“Guardians of the Galaxy”
This is the final of the Marvel movies coming out this year and to be fair this has been a very good year for Marvel movies, especially considering last year where all the films kind of felt like they were a filler for the upcoming Avengers Age of Ultron. The perspective I’m coming from watching this film is that I’m more a reader of DC comics than Marvel but I do dabble some of the time in Marvel and I will go to see pretty much all of the Marvel movies when they are released and I have seen all of the Marvel movies this year except for X Men Days of Future Past (which I do plan to see at some point) and they have been very decent. In fact I would even go as far to say that Captain America the Winter Soldier is probably still potentially in my favourite movies of the year list.
However, while I may not read a ton of Marvel I have recently started reading the Guardians of the Galaxy comic series, more specifically the comic series written by Abnett and Lanning which gave a similar iteration of this film and I am really in to this comic series. So I was extra hyped up to see a movie involving these characters.
This comic series was really a glorious sci-fi epic and I have already pre-ordered the second volume which will be coming out in December of this year in graphic novel form. But obviously I’m not here to review a comic I’m here to review a film and this film did a pretty decent job of adapting the comic.
I will start with the cast although there isn’t really much to go into with this cast. I suppose the cast wasn’t bad they just didn’t really do much per se, especially in terms of the overall plot and they don’t relate too much back to the comics. There are two exceptions to this. Majorly being Michael Rooker of Walking Dead fame playing Yondu who delivers a pretty decent performance and Karen Gillan who famously played Amy Pond in Dr Who as Nibular who does fantastic work in this role playing an excellent one single minded villain. But with some conflict motivation seriously I still can’t believe it’s her, the make-up effects are brilliant and she really plays a different sort of character to her usual roles.
But in this sort of movie you only really want to talk about the heroes and the villains when it comes to the cast because if you don’t get them right you then your movie is really going to suffer. In this incarnation of Guardians of the Galaxy we have Peter Quill AKA Star Lord played by Chris Pratt, Gamora played by Zoe Saldana, Drax played by Dave Batista, of professional wrestling fame, Groot played by Vin Diesel and Rocket played by Bradley Cooper, of Hangover fame. When I first heard the casting it was a bit of a worry because most of these guys have not been in films that I have enjoyed but I genuinely enjoyed this cast. They really got into their characters and gave pretty decent performances. I will say with the exception of Dave Bastista playing Drax. He is not bad at playing Drax per se but I couldn’t switch off my head that I was just watching the same guy who power bombed John Cena at wrestlemaina.
Rocket is my favourite character from the comics and in the film it is no different. Bradley Cooper really, really brings this character to life and to be honest with you after reading the comic I definitely imagined someone like Bradley Cooper playing this character. Admittedly I’m still not really a fan of his other films but I will definitely insist that he comes back to play this character in future sequels and to be honest with you I also really got a kick out of Chris Pratt playing Star Lord. He really can play all of these sorts of emotional, heroic and comedic moments to a tee and considering he has to carry most of the film that is saying a lot. As for the comparison of the characters to the comic, the personalities are intact although there are a few slight changes to the comic origin. In the comics, Peter Quill forms the Guardians to be a proactive team to defend the galaxy and most importantly the Nova corps. In the film the group are essentially outlaws and bounty hunters that are forced together by circumstances and whilst I wasn’t as keen on the new origin as I was on the comic origin I think it does pretty well for a general movie going audience and it was still at least in the spirit of the original characters so I don’t mind this change too much. Other than that personalities remain intact so I’m dead happy with these characterisations.
The character that gives some of the biggest changes which isn’t that big is the villain Ronan the Accuser played by Lee Pace. In the comics he wasn’t too much of the overall villain which is definitely a change that has been made for the movie. The comics had him more down as a sort of enforcer, neither good nor bad but would potentially be a threat if he decided he wanted you or anyone else dead. The film definitely goes more towards a straight villain and it’s not bad just different, still getting in the spirit of the original and is an adaptation that kind of makes sense. Also I can’t get over the bad ass design he has been given to this film. Kudos to the make-up department on that one!
Which brings me to the action sequences and visual effects. Now while this film was available in 3D due to scheduling circumstances I wasn’t able to go and see it in 3D so I had to settle for a regular performance but this definitely didn’t hinder my enjoyment. Most of the effects definitely didn’t feel like they were made for 3D, only being enhanced by the 3D with one or two exceptions mind you but this has definitely got some brilliant action sequences, though not as good as the action sequences in my favourite Marvel film, being Avengers Assemble but they are definitely there and some of the best sci-fi action I’ve seen in ages which will probably make this on a lot of peoples top ten favourite films lists just on the action alone. You could really tell from the people in the theatre that they really liked how some of the sequences played out. I will say, however, a couple of the sequences do suffer from typical superhero action movie fight scene troubles, mainly being that the camera was too close so I couldn’t tell what the hell was going on, probably in an attempt to cover up the wire work.
