Martens' Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews from an avid movie-goer

Guardians of the Galaxy Review

Released: August 1, 2014
Running Time: 2 hours 1 minute

“Brash space adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the quarry of relentless bounty hunters after he steals an orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain. To evade Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with four disparate misfits: gun-toting Rocket Raccoon, treelike-humanoid Groot, enigmatic Gamora, and vengeance-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when he discovers the orb’s true power and the cosmic threat it poses, Quill must rally his ragtag group to save the galaxy.”

Marvel Cinematic Universe MCU

Marvel Cinematic Universe – Source – Marvel Studios

You can find all of the reviews for the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the link here. At that link, you can also find the dates that the other reviews for the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be posted. My plan is to release one every single day, and because I’ve already reviewed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 here, and Spider – Man: Homecoming here, they will not be included in the two weeks leading up to Thor Ragnarok.

As such, I will now move onto the actual review of the film, and I hope you enjoy!

Guardians of the Galaxy Trailer – Source: Marvel Studios


 

Cast and Crew

This film was directed by James Gunn, who also wrote the film along with Nicole Perlman. Guardians of the Galaxy was Perlman’s first writing credit in Hollywood, and has since worked on the 2017 short film ‘Raising a Rukus’, and was recently announced as one of the writers for 2019’s MCU film ‘Captain Marvel’.

James Gunn’s work as a director includes the 2006 film ‘Slither’ and 2010’s ‘Super’. He has since worked on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, as well as the sequel to that film which was announced shortly before the release of Vol. 2. His work as a writer includes 2002’s ‘Scooby-Doo’, 2004’s ‘Dawn of the Dead’ and ‘Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed’, ‘Slither’ and ‘Super’ as well.

Guardians of the Galaxy

From Left to Right: Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Chris Pratt as Peter Quill / Starlord, Bradley Cooper as the voice for Rocket, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot – Source: Marvel Studios

The cast featured Chris PrattZoe SaldanaDave BautistaVin DieselBradley CooperLee PaceMichael RookerKaren GillanDjimon HounsouJohn C. ReillyGlenn CloseBenicio Del ToroLaura HaddockSean GunnPeter SerafinowiczChristopher FairbankNathan FillionAlexis DenisofOphelia LovibondJosh BrolinSeth Green and Stan Lee.

Review

Guardians of the Galaxy is by far the funniest movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For me the comedic aspect of the MCU is what separates it from the other comic book films, and you always know that you will end up laughing at one point during the film. This movie was a surprise hit for Marvel, but the quality and reputation of their films have been so high since Iron Man, that people were ready to go and watch a movie that includes a green alien, a retired WWE wrestler try to be an actor, a talking raccoon and a talking, walking tree.

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Peter Jason Quill, a.k.a Starlord, after being abandoned outside his mother’s hospital room by his shitty grandfather after she passed away, young peter gets abducted by aliens and goes on to lead a life of fun and adventure. This man, still a kid from the 80s at heart, learns to be a leader of sorts for this ragtag group of criminals in order to save the galaxy, and to top it all off, he was portrayed by the funny fat guy from ‘Parks and Recreation’. Chris Pratt did a magnificent job at being Quill, from the very first dance number on Morag, to the dance off against Ronan the Accuser. He captured the roguish personality of the character that the MCU adapted from the comic book character, and while I wish we would have had a more serious version of Quill, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this version.

Saldana can now add green alien to her resume, after playing a blue on in ‘Avatar’, Gamora’s family was killed by Thanos, and he chose to take her on as an adoptive child, but not in a loving and caring way, but more in a brutal turn you into a killing machine way. I really enjoyed the chemistry that she had with Pratt, and I truly enjoyed that while they hinted at a possible love connection, they always back off from it, either with Gamora not falling for Quill’s pelvic sorcery or Quill thinking it would be heroic on his part to save her, not mentioning the emotional connotations.

