Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’: Taking the Marvel universe beyond the stars

When it comes to a typical summer blockbuster, most of the time it is a sequel or a reboot. However, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a fresh new idea from Marvel Studios.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is one of Marvel Studios biggest risks, as it is based on the relatively unknown superhero team of the same name. Fortunately, the studio’s risk pays off in the end, with the film’s great cast, soundtrack, and special effects, and James Gunn’s writing and directing. This movie has the fun of “The Avengers,” plus the thrills and excitement of “Star Wars.”

The film follows Peter Jason Quill, aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), a human who was abducted as a kid in 1988 and raised by a band of intergalactic mercenaries called The Ravagers. Years later, Quill uncovers a mysterious orb that everyone seems to want. Quill then encounters other galactic rogues, such as the orphan assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the gunslinging genetically-engineered raccoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), the vengeance-driven warrior Drax (Dave Bautista), and the tree-like humanoid Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). They later make a temporary truce to sell the orb and split the profit. However, when the villain Ronan (Lee Pace) wants the orb for evil intentions, the five rascals must band together to stand up for the greater good as “the Guardians of the Galaxy,” or as Starlord puts it, “A thief, a couple of thugs, an assassin, and a maniac.”

As the Guardians of the Galaxy, these roguish heroes are all instantly loveable. Chris Pratt plays the perfect role as the 1980s-referencing intergalactic rogue, Star-Lord. Zoe Saldana’s Gamora makes for an excellent sympathetic as well as deadly character. Dave Bautista, surprisingly, plays both an amusing and aggressive character in the film. Bradley Cooper’s and Vin Diesel’s characters are just impossible to not to love, and they have some of the best character dynamics in the film. While for the rest of the cast are not the big focus of the film, they are great characters and do have their moments.

Accompanying Quill in his adventure is his “Awesome Mix Tape, Vol 1,” a record tape containing some of the hit songs of the 1970s. It is a good addition to the film, as Quill’s mix tape gives a comedic tone for certain scenes, and it gives Pratt’s character more personality. Also, a good addition to the film is its soundtrack, composed by Tyler Bates.

Bates’ music adds to the film’s awesomeness and helps add emotion to certain scenes, either a fast-paced music to follow with the thrills of the action, or a slow but soothing rhythm that adds to the characters.

As a film that involves aliens, spaceships, and a humanoid tree, it is no surprise that this film might rely heavily on special effects. While some films that heavily rely on special effects might be considered too much for its viewers, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is able to make the heavy use of special effect work. Its greatest use of special effects is on two of the film’s protagonists: Rocket and Groot. Rocket has the looks of a genetically-engineered raccoon, and Groot as a sentient tree.

While some of its other aliens, like Gamora and Drax, are not brought to life by computer animation, the makeup that gives them their skin-tone color and Drax’s tatoo are convincing enough to seem natural.

What stood out to me the most, however, is the film’s screenplay. Much of the characters’ dialogue is well written, with some of it instantly quotable for the audience. The film’s screenplay also contains some cleverly written humor. Many of the movie’s scenes contain gags that are original, humorous, and sensible. Whether its Rocket’s misbehavior, Quill’s personality, or Drax’s literalness, the movie’s humor will have you laughing in joy.

Overall, this movie is one of Marvel’s best films to date. Its story of a group of rogues eventually standing up for what is right makes an enjoyable film to watch. James Gunn really brings these misfit band of heroes to life in this well directed and written film. This movie expands the Marvel cinematic universe in a fun and exciting way.

Our Grade: A
Length: 122 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Superheroes, Science Fiction
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel