After two years of anticipation following San Diego Comic Con 2012 where Guardians of the Galaxy was announced, it is finally here. After a summer of lackluster blockbusters, this science fiction action farce is guaranteed to restore your faith in the season. Set in Marvel Studios’s newly carved movie universe there are definitely ties to the other films, most notably the appearance of Thanos and his terrifying alien army from The Avengers. Do not let the brand fool you though, Guardians of the Galaxy is not your standard comic book adaptation.
Director James Gunn has paved his own path in the universe while showing a great appreciation for past films of the genre. The sets, the costumes, and the visual style often pay homage to films like Serenity, Star Wars, and The Fifth Element, while the humor that Guardians is quickly becoming known for is undoubtedly inspired by the Indiana Jones movies. There is a lot of fun to be had with this film and even more laughs that will leave you wondering if you’re watching a Marvel movie or a Bill Murray comedy.
Chris Pratt plays Peter Quill, a space scavenger who prefers the title Star-Lord though his lack of notoriety has prevented the moniker from taking hold. Fans of the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation will see the familiar lovable goofball nature Pratt is known for but will be surprised by a sharper wit and a certain edginess that he dishes out in his portrayal of Peter Quill. Having been abducted by aliens as a young boy on the night of his mother’s death, Peter flies around the galaxy stealing artifacts from deserted planets while listening to the “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” tape he keeps in his anachronistic Walkman. The Walkman is the most notable plot device in the film often making the collection of 70s and 80s pop hits the soundtrack not only to Peter’s adventures but to the film as a whole. The beginning of the film shows Peter dancing to Redbone’s Come and Get Your Love as he steals an orb from a cave on an abandoned planet. This orb turns out to have a higher bounty than Peter’s head. When he brings the orb to his buyer fate brings him together with the rest of the cast.
The ensemble cast is rounded out by Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista. Cooper and Diesel voice the thug bounty hunters Rocket and Groot. Rocket is a biologically engineered raccoon with identity issues who loves big guns and bigger bombs. Bradley Cooper’s voice acting is astounding, his voice becoming Rocket’s with almost no hint of the original showing through. Groot is a mysterious tree being and Rocket’s muscle. Vin Diesel is Groot and that’s all you will hear from him although the character shows remarkable depth often playing on Rocket’s heartstrings. Zoe Saldana plays Gamora, the biologically engineered daughter of Thanos who is as conflicted with her past as she is deadly. Saldana never disappoints and plays the role with the jagged grace she has become known for. Bautista, a professional wrestler with the WWE, is surprisingly good in his role as Drax the Destroyer. Drax is a warrior who seeks revenge for the loss of his family to Ronan, the film’s antagonist who’s back story and motives are the only hazy part of the plot.
With a cast of unrecognizable characters that really pull you in and a director who shows he knows the science fiction genre like the back of his hand, Guardians of the Galaxy should go down as the quintessential science fiction adventure of recent years. It is outrageously funny, incredibly tight, and visually mind blowing. A must see for all ages.