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The character of Groot is a lovable little kid stuck in tree form. I feel that adding the voice talent of Vin Diesel didn’t really add anything to the character, but was more of a fun thing to have someone famous to do press tours with. Diesel did a good job at saying 5 different words throughout the movie with different inflections and tones to make you sort of know what he was saying, while also entertaining you.

The character of Rocket was played by Sean Gunn on set, and had Bradley Cooper voice him, which as I mentioned with Groot, was nice to add talent to the film, but didn’t add anything in terms of character. I feel like they could’ve used anyone to voice Rocket, but I’m pleased with what we got out of Cooper, and Rocket and Groot were some of the best character moments of the film.

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Casting Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer is something that could have been very very bad for the movie, but it just magically worked. They powered him way down as a character to make the film more entertaining, but I still wish we got to see the real Drax in the films. Dave Bautista’s comedic timing and deadpan delivery was the standout performance of this film, and quickly became people’s favourite character after baby groot at the end.

Yondu Udonta is another character that they changed from the comics, and that’s by not giving him a bow, thinking that people would just associate him with being an alien version of Hawkeye, and I get that, making him use a sort of bolt/ arrow, and whistling it into action worked really well, but also made him extremely overpowered. Michael Rooker did a good job in his portrayal, and I was happy that we got to see his character one last time in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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Del Toro reprising his role as Taneleer Tivan after a short cameo during the post credit sequence in Thor: The Dark World was fun and entertaining to watch. His scene in the film was mostly exposition to announce to the audience that Infinity War would soon be happening, while also explaining to everyone what they were, and the immense power that they hold.

Karen Gillan as Nebula was really robotic in her portrayal, and I think it was done on purpose, however she was barely used in this film, and got more character development in the second film. She was used as a foil to Gamora, and a sarcastic and attention seeking ‘teen’ in front of Ronan. She hates Thanos as much as anyone, and hopefully we get to see her return in Infinity War.

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Lee Pace did a good job with the very little he was given in terms of character background of development in the script, and none of the problems that I have with the character falls on the actor. My major problem with Ronan the Accuser is that he’s extremely forgettable, and lost the final battle because he got distracted by a Terran dancing in front of him. I feel like it was slightly wasted, but the movie is focused mostly on introducing the Guardians, rather than give them a compelling villain, and that was a problem for me, not a big one, but still there, which stops this movie from getting a higher score.

Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been slowly exposed to the audience and it’s been building a lot of hype, while also making being impatient in wondering when we’re actually going to see him do something, and that time is nearly over, with him finally bringing the fight to the Avengers, and courting Death in Avengers: Infinity War which is coming to theatres in 2019. Brolin did a good job with the very little that he had, and I can’t wait to see more.

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Seeing the Nova Corps on Xandar was a fun little nod to comic book fans, and I loved all the scenes where they showed up, especially John C. Reilly’s character getting the ‘dick message’ from Quill and explaining that to his boss, Nova Prime (Gwen Close). I still really really hope that we get to see Nova one day, and until that day, I will sad.

The useless army that Ronan employs consists of Sakaarans, who you might be linking them with the world that Thor: Ragnarok will be taking place on, Sakaar, and you would be right in doing so. I do not know if we will see them in that movie, but they are indeed the insectoid race from that planet. They would often be used in the Kree military as cannon fodder, as from what we’ve seen in this film, they are about as useful as the Chitauri, as is the only other problem that I had with this movie, was that the villains were not given the time to properly develop. I totally understand the reasoning behind that, as they had to introduce the Guardians, inform the people of the purpose of the Infinity Stones, show more of Thanos, as well as have a villain that would pose enough of a threat to unite the heroes.

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The visual effects in this movie was mind blowing, easily the most beautiful since the first Thor film. The fact that they managed to make Rocket and Groot feel real, and possible is something that I am still amazed at to this day. They should be commended for that, and they were, when they were nominated for best visual effects at the Academy Awards (Oscars).

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The music score that Tyler Bates put together for this film is often forgotten due to the amazing soundtrack that it produced, with the song choice coming partly from James Gunn, but it’s still a great score to listen to, filled with heroic, alien, wonder, and fun themes throughout the score.

