Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

“I have lived most of my life surrounded by my enemies. I would be grateful to die surrounded by my friends.““I have lived most of my life surrounded by my enemies. I would be grateful to die surrounded by my friends.“

“I have lived most of my life surrounded by my enemies. I would be grateful to die surrounded by my friends.“

What a bunch of A-holes! Wait a minute, hold on, Marvel you’re next property will be about who? Star Lord, Man… you know legendary outlaw. Oh, ok but to the world you’re a group of third tier superheroes. Maybe not to those who read the books but to the casual fans, you’re nobodies. It’s a risk Marvel is willing to take making this decision but what a reward fandom was gifted. This film took the world completely by surprise based on a bunch of misfits no one could have fathomed would be a team. All of fandom has to do is take a step back and put a little more faith in the one and only Kevin Feige.

It’s hard to imagine having to follow up the best Marvel Cinematic Universe film to date in Guardians of the Galaxy but the show must go on. I mean there is a universe to be expanded upon – touching all our bases on Earth, we must be going cosmic. And then the casting rumors start coming out, turning legitimate and the Marvel casting gods have struck again. Putting together this unique team of heroes couldn’t have been more puzzling but they all surprisingly work well together.

Our Peter Quill aka Star Lord (is none other than Andy… I mean Chris Pratt) was taken from his family as a child by a group called the Ravagers to be delivered to his father. Things don’t go according to plan because well, could you honestly trust Yondu (Michael Rooker) to keep his promises. The Ravagers raise Peter to be a presumptuous, self-righteous a-hole who’s best interest is his own. He’s a self-titled outlaw who finds himself in the company of the most unlikely of creatures forced to work together for money; a lot of money that is.

The galaxy’s best super assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) loathes her guardian – will stop at nothing to take down his associate Ronan (Lee Pace). Ronan has absolutely no real purpose or motivations in his quest to retrieve the orb or the power infinity stone. He’s just there as just another example of Marvel choosing the weakest villains for their movies. This is not a slight to Pace whatsoever, his character is completely forgettable, he’s just there to be a jobber – an errand boy for Thanos (Josh Brolin). Speaking of the big purple guy, this is our first concrete look at the mad titan and Josh didn’t disappoint.

It probably would have been a more compelling story if Ronan were completely cut out and the main villain was Nebula (Karen Gillan) daughter of Thanos. But we’re left with a lackluster character with a god complex who shouldn’t have one at all. Filling out the rest of the unorthodox team is Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) who doesn’t really destroy, Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper, movements by Sean Gunn) who doesn’t identify as a raccoon and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) a humanoid tree creature. Each member has a different motivation when in possession of the orb.

Drax simply wants revenge for the murder of his wife and daughter by the hands of Ronan. Nothing will give him peace until he gets it. Bautista has followed in Dwayne Johnson’s footsteps after leaving professional wrestling to pursue acting proving he was the best choice for this role. His comedic timing couldn’t have been more perfect. His delivery is spot on with the subtle humor he gives off. Vin Diesel gives the world quite possibly the best character the MCU has seen so far and it’s a talking tree that says the same three words “I… Am… Groot”.

If the scene when Groot sacrifices himself to save his new family from certain death doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, you’re dead inside. Its one of the most touching and heart-wrenching moments in the MCU so far – hitting you like a ton of bricks. If there was anyone or anything that could rival the sarcasm of Peter Quill its Rocket. Throw in weapons and technology expert and you have a badass bounty hunter who has a clear sensitivity to being called rodent or animal. This group of a-holes done poorly could have easily imploded in on itself but the strong character focus by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman make for one of the most beloved superhero teams the world has ever known.

Even though there are several planets visited and a genocidal maniac on the loose out to destroy a planet because of a treaty, Gunn manages to keep the story grounded. Especially since the casual fan will have never of heard of these characters before, the film doesn’t come off too arrogant. This is only the introduction and the intro is handled with extreme care. Being the 10th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe did anyone really doubt Kevin Feige for this? You’d be foolish to at this point in all honesty.

One of the best parts about this film is the kick-ass score and soundtrack. Never before has a soundtrack been so cherished to a superhero film. It’s the type of soundtrack that can be played in perpetuity and never get old – not even once. Marvel seems to have these films down to a science as far as their origins are concerned. Each film that comes next hasn’t been stagnant but has felt refreshing adding another layer to the already acclaimed universe. The pacing is just as good as previous entries offering another solid run time – not too long, not too short. They seem to find the sweet spot for the story that Feige wants told.

Another film, another Stan “The Man” Lee cameo. This time Lee plays a Xandarian talking to a woman as Rocket is looking for bounties to collect. It’s always a pleasure seeing Stan’s smiling face on the big screen, he looks like he is having the time of his life. As mentioned above this is the fourth infinity stone that has presented itself, the power stone (pretty self-explanatory). Keeping track that’s space, reality, power, and mind leaving time and soul to be discovered. Speculating where the next stone will pop up next given the upcoming films is a can be obvious if you follow the signs. That speculation had a lot of people guessing till the very end of the saga.

One of the best mid credit scenes we’ve ever been graced with. Yeah I said it, baby Groot dancing to the Jackson Five, what’s not to love. This mid credit scene nor the post credit scene of Howard the Duck drinking a martini at the Collector’s (Benicio Del Toro) ruined office offer any clues for the upcoming Avengers film – they are just fun scenes. Remember the baby Groot craze? Yeah, that was the first baby everyone was obsessed with that related to nerd culture – now we have baby Yoda aka The Child to obsess over.

There are a couple notable Easter eggs in the film – the 12% reference Star Lord makes that related to the first Avengers film and Tony Stark. The second being the dark elf locked in one of the Collector’s cells. The third is a tease at what is to come in Marvel’s quote unquote phase four as we see a Celestial; given that we are getting an Eternal’s film soon.

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy is in my top 5 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. It was an unexpected box office smash hit for Marvel Studios and another win for Kevin Feige. Waiting online at the movie theater (yes that was a thing, getting to the theater 2 hours prior to get the best seats was torture) felt different for this film, there was an electricity in the air on opening night. Yes, it suffers from a weak villain like previous films, but the character work and storylines are exceptional. If I were to rate Guardians of the Galaxy, I’d rate it a 4.75 out of 5.

So, tell me guys, have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.

Guardians of the Galaxy is directed by James Gunn is Rated PG-13 and has an 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. Guardians of the Galaxy was released on August 1st, 2014 and has a runtime of 2 hours and 2 minutes. Guardians of the Galaxy can be streamed on Disney Plus.

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The Guardians of the Galaxy will return

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