Guardians of the Galaxy

Posted July 31, 2014 by in


Total Score

3/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: sci-fi action, comic book adaptation
Director: James Gunn
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Actors: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
Length: 121 minutes
Release Date: 8/1/2014
Studio: Marvel Enterprises, Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company (MPC)
What We Thought

Looks like a comic book come-to-life with great special effects, but as a story, it’s standard superhero fare with a change of scenery.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
     Tell me if this sounds familiar…
     A super-villain intends to destroy the world, and seeks out a powerful artifact to accomplish his task.  A ragtag team of misfits must put aside their differences, and band together to stop him.
     That’s the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy, and most every superhero movie out there.  The big difference between Guardians of the Galaxy and most comic book movies to date is that it takes place…in space!
     Guardians of the Galaxy is a great-looking studio production.  Two of the film’s stars are CGI creations, Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper), a sentient raccoon, and Groot (voice of Vin Diesel), a walking-talking tree, who can only say, “I am Groot.”  Rocket and Groot look as real as their live-action costars, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a green-skinned, humanoid alien; Drax (Dave Bautista), a red-skinned alien covered in scarification tattoos; and Peter “Star Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt).
     Quill is a human from Earth, who was abducted by alien scavengers as a child.  Quill travels to the ruined planet of Morag, where he discovers a mysterious orb sought out by The Collector (Benicio Del Toro in a brief scene), and by Ronin the Accuser (Lee Pace), a fanatic of the Kree race intent on destroying the peaceful planet Xandar.
     Ronin dispatches Gamora, a deadly assassin, to steal the mysterious orb from Quill, and kill Quill if necessary.  Just as Gamora is about to make off with the artifact, Rocket and Groot interfere, attempting to collect on the bounty on Quill.  The melee attracts the attention of the police, and all four end up in prison together, where they meet Drax, who has a vendetta against Gamora.
     Guardians of the Galaxy is, then, an origin story of how a team comes together.  With the exception of Quill, the backstories are told rather than shown, making the film on the talky side.  Much of the dialog—that isn’t dumb action movie one-liners and pithy zingers—is expositional, explaining what the orb is, explaining Ronin’s motivations and connections to other villains, and explaining and explaining and explaining, none of which is especially interesting, and yet for all of its talk, the film doesn’t have much to say.
     It’s light in tone and the story moves along quickly, however, it is an overly familiar story, and its contents is equally familiar.  The aliens of the film look like the denizens out of an episode of Star Trek—any of them, with a comic book touch.  The movie does look like a comic book come to life, with aggressive angles and bright colors,  but it’s style over substance.
      I couldn’t get into Guardians of the Galaxy.  I’m not saying that it’s not good, or that I disliked it.  I was just indifferent to it.  It’s a high quality production; if you want to look at state-of-the-art special effects, you’ll get your money’s worth, but as a story about characters, it’s standard superhero fare with a change of scenery.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.


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