The musical soundtrack for this movie was by far the best soundtrack that became a character in and of itself in this film. The only movie that I can think of that did a better job at integrating a soundtrack into their film was ‘Baby Driver’. Whenever people hear the opening of hooked on a feeling, they instantly think of this film (if they have seen it), or they think of the amazingly horrible music video that David Hasselhoff did of that song (you should look that up, it’s so bad that it’s hilarious).

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The fact that Peter Quill thought that the best way to distract the villain with the magic stone of absolute doom was by challenging him to a dance off, was something so unexpected and absolutely hilarious that it was one of the best moments in the film. I later found out while watching the special features at home, that the gag reel includes a version where Lee Pace (Ronan) accepted that challenge and they actually had a mini dance off. You can find that clip just below this paragraph. Enjoy!

The final battle between the Guardians and Ronan felt a little sad in comparison to the rest of the movie, while still be an epically gorgeous scene. They foreshadowed earlier in the film that there were beings that had tried to share the power of the Power Stone between each other for a short period of time, but they only lasted a little while before being obliterated. After that was shown, I knew that that was how the film was going to end, there would be some heroic moment when they would all hold hands and with the power of friendship, vanquish their foe. I was pretty close with that analogy, except it wasn’t friendship, they’re the Guardians of the Galaxy, Bitch!. I also approve of the literal trolling done by Quill on Yondu, and that Yondu approved of that fake out.

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There’s one thing that I was still trying to figure out, and that is, who is protecting the Stone on Xandar? Didn’t their entire fleet get demolished by Ronan at the end of the film? That seems like either foreshadowing, or a simple overlooked mistake.

The Guardians of the Galaxy

The Guardians (minus Groot) holding the Power Stone – Source: Marvel Studios

The Infinity Stones in this Marvel Cinematic Universe is finally ‘confirmed’, and explained in this film. I will now list the stones, and where they are at the present time.

  • Mind Stone (Yellow) shows up in Marvel’s The Avengers in Loki’s staff, and later in Avengers: Age of Ultron, where it is placed on the forehead of Vision.
  • Space Stone (Blue) showed up in Captain America: The First Avenger, post credit scene of Thor, and also in Marvel’s the Avengers. It is now in the Vault at Asgard.
  • Reality Stone (Red) showed up in Thor: The Dark World, and was given to the Collector during the post credit sequence during that film. It’s whereabouts are assumed to still be in his possession.
  • Power Stone (Purple) was in this film, and is shown locked up in a vault of some sorts on Xandar.
  • Time Stone (Green) was shown in Doctor Strange in the Eye of Agamotto, and was last seen still in his possession.
  • Soul Stone (Orange) not seen at this point in time, though some assume that Heimdal, the guardian of the gateway in Thor might be in possession of it due to his orange eyes, and his ability to see every soul in the universe (as mentioned in Thor: The Dark World).
Guardians of the Galaxy

The Collector explaining the Infinity Stones to the Guardians and to the audience. Yellow (Mind Stone), Purple (Power Stone), Blue (Space Stone), Red (Reality Stone), Green (Time Stone), Orange (Soul Stone) – Source: Marvel Studios

The mid credit scene features Groot slowing growing up, in his pot, dancing a Jackson 5 song, while Drax polishes his sword (euphemism?), and freezes whenever he is spotted by him. The post credit scene shows the Collector drinking in his destroyed show with Cosmo licking him. We then get to see Howard the Duck (voiced by Seth Green) telling him that it’s gross.

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Overall, almost everything that could go right for this movie, did. The cast was magnificent, the cinematography, soundtrack, direction of the movie hit was near perfect for this movie. My problem with the story and the problem for most Marvel Cinematic Universe movies as a whole, was the villain. Marvel ends up cheating on the story requirements for the villain, to better serve the heroes, however from a critical point of view, the villain is just as important, story wise. At the end of the day, my score for this movie is 9/10.

What did you think of the film? Are you excited for Thor Ragnarok? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading,

Alex Martens

 

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