Guardians Of The Galaxy ***1/2


What can I say about what Marvel is up to these days when it comes to their cinematic universe? It has been impressive so far. To see a studio try to do something this fresh and execute it so well is kind of refreshing. Now comes “Guardians Of The Galaxy”, which introduces a new team to their shared vision. It features none of the major characters seen so far. The story takes place on the other side of the galaxy and will probably cross over in to the main story line in the future but for now it is a stand alone movie. I may need to see this a few more times but it might just be my favorite Marvel movie to date.

There is so much to love here. First of all I am a sucker for fantasy films that take place in space. “Star Wars” must of inspired a lot of this film. The only scenes that take place on earth are the first five minutes before the filmmakers leave it behind for a truly cosmic tale.

The story follows Starlord, aka, Peter Quill played by Chris Pratt. He is a lone gun who makes his living smuggling and salvaging artifacts off of baron planets. When the movie opens with Quill on the planet Morag, looking for a powerful orb. When he finds it he is confronted by minions of Ronan the Accuser who is looking for the same thing. When Quill tries to sell the orb on Xandar, he is then attacked by Gamora, a green alien played by Zoe Saldana.

Also joining the chase are Rocket Raccoon and Groot voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. Rocket is some sort of experiment resulting in an intelligent Raccoon. He is a wise cracking, gun toting, hilarious character. Groot is basically a living tree with a lot of neat surprises that pop up when the team is in danger.

Then there is Drax the Destroyer played by Dave Bautista. His motivation is to destroy Ronan for the death of his wife and children. Drax takes everything literally and is single minded.

The writer and director is Tim Gunn who really must of loved making every moment in this film as the characters, the action and the visual effects are all outstanding. The story always comes first though and it is a good one. These characters have all existed on the fringe and have come together to defeat an enemy that threatens the entire galaxy.

“Guardians Of The Galaxy” marks a moment when Marvel has decided to go cosmic. This was hinted at in last year’s “Thor: The Dark World”, which took place a lot on Asgard but had it’s big finale on Earth. Here we get to visit many amazing place that can only exist in the farthest reaches of space. Once such location is called Knowhere, which is a remote criminal outpost built inside the head of a long dead Celestial. The interiors are a mash up of different alien beings and their shops. It is a truly original set piece unlike anything we have seen before in a fantasy film. This is where they attempt to sell the orb to the Collector played by Benicio Del Tor, who reveals that the orb is one of the Infinity Stones.

Everything culminates with a massive dog fight over the city planet of Xandar. Ronan is bent on the planets destruction and only the aerial fleet of the Nova Corps lead by the Guardians can defeat them.

“Guardians Of The Galaxy” is a hell of an adventure from start to finish. It is a visual feast as well as a rush for the senses. But none of it would really work without great characters and an engaging story. As an entry in Marvel’s canon it is the best so far.


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