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Thursday, July 24, 2014


Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
2014, 121 minutes
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language

Review by Joshua Handler

With the exception of Iron Man, I've never loved a Marvel movie.  I certainly enjoy them (even though they're all essentially the same thing), though I've always wished that they would just be a bit more daring.  They usually play it so safe, so when one comes along that takes a major risk and has a unique voice (like Iron Man), it's a welcome thing.

Iron Man was released in 2008, six years ago.  The Avengers was quite good and had Whedon's mark on it, but it wasn't outstanding.  I've been craving something as great as Iron Man and got it with Guardians of the Galaxy which is hands-down the most original, entertaining, and bizarre blockbuster to come along in a very long time.  It isn't just a great Marvel movie, it's a great movie, period.  Director James Gunn perfectly meshes together his own style and sensibilities with those of Marvel to create a movie that left me with a gaping grin on my face.

I'll save you a plot synopsis because that would take away from the space in which I can gush about this movie.  James Gunn and Nicole Perlman wrote the wickedly funny screenplay for this film.  It never takes itself too seriously and makes the characters relatable, something that other Marvel films don't do.  Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is the best lead character anyone could ask for because he's just a regular human being.  He doesn't have any superpowers and is just like any lovable loser you'd meet at a party.  Even characters like Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper), a human-like raccoon and Groot (voice of Vin Diesel), a walking tree-like creature who says only three words ("I am Groot"), are relatable on a human level.

The ensemble of characters in this film works beautifully.  There's something about each one of them that I love and connect to, and that's something I don't say everyday about Marvel characters.  Their interactions and the way that they eventually learn to love and accept each other is wonderfully entertaining and, most of all, touching.

This movie has such a big heart and Gunn shows how much he loves and cares about it every second that this movie runs.  During some points in the first hour I wasn't sure if I was sold on Guardians, but in the second hour, Gunn really pulls out the stops and mixes in some real emotions and stunning action sequences.

Gunn's use of '60s and '70s music is a stroke of genius.  This music starts during the insanely amusing opening credits sequence in which Chris Pratt is dancing around with his headphones on.  These opening credits perfectly set the tone for the rest of the film.

With Guardians, it seems as if everyone knew that they were making something special.  Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and Dave Bautista are the "Guardians" and give this film their all.  They all ooze charisma and do everything they can to add complexity to their already well-written characters.

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy is a complete success.  It's such an exciting film that's a huge breath of fresh air.  Unlike other Marvel films, it is never stale and even the 3D is quite good.  It's amazing to see what happens when a director is allowed to write his own screenplay for a blockbuster.  This movie is James Gunn's vision - he has a very bright career as an action director.



  1. Nice review!
    I haven't seen it yet but just like you, I only really loved the Iron Man movies (progressively less and less with 1 being the best). Looking forward to seeing Coopers voice acting and a 3D film which isn't 3D for the sake of being 3D. Thanks for the review.

    1. Thank you Scott! Have you seen the movie yet? Cooper was one of the highlights, as he always is. I've always enjoyed his work, but it's amazing to see what he's done with great directors like David O. Russell and James Gunn.

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