Movie Review – Marvel takes over the cosmos in Guardians of the Galaxy

     We’re all fans of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, the world of interconnected superhero films that culminated in the big budget ensemble movie The Avengers to end their first phase. Now fully into Phase Two, preparing to reunite Earth’s Mightiest Heroes next summer, Marvel Studios took another chance and introducing a new team to their devoted fans. A team of unpredictable and unconventional individuals who are tasked to save the galaxy and try not to kill each other in the process.

    
     The film starts on Earth in 1988, where we see young Peter Quill get hoovered up into a spaceship when he was eight years old. Twenty-six years later, Quill (Chris Pratt) is a cocky earthling “Indiana Jones”-type of fortune hunter, armed with space weapons, a Walkman with classic rock, and a wandering eye for extraterrestrial babes. All in all, he represents a fun, updated version of Han Solo, played with wily mischief and charm by Chris Pratt.

     During a botched plan to sell his most recent score, he is arrested and sent to a galactic prison along with the green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the insane grumbler Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista, whose physique from years of wrestling made him physically ready for the role), the foul-mouthed and hilarious Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and the walking tree Groot (voiced by the deep, foghorn voice of Vin Diesel, only repeating the line “I am Groot”).

     I won’t go too much into the plot because I feel like I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. It reads the same as other action-adventure superhero films where everyone good and evil is in search of a mysterious MacGuffin – the mysterious orb that was shown during the preview that Quill was in search of that is later shown to have the power to destroy worlds. The villain Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) is looking to obtain the orb for the destructive power it holds. It is similar to The Avengers and their fight for the Tesseract.
    
     Unlike the seriousness of previous MCU films like Thor and the 1940’s retro feel of Captain America: The First Avenger, Quill and his rag-tag band of pranksters bring a blast of comic relief and hilariousness to the threat that Ronan brings to the galaxy. A lot of credit goes to Pratt due to his previous experience on TV’s Parks and Recreation, where he mostly played a supportive role. This film graduates him up to the status of leading man. After watching this movie, it’s been long overdue. Cooper also delivered another wise-cracking, side-splitting performance as the genetically altered raccoon. He was like a Looney Toon armed with a machine gun.

     Together, this team of exiles become unexpected heroes. I better related to Gamora’s opinion of the team as “the biggest idiots of the galaxy.” During the time, you wonder if they will be able to put their separate selfish desires to the side and embrace the responsibility that showed up on their doorstep. Director James Gunn did a great job with his first big budget film and Marvel shows with this movie that despite their success, they are still willing to take risks. If the universe started with this film, I don’t think the MCU would be where it is now. The proper foundation of The Avengers helped this film stand on strong legs. I haven’t been too mixed about the Marvel films but this is the first one that was one of the more unpredictable and exciting of the universe.

     I hope everyone goes on the journey with the Guardians and rocks along with the soundtrack that accompanies the film, flowing with the rhythm of classic rock.

     In case you were curious about the soundtrack, here is the playlist for the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix, Vol. 1.

     1. “Hooked on a Feeling” – Blue Swede
     2. “Go All The Way” – The Raspberries
     3. “Spirit In The Sky” – Norman Greenbaum
     4. “Moonage Daydream” -David Bowie
     5. “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” – Elvin Bishop
     6. “I’m Not In Love” – 10cc
     7. “I Want You Back” – The Jackson 5
     8. “Come and Get Your Love” – Redbone
     9. “Cherry Bomb” – The Runaways
    10. “Escape (The Pina Colada Song) – Rupert Holmes
    11. “O-O-H Child” – The Five Stairsteps
    12. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

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