[Movie Review] “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the Avengers movie you wanted to see, but in outer space!

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). (Marvel.com)
Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). (Marvel.com)

Should you watch this at weekend movie ticket prices? If you like Marvel movies.

Should you watch this at weekday movie ticket prices? Yes!

Secret ending? Yes. Two. 

Running time: 122 minutes (2 hours)

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is a science fiction movie about a group of heroes in outer space. Taking place in the Marvel cinematic universe, it revolves around a mysterious orb that everyone is after, and the heroes’ efforts to safeguard it from evil. It stars Chris Pratt (Peter Quill/Star Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautisa (Drax the Destroyer), Vin Diesel (voice of Groot), Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon), and Glenn Close (Nova Prime).

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is effectively the Avengers – but in outer space! Right off the bat, it already has two things going for it. Even so, it’s beautifully executed and hits all the right spots, both dramatically and visually, and has a distinct 80’s theme going for it.

The Guardians may be a fairly obscure group to shoot a film on, but they have been appearing in quite a number of Marvel cartoons since Disney bought them over, like in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Ultimate Spider-Man, and even the new Avengers Assemble.

Nebula (Karen Gilian). (Marvel.com)
Nebula (Karen Gilian). (Marvel.com)

So what makes it worth the viewing?

The basic premise gets you firmly on the side of the protagonists

As the movie so eloquently puts it – the Guardians are all basically a bunch of losers. But they’re sad, lonely, damaged losers. And it’s this underdog quality that gets you behind them right from the get go. They may present themselves as mercenaries, but you know they’ll do the right thing and overcome tremendous odds. They’re heroes, after all!

The action is solid

With a mix of lavish effects and frenetic stunts, the fight scenes definitely don’t disappoint. If you’ve come here looking for Marvel fare, the movie has it in spades. It captures the spirit of a comic book perfectly, what with all the explosions of colour and retro space sets.

Groot and Rocket Raccoon

Considering 40% of the Guardians are made up of CGI, you wouldn’t think their performances would be anything worth phoning home about. But Groot is definitely the breakout star of the film, and Rocket Raccoon is a close second. This is what great voice acting is all about (for Rocket Raccoon, that is), and Groot is just hilarious and adorable to watch. “I am Groot,” as everyone says now.

The cameos and references

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is a movie for geeks. Come on, did you know about the Guardians before they started work on the movie? The number of throwaway references to all parts of the Marvel Universe is every fan’s dream. But that doesn’t mean the casual viewer will get lost in it, which makes the movie appeal to an even larger audience!

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana). (Marvel.com)
Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana). (Marvel.com)

Still, “Guardians of the Galaxy” had some portions which could have been better handled.

The storyline was very predictable
It’s definitely not a literary extravaganza… but I did wish the plot had a little more sophistication and twist to it. As it stands, the plot is perfectly serviceable and it fulfills all the dramatic elements that you’d come to expect from a movie script. Just that, well, a twist would have been nice.
The ending was terribly cheesy
The Guardians defeat their nigh-invincible foe in the corniest of ways. Even in the context of the whole retro theme that the movie has been layered with, the whole ending makes my hair stand and puts my teeth on edge. Come on, Marvel! There had to be a better way of handling your climax!
Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). (Marvel.com)
Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). (Marvel.com)

“Guardians of the Galaxy” may not break any new ground, but it’s definitely a worthy contender in Marvel’s stable of Phase films. It’s great entertainment and a chance to explore a relatively fresh part of the Marvel universe. Catch it if you can!

“Guardians of the Galaxy” opened in cinemas 31 July, 2014 (Thursday). 

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