FILM REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy 1 of 2 – SPOILER FREE

Looking through my previous posts I noticed that this is actually my 100th post for Geek Syndicate. I can’t think of a better post for my centenary than a SPOILER FREE review of the latest film within the Marvel Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy.

Rating: 12A
Director: James Gunn
Staring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan and Lee Pace

Marvel’s sci-fi space adventure ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ follows a bunch of superhero misfits as they attempt to save the cosmos from a deadly threat.

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is an intergalactic adventurer who gets his hands on a mysterious orb and finds himself a target of an evil villain called Ronan. In an effort to keep Ronan at bay, Quill forms an unlikely alliance with a ragtag group of superheroes that includes a gun-toting raccoon (Bradley Cooper), a green-skinned humanoid (Zoe Saldana) and a living tree called Groot (Vin Diesel).

First off I have to lay my cards on the table in the interests of full disclosure and admit that I’ve never picked up a Guardians of the Galaxy comic in my life and in fact have never got into comics of any type at all (this may change though as Nuge wants to carry out an experiment on me – watch this space). I am however a massive fan of comic book/superhero films and this goes back to when I was 12 and Tim Burton’s Batman came out, this does however mean that if the film has taken any liberties on the source material I have no idea, I can only comment on what I saw. This is where the 2 reviews come into play that I eluded to on Twitter yesterday, my review here is taken from this perspective, whereas the other review that will be by Montoya, who is a fan of the comics so should hopefully give a different insight and probably a more in-depth analysis (we’re purposely not seeing each others reviews before posting).

Every film that has come out of the Marvel Studios since Avengers has been either fairly on unfairly compared to the standards that Joss Whedon set in that film. I’m sorry to say that I am no exception to this, with every film that has come out since I’ve found myself walking out of the cinema thinking it was good but not as good as Avengers (I’ve enjoyed all of the Marvel films, some more than others) – However was this the case with Guardians of the Galaxy?

From the opening sequence this film had me hooked and looking back at the notes I took, I wrote a rather random one saying ‘Pixar start’. Now before you think I’m going mad what I mean by this was there were similarities with how Pixar (and Disney to be fair) start a lot of their films with a full on tragic and emotional beginning (think Pixar’s Up or Disney’s Bambi). This is no exception, the film starts with a quick back story on Peter Quill and how as a boy he ends up in space – now I promised no spoilers so if like me you have no idea how Quill got into space and his back story then you’ll just have to go watch it to see what I mean. The first 20 mins or so shoots by with introductions to all of our main characters in a way that I didn’t feel it was too rushed or I didn’t know enough about them. It probably would have been nice for the introductions to have been a little longer for some of the main characters but the pace that was set here was good and carried on building throughout to a satisfying crescendo.

Onto our baddies with Ronan (Lee Pace) our main villain, he’s certainly a formidable adversary, and clearly hell bent on vengeance – it’s clear it’s gonna take something special to take him down. Along side him we have Nebula (Karen Gillan) an incredibly skilled fighter/assassin, however I did come away feeling that her character was limited, don’t get me wrong she’s very hard and a woman I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of but my overriding feeling of her character was ‘shouty and mad’ as my notes tell me.  This is not to say Karen Gillan was bad, I just think the writing of her character was limited, kinda like a grumpy teen who can’t see sense.

This is a minor gripe though and to be honest the film to me was mainly about the creation of the Guardians. The comedy within the team is great and you have to love Rocket’s sense of humour when it comes to the creation of plans (that’s all I’ll say about that).

As you’d expect from a Marvel film the special effects are great and keep you immersed throughout the film, Groot and Rocket really work and are believable – for two of the main characters to be animated they had to be good otherwise the whole movie would have failed. The 3D works well and is worth watching in this format, it added a nice sense of depth to the film rather than the gimmicky things flying at you approach, however if you saw this in 2D you wouldn’t be missing out on anything.

Suffice to say Groot and Rocket are two of my favourite Marvel characters now. Groot especially, the relationship he has with Rocket is brilliant. Groot’s only words are ‘I am Groot’ and only said in that order as explained by Rocket was genius – I had concerns that it’d get old VERY quickly but found every time it was said I laughed or smiled, hats off to Vin Diesel for the way he delivered his tough lines 😉  I’d happily go into an intergalactic battle with a Racoon and a Tree if they were like Rocket and Groot.

The mix tape is properly awesome with some great tracks forming the basis of a solid movie soundtrack, and with space battles and full on epic fight scenes….what more can you want?

So to summarize and answer the question I posed at the top – Is Guardians of the Galaxy as good as Avengers?

Well after sleeping on it I think I’d have to say a big fat YES!. Personally I think this is one of the best superhero origin stories I’ve seen and I can’t wait for the next outing of the Guardians.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film which had plenty of laugh out loud moments but in such a way that it didn’t feel like it was at the expense of the story, it added to the enjoyment rather than feeling like it’d been shoehorned in.
As usual wait until the end of the credits – in the press screening we were treated to one Easter egg which had me laughing away but I have been reliably informed that for the full release there will be TWO Easter egg within the credits, the one we saw and the new one at the end which has been held back from all screenings just for the fans (presumably to ensure no spoilers too)… I’m certainly going to see this again in the cinema when it comes out on it’s official release.
Guardians of the Galaxy is out in the cinemas from 31st July…..what are you waiting for, go book your tickets right now!

 

Rating: 5/5

Reviewer: JMS1701

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