When the lights went out and the opening credits began to roll all I could think was: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Better Not SUCK! I’m happy to report, in a nutshell, that my fanboy dreams were realized as this particular odyssey lived up to my very high expectations.
At its heart this two hour extravaganza is a space opera with a likable cast of damaged characters. It can be said that the out of this world concepts transition beautifully from the comic book page. And yes there were some liberties taken with the source material, but Marvel Studios proved their grasp of the key components in their franchise as they enlisted a creative team that knew what they were doing.
First and foremost the movie oozes with personality thanks to the efforts of its excellent director, James Gunn. We’re given a simple narrative introduction that places our attention on an intergalactic journey with a little boy set at its epicenter. And the filmmaker handles that path so well that the succession of events rarely felt forced, especially as he did the necessary foundation building in order to attract an assassin, two thugs and a maniac.
This group had to quickly become a believable unit and thanks to the comedic timing of Chris Pratt (Peter Quill) they found their anchor. Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax the Destroyer), Vin Diesel (Groot) and Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon) made the experience work as their innate team chemistry absolutely resonated with their intended audience. That said some of the side parts felt a bit overplayed like Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) or underused, case and point John C. Reilly (Samandahl Rey) and Glenn Close (Nova Prime). And let’s not forget the villains as both Karen Gillan (Nebula) and Lee Pace (Ronan the Accuser) nailed their archetypal interpretations.
Thanks to the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 there’s a bright streak of heart in a musical body of work that never steps outside its seemingly preordained boundaries. The orchestral tacks handed in by Tyler Bate do just enough to keep the momentum of this romp flowing, but the composer never really captured my imagination in a way that stuck out. But as the trailers and extensive ad campaign had promised, the expertly selected sounds of the 70s and 80s are what mattered. And whether Star-Lord is breaking and entering or having a shot of dancing fever there’s soul to this machine.
Guardians of the Galaxy left me smiling even as it stuck to the standard Marvel movie formula. My level of awareness in regard to the source material takes me back to my youth, and it gives me a great deal of pleasure to say that this is a feast that’s going to please even the most discerning. There’s no doubt that there are flaws to be found within the confines of this entry, but the joy and excitement this film breeds makes up for its lacking moments. In short: the final product earns accolades and comes highly recommended.