'm not saying it's groundbreaking cinema or anything (it's most certainly not) but it is a different kind of movie for Marvel, and that really is a good thing. Imagine Star Wars, Firefly, and Indiana Jones mixed together to a soundtrack of classic 70's pop songs and you'll more or less get this movie. But it's not just reheated 80's adventure films. It does draw inspiration from them, but it's wholly it's own film. Flawed? Of course! But not any more than your average Marvel flick. Guardians tells the story of Peter Quill (a very buff Chris Pratt). A kid from Earth who was kidnapped during his youth and is now a space bandit trying to make a living. Through a series of events involving a mysterious orb and some angry space dudes, Peter winds up in a space prison with a talking raccoon-thing named Rocket (Bradley Cooper), a giant tree with limited vocabulary (Vin Diesel), a very large alien with a death wish, and a murderess who's possibly the daughter of the main villain. Yeah, this movie is out there. But in a good way. Obviously Guardians isn't perfect. The villains are lacking to say the least. There's two main villains and I didn't care about them whatsoever throughout the entire film. Not that I cared, the rest of the movie was so fun I didn't even notice the villains. Some of the fight scenes are pretty poorly directed. It was fairly hard to even see what was going on and kinda took you out of the movie. And there were a few jokes here and there that didn't really land. Otherwise this movie knocks it out of the park. Chris Pratt is a great leading star with a perfect balance between jokey fun guy and commanding action hero. The rest of the cast is solid as well. I'm not very familiar with James Gunn as a writer/director. But I already love the guy. You can feel his presence here. Every song choice and dirty joke flourishes on the screen with an awesome effect not often present in the usual Marvel movies. Practically every moment made me smile and giggle. Next to The Grand Budapest Hotel, this is the funniest film of the year. Hell, I believe it's probably the best blockbuster film of the year. While most of the great films released this year have been more independent art-house movies (Boyhood, Grand Budapest, Under the Skin), I do feel the mainstream cinema has been especially strong. The action blockbusters have been excellent so far (Edge of Tomorrow, Snowpiercer). The superhero flicks have been unusually good (X-Men: DOFP, Captain America 2). Even the children's movies have been more than substantial (The Lego Movie). It really shouldn't be that surprising how great this movie is. It makes Dawn of the Planet of the Apes look like a boring cash-in flick. And I liked Dawn! Guardians is the kind of uber-fun and lighthearted space adventure this generation hasn't really had. This movie is 90% joy, 5% CGI, 4% dirty jokes, and 1% classic pop music. It's 100% good. This movie isn't just for over-excited kids like myself, there's a lot of winks and nods that the adults will enjoy too. It's the kind of film we haven't gotten in a while, and I'm incredibly grateful for it. So see it, hell, see it twice. I'm sure you'll want to. I give Guardians of the Galaxy 4.3 out of 5 stars. Happy Viewing everyone. You can follow me on Twitter @WhitsMovies and like me on Facebook at    


  1. Nice review, Whit. Can't really disagree with your assessment on the movie, though I still wouldn't call it the best Marvel movie yet. It was a good solid and fun film all throughout, though it doesn't necessarily have anything that propels it and makes it stand out as something especially GREAT. Still, though, I am Groot. :P

    1. Thanks Chris! I felt everything worked so well that it beat out the past Marvel flicks. But to each his own.

  2. Guardians has been described as Marvel's biggest to date, but it is still very much a typical Marvel movie. There are some witty lines, but the tendency to undercut dramatic moments with self-aware humour and knowing one-liners is overdone.
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