However I will say when the fight scenes are good they are really good and like most Marvel films you will feel every action that takes place on screen. But on the same note visually this film is gorgeous. Its visual design gives the real feeling that you are in space and while the designs reflected some aspects of the comic very well though I did feel that some of the plants looked a bit too Utopian for a Guardians of the Galaxy story. My favourite effect was definitely the crew piloting into Knowhere which is an effect that was translated so well to the comics. The only other major effects to speak about were the CGI put in place to bring to life Groot and Rocket and while you could sort of tell they were computer effects I did manage to turn off my brain a lot and not just see a computer effect but see these characters. I’m hoping I will be able to do the same thing with the Ninja Turtle film which will be getting reviewed in October. You can really see that Vin Diesel put a lot of effort into his motion capture for the Groot character. I don’t know whether he did more of the actual physical fight effects or not so I can’t really comment on that one but the character does move without looking like he’s got a stick stuck up his arse like some really bad CG characters have looked in the past.
As for the plot itself I had a blast with it. This film got a really nice balance of action, comedy and some serious drama. I will say this film has hilarious moment after hilarious moment. In the cinema I was in there were laughs going almost every minute and it is just generally an all round fun film to watch and that is a lot considering how superhero films have kind of gone these days. I’m not saying I disliked films like The Dark Knight for going completely serious but it’s nice to see a superhero film that is just absolutely fun without insulting the audience’s intelligence. So my complete respect to Writer and Director James Gunn. He really delivered this plot to us in a way that will be appeasing to both comic fans and to the general movie audience which definitely seemed to be the impression I got from the general audience coming out of the cinema with me.
Do I have any negatives? I do have a couple. As I said Dave Batista playing the role of Drax can vary in his acting ability, although mind you considering some acting performances done by wrestlers in previous films this year this is actually pretty damn well good. I’m looking at you Dwayne Johnson in Hercules. I also will say Ronan’s lines can come across as quite a hammy performance at times. But I suppose it adds a bit to the fun level. I would also say for a series with a cast as large as Guardians of the Galaxy not as many characters were used that could have been used. I get characters like Mantis, Quasar and Adam Warlock not showing up in this film. That makes sense, they are probably there for future sequels as well as some of the other villain choices you could have for a future sequel. Ronan probably was a good idea for the first film. But I think the ultra missed opportunity was not including Cosmo. He barely gets a cameo in a later segment where the Guardians are trying to drop off the artefact that drives the plot to a character called the Collector. The problem is this cameo will only make sense if you have read the comics and I would have quite liked to have seen more of it. Maybe he will turn up in the next film and I would be dead glad for that but who wouldn’t want to see a super intelligent dog that was sent into space by Russians that works as a liaison for the Guardians to the Nova corps and practically runs knowhere!
If I can take a moment to get away from the negativity I will say my favourite scene in the movie was definitely the scene which introduced Thanos to the movie and this character is brilliant. We are finally getting more of a look into him since he was teased in the closing credits of Avengers Assemble. His design is great the scene is paced perfectly. The characterisation is done well and I am really looking forward to this character turning up in Avengers Age of Ultron. I also would like to give praise to the great soundtrack as well which with a couple of songs gave a great mix of songs from the 70’s and 80’s
I think it’s time I summed up. Overall this movie was really good. I genuinely had a great time watching it and while it didn’t reflect the comic perfectly it didn’t need to reflect the comic perfectly. There were a few missed opportunities but I think the sequels will make up for it and when I eventually get round to reviewing them they will probably play a part in my opinion. Is this one of my favourite films of the year? Maybe. A lot of people have said that this was better than avengers assemble but I will disagree but that was a tough act to beat. I may put it in my top ten films of the year, which will be published at the end of this year or the beginning of next year (I haven’t fully decided on a schedule at that time yet) but I’m not even sure if this is my favourite Marvel film of the year. I think it about on a par with Captain America the Winter Soldier but I’ll reflect on it and probably give you an update later on that.
My final thoughts are definite. This one is definitely one to check out if nothing else get a DVD rental of it. Hell go ahead and buy it I would go that far recommending it. Though I will say get it in Blu-Ray if you can. This film deserves to be visually marvelled (no pun intended).
Well Film Society that’s another one down. Was I right in saying that this was a great way for Marvel to end its cinematic year or did I get it completely wrong? Drop us a comment I would love to hear from any opinions, whether it’s confirming my previous thoughts or telling me that I’m an idiot and everyone hated this film. I’m open to any comment.
Now this would normally be the time I would tell you what the next film is going to be and when it is going to be online, however, I did promise this was a double feature so if you want to find out, check out my Lucy review. Go on, it’s online now!
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