Marvel audaciously picks a franchise isolated from fans’ radar—based on Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning’s comic book, it is Marvel’s biggest gamble… that works as attracting as Peter ‘Star-Lord’ Quill (Chris Pratt) dances on his Awesome Mix Vol. 1 and team up with his band of misfits.
“We’re the fricking Guardians of the Galaxy!” said Rocket.
“I am Groot,” said Groot.
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Every year since the launch of Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 1, along with the first Iron Man (2008), Marvel Studio never stops producing their exuberant superhero films that always work best in box office. After MCU Phase 1 concludes its timeline with The Avengers (2012), these Kevin Feige’s men keep fastening their seat-belt and hitting the gas with Phase 2 (Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier). Simply, Marvel takes over the superhero flick slots with their lavish set-piece and high-energetic humor immediately after the dark and gloomy era of The Dark Knight Trilogy ends. Surprisingly, Marvel audaciously picks a franchise isolated from fans’ radar—Guardians of the Galaxy, based on Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning’s comic book is Marvel’s biggest gamble… that works.
It’s a gamble that works as attracting as Peter ‘Star-Lord’ Quill (Chris Pratt) dances on his Awesome Mix Vol. 1 and steals an orb believed to be an infinity stone (remember Loki’s Staff, Tesseract, and Aether)—an entity craved by Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace, Thranduil in The Hobbit) and Thanos (the one appears in The Avengers‘ post-credit scene, now portrayed by Josh Brolin). This Star-Lord is a human from Earth, absorbed by a spaceship and then living in other galaxy with a blue ravager, Yondu (Michael Rooker from The Walking Dead).
Away in Xandar, he gets involved in a fuss with an assassin—Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a talking raccoon—Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and a living tree—Groot (voiced with only one clause by Vin Diesel); and ends up in a prison. Only their intergalactic fate knows those four rascals assemble along with a literal badass, Drax (Dave Bautista from WWE) to be our titular anti-heroes. Fueled by multiple motivations, our outlawed guardians won’t let the orb falls to the villainous Ronan the Accuser along with his assassin, Nebula (a baldie Karen Gillan from Oculus).
Surprisingly, Guardians of the Galaxy barely shows direct connection to other previous Marvel flicks (save for Thanos and Chitauri from The Avengers; The Collector and Dark Elf from second Thor; and other extraterrestrial Marvel stuffs). Fortunately I never expect Iron Man et al here ’cause the event depicted here takes place in a galaxy far far away from the earth—making it a Star Wars reminiscent (for me, Knowhere looks like Mos Eisley and Xandar looks like Coruscant, and don’t forget other splendor creatures). However, that’s not even a disappointment—the world of Guardians of the Galaxy is beautifully crafted with wondrous landscapes, fabulous ornaments and perpetual enthrallment, although most of them might not look natural.
I love every single action set-pieces and humors presented in the film, especially, anything related to Groot. This tree-like humanoid can always do anything the others can’t. Sometimes it becomes very comical but mostly it’s the real guardians; but I won’t forget that he’s a simple misfit with all “I am Groot” spoofs—proving that Vin Diesel is a real convincing voice actor. Albeit other characters have deeper background and they might be as funny as Groot, but, seriously what’s more fun than a tree-like actioner? Only, if the guardians band together, they can be a real band of witty outlaw. As I said before, Marvel successfully dominates the dominion of serious hero a la The Dark Knight with hyper-energized humors and actions. Director James Gunn, with resume for his cult body-horror Slither and his fake super hero Super, superbly makes this a real fresh and funny anti-hero film as well as a badass Marvel actions—without stripping off his signature.
Should I name the Guardians of the Galaxy‘s blind spot, I will nominate the film’s villains. Similar to Malekith the Accursed in the second Thor, Ronan the Accuser is never been a real threat; his Nebula is much the same. Both of them present no real danger to the guardians nor to Xandar. Only once Ronan’s Dark Aster looks very intimidating, but it’s not as menacing as it looks in the beginning. Fortunately, James Gunn saves Thanos in his lair, otherwise, he might just be as lame as other villains. Thanks to those puny menace, we can always enjoy laughing at our shameless guardians in action.
In the end, Marvel’s decision to put a band of misfits from the middle of nowhere in the edge of MCU Phase 2 is definitely an ace. Surprisingly, Guardians of the Galaxy poses a real threat to other 2 Marvel franchises (from different studios—The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past) released during the same summer blockbuster. With 2 surprisingly great franchises (remember the second Captain America), this year is certainly Marvel’s jubilation year.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Adaptation, Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure Running Time: 121 mins Directed by: James Gunn Written by: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman based on comic by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning Starred by: Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Benicio Del Toro, Djimon Honsou
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TRIVIA: There’s a post-credit scene involving The Collector and Howard the Duck.
TRIVIA: In The Collector’s “Museum”, there are so many cameos from other Marvel comics or other franchises. I only notice Carina, Cosmo the Space Dog, Howard the Duck, and a Dark Elf.
TRIVIA: I saw Stan Lee portraying an old man whom Rocket calls as a “pervert.” I also saw James Gunn’s brother, Sean Gunn (who also acts as Rocket in filming—read it once in a magazine) portraying one of Yondu’s ravager.
TRIVIA: I read a “No raccoons or tree creatures were harmed in the making of this film” statement during the credit. Yeah, Rocket and Groot are all CGI creatures.
TRIVIA: I also read an article with sufficient information about Guardians of the Galaxy’s Easter egg HERE!