movie review: guardians of the galaxy



In an unknown galaxy some distance from Earth the human, Peter Quill aka Starlord, is a type of bounty hunter / mercenary who was spirited away from home shortly after the death of his mother.  His latest mission sees him get caught up in a race to secure an ancient relic which is described as an orb but later turns out to contain an mystery power source with the ability to destroy planets.  Among those chasing the orb is the main evil character in the movie, Ronan, who is desperate to seek revenge on another race for past misdeeds.

The movie is directed by James Gunn (Slither) with Chris Pratt (The Lego Movie) in the lead role as Peter Quill.  He is joined by Zoe Saldana (Star Trek Into Darkness) as Gamora, Vin Diesel (Riddick) as Groot, Bradley Cooper (American Hustle) as the voice of Rocket and Dave Bautista (Riddick) as Drax.

The first thing that has to be said is that this movie is very funny.  It had me laughing consistently and was a breath of fresh air in comparison with the generally darker tones we have had with comic book / super hero movies in recent years.  You couldn’t help but love the characters.  My favourite was Groot who despite only having three words of dialogue was the most human and loyal of all the gang.  Not bad for a walking talking tree.  He / she / it was closely followed by Rocket for which Bradley Cooper should be praised for bring this character to life while not making you think hey its Bradley Cooper.

The other positive I wanted to mention was the soundtrack which like the rest of the movie was really good fun.  The soundtrack comes from a mixed tape of Quill’s mother’s favourite songs from the 1970’s with tracks such as Hooked On A Feeling and Cherry Bomb.

Now for all the positives this movie has there’s no getting away from the fact that it has all the depth of a puddle.  There’s a lot of show, lots of action, witty one liners and the pace never lets up but my biggest gripe is that I didn’t fully understand the motivations of the characters.  There are hints here and there but it isn’t immediately clear to me why Ronan is hell bent on killing everybody.  I know something happened in his past but I’m not 100% sure what.  Gamora has decided to betray Ronan because ermmmm she thinks he’s a bit mad and maybe he did something to her but it got lost in the noise.

My other main criticism is that the tone was shifted so far in the direction of comedy that when the story tried to touch on more serious moments such as Rocket’s past it felt oddly out of place.  We get to see in one scene the implants in his back and at one point he starts to get emotional about the experiments he endured but he’s drunk when he does it.  There’s a sense the director wasn’t really comfortable going into this territory.

I don’t want to leave the impression that I didn’t enjoy this movie.  It was a great way to spend a Sunday morning and I highly recommend that you do and see it.  If it’s not been a great day in the office, get yourself to a cinema and you will leave with a big smile on your face thinking the world isn’t such a bad place after all.  However, don’t expect a rich character study or discourse on the future of mankind.  Will be interesting to see how / if they try to bring these characters together with the rest of the established Marvel universe.


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