Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn, has officially taken the spot as my top movie of the year. Everything about this movie is fun and over the top without being too much that it gets annoying or overdone. I, and many other fans that I know of the Marvel universe and comics in general, did not know much about the Guardians of the Galaxy. I had heard of the comic before, but never had gotten around to finding a copy or reading it. Likewise, when I first saw the previews for the movie I was not sure how I felt about it or if I would even enjoy it that much. However, when I saw it, I liked it…A LOT. It is easily the funniest movie I have seen in a long time and it comes in a package that also contains a good story and great acting.
Let’s begin with the story. It revolves around Peter Quill, a kid whose mother died when he was young and was immediately abducted afterwards and grew up in space. He grows up to be a “junker”, calling himself Star-Lord, and travels around different parts of the galaxy in order to take different items and sell them to get money. While on one of his travels he picks up a strange silver orb that brings about a ton of trouble. Because of the orb and those chasing him for it, for either profit or other motives, Peter meets his to be comrades Gamora, Groot, Rocket, and Drax. The story follows them on their quest to save the world and prevent the orb from falling into the wrong hands. The best thing about the story, besides the humor, is that every character has their own moments of focus and that is a nice thing to see when some characters in other films like this were never really given a time to shine. You get a sense of the relationship building between the group and feel, by the end, that they really do care deeply for one another. Beyond that, they each have some sort of relationship with the other characters on screen besides the main character Star-Lord, such as Rocket being able to understand Groot even though all he can say is “I am Groot”. The best part of the story, however, is the humor. Anyone who knows me can tell you I am not really into films that are heavily focused on comedy, in general. For whatever reason, I do not usually get a sense of enjoyment out of the slapstick humor that comes from today’s comedic performances. However, this movie made me laugh out loud multiple times in the theater. The jokes that are told are at times super inappropriate and at other times completely unexpected and make the film. Every character made me laugh at one time or another, and I completely enjoyed every minute of the film, partly because of these humorous moments. Part of the reason the story worked so well was due to the incredible skill of the actors on this film.
Chris Pratt was the perfect choice to play Peter Quill. He makes all of Star-Lord’s jokes even funnier by the way he delivers them and is just as convincing as a hero when making a serious speech. He exudes confidence on-screen while also letting the audience inside the character to show that the confidence may sometimes be a way to hide some pain he still holds from his past. Zoe Saldana as Gamora shows that women can kick ass and take names, all the while she has no qualms in calling Quill out on his crap and not letting him get away with anything. She also has a softer side that lets the audience know that even though she is a strong woman who seems like she has no care in the world, she actually does have a strong sense of right and wrong. The team of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel as Rocket and Groot constitute some of my favorite scenes from the entire film. Even though they are both CGI created characters, you can feel the sarcasm as it drips off of Cooper’s Rocket while Diesel’s Groot brings a softer and more caring side to the duo. They both have no problem causing some serious damage when it is required and are an unbeatable force. Dave Batista’s Drax is so literal that when other characters make a joke he almost always takes it to heart. Some of the funniest moments are when Quill delivers a one-liner and Drax overreacts without knowing the context of what is being said. His backstory is also so heart-wrenching that you cannot help but feel strongly for him. As a team, they are some of the best fighters and comedians the galaxy has to offer. Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser and Karen Gillen as Nebula also both provide a sense of terror that act as great enemies for the Guardians to face.
Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy has overtaken Captain America: The Winter Solider as my favorite movie of the summer, or even the year. As great as Captain America was, there is something about seeing a movie that is able to both make you laugh and make you care about the characters on screen that is to be commended. This movie does not take itself too seriously and that is part of what makes it great. It is obvious that Marvel was taking a chance with a movie based around lesser known characters when their other films have been based on characters that have been household names in the comic community for years. The film is sarcastic, crude, 80’s inspired- awesome, and filled with some great acting, and I would not have it any other way. If you have not gotten the chance to go see Guardians of the Galaxy yet, you definitely should. If you have, you should see it again…and again…, it is that good.
-Megan Highwind has left the party.