After slogging through the month of July (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes being the exception), summer has finally been saved! To put things short and sweet: Guardians of the Galaxy is the movie we’ve been waiting for.
Fans raised their eyebrows back in 2010 when Marvel President Kevin Feige announced that a big screen adaptation of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s comic series was headed for theaters. A collective sigh of hope was then heard when it was announced at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con that James Gunn would be writing and directing. With a cult following after writing Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake and his own fantastic creature-feature Slither, Gunn is really going to make a name for himself because Guardians of the Galaxy is not just one of the best films of the summer, but of the year so far.
Beginning in 1988, a young Peter Quill (Wyatt Oleff) sits in a hospital waiting room, listening to his “Awesome Mix No. 1” cassette tape before he’s brought in to say goodbye to his dying mother. After his mother passes, Peter runs out the hospital where he is abducted by a spaceship. 26 years later, Peter is now a scavenger, looking for an orb on the planet Morag. Korath (Djimon Hounsou) tries to get the orb from Peter — who keeps trying to make his nickname, err outlaw name, “Star-Lord” stick — but he escapes. Yondu (Michael Rooker) places a bounty on Peter which leads to Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and the living-tree Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) to try and capture him for the reward.
Gamora (Zoe Saldana) — adopted daughter of Thanos (Josh Brolin), sister of Nebula (Karen Gillan) — wants the orb so she can sell it to The Collector (Benicio Del Toro). This will keep it out of the hands of Ronan (Lee Pace) who is unhappy about the peace treaty signed between the Xandarians and the Kree and wants to use the power of the orb to destroy Xandar. A tussle leads Peter, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot to be captured by Corpsman Dey (John C. Reilly) of the Nova Corps. — led by Nova Prime (Glenn Close) — and imprisoned on the Kyln. Here, they join forces with Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) who wants revenge on Ronan who killed his wife and daughter. Now, our band of misfits must unite to escape and put a stop to Ronan’s nefarious schemes to save the galaxy.
As you can see, there’s more plot than usual for a Marvel film. Thankfully, Guardians of the Galaxy is far more than simply Geek Nirvana. Marvel’s Phase Two films of their Marvel Cinematic Universe are continually raising the stakes and there’s plenty here that sets up next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, along with Phase Three. The Infinity Stones have finally been explained, even if an incident involving The Collector makes you wonder what’s happened to the aether given to him by Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) in the credit sequence of Thor: The Dark World. There’s also a loose strand left about who Peter’s father is.
With a sequel already announced for July 28, 2017, Marvel knows they have another hot property on their hands, and yes, Guardians is one of the best Marvel Studios films so far. Considering this is now the tenth film, Gunn — along with Marvel’s first female writer Nicole Perlman — has set out to make it stand above the rest. The most exciting part is finally getting new Marvel characters to cherish; even if every single one of them happens to be an antihero. Except maybe Groot, who totally steals the movie with hilarious childlike innocence.
Like every good adventure film, we get to hop across the galaxy to all kinds of different locations — including a trip to Knowhere — but Gunn also has made Guardians one of the most adult films in the Marvel canon. With moments of blissful raunchiness and enough pop-culture references to fill multiple films, this one is going to require multiple viewings to catch them all. J.J. Abrams could also take note because this is also one of the best not-Star Wars space films in years. It also features the best soundtrack outside of a Quentin Tarantino film.
Unfortunately, I cannot confirm a post-credit sequence but have heard there will be one attached once in full release; just another reason to see this one again, which I most definitely will. Is there anymore praise I could possibly heap upon Guardians of the Galaxy at this point? The cast is fantastic — with even Bautista barely passable playing the too-literal numbskull that is Drax — with Pratt truly stepping up and proving he can carry a film, something that will come in handy for next summer’s Jurassic World. All that’s really left to say is absolutely do not miss this trip with the Guardians of the Galaxy!
Photos courtesy Marvel Studios[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00IMQ7L6K][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00KLF5J64][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00IJZPZLC][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00IJZPZKS][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00IJZPZLW][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00IJZPZMG][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00IJZPZSU][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00IJZPZM6][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00IRZT5GU]