Saturday, August 2, 2014
Movie Review: Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
Article first published as Movie Review: Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ on Blogcritics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Photos courtesy Marvel Studios