Saturday, August 2, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy [A Fat Jesus Movie Review]

I've been waiting for 'Guardians of the Galaxy' for awhile. With each new tidbit of information my interest grew. I was apprehensive in the early stages of that this would turn in to. All of that has since been obliterated, as this film is one of the best all around movies Marvel has ever put out. The synergy, atmosphere, story and characters they developed, in what isn't an Avengers related film, is quite amazing. Chris Pratt leads an almost ragtag group of actors in a Marvel action flick and makes it seem like he's been in character for years. 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is everything a Michael Bay film wants to aspire to be, but never will.

"I am Groot."

'Guardians of the Galaxy' follows the story of Peter Quill/Starlord (Chris Pratt) as he is abducted from earth as a child and grows up to become a space pirate under Yondu (Michael Rooker). Twenty six years later we meet a grown up Quill who is stealing a mysterious sphere-like object from the planet Morag. He is intercepted by Korath (Djimon Hounsou), who is sent my Kree Ronan (Lee Pace), but manages to escape with the sphere. Once Ronan is informed that Quill has escaped he sends his assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to retrieve it. Things turn sour for Quinn when he returns to Xandar and the person he is selling to backs out. While all this is happening,Yondu is putting a bounty on Quinn's head. Two bounty hunters, a genetically engineered raccoon, Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and a treelike humanoid, Groot (Vin Diesel), are already on Xandar. They begin to hunt Quinn as Gamora takes the sphere from him. A fight filled chase ensues between the four and eventually they are all incapacitated, arrested or both. They are sent to a prison facility called the Klyn, and the four band together once they learn of Zamora's plan to sell the sphere. They enlist the help of fellow inmate, Drax The Destroyer (Dave Bautista), and begin on what they think is a quest to sell a mysterious sphere. What they don't know, is the unimaginable power that lies inside and that the most powerful being in the universe wants to control it.

"They balled up my pants! Rude! They folded yours!"

We'll start with the story that ties in with everything that is happening in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Which is pretty cool. This isn't just some spin-off movie. Thanos is revealed in full, shout-out to Josh Brolin, and we also now know what the Infinity Stones do and why they are so sought after by the aforementioned Thanos. They've already announced 'Guardians of the Galaxy 2' and who knows who's gonna be able to be in that film as the Marvel movies keep churning out. James Gunn, the director of this fine film, is also signed on and I think he did a brilliant job with this film. There's a ton of CGI, but I feel like the cinematography as a whole and the overall direction was brilliant. The scenes in space are beautiful, the grittiness of desolate planets are highly apparent and I loved the design of Xandar. Speaking of CGI and things of that nature, this movie is chalk full of it. Some of the scenes it's noticeable, and one of the chase scenes was kinda iffy. Despite the few rough spots, the CGI was really done well in this film. The action, throughout was also done pretty well too and there was a metric ton of it littered throughout this. The fights set in space were fun and explosive and then when hand to hand combat was involved no one was slacking either. The seamlessness of all the visuals blending together with the characters and writing really made this a fun movie. If there's one complaint out of me about this movie it definitely isn't the soundtrack either. They set the tone early and every track that followed was so perfectly placed, it was beautiful to listen to. Not to mention the fantastic score to go along side this. This is probably the best score and soundtrack to a Marvel film that I've ever heard and it's truly one of the best parts of the film. This is a movie that is two hours long, but one that gets you so wrapped up and entertained you're not even gonna notice the time flying by. I do wanna touch one one thing that kinda irked me and it's my biggest flaw with this film. That's the way they used Ronan in the film. He's supposed to be this bad-ass super villain, but it more felt like he was a supporting character, that was just a placeholder until Thanos comes along to wreak havoc.

"I don't think anyone is 100% a dick."

There is so much other stuff to talk about that it almost boggles my mind. I don't think I have another "bad" thing to say about this film either so I'm already going to cliche this as a "glowing review." I've bought completely into Marvel and what they're doing with the cinematic universe. It doesn't matter if the film is main series or one that's kind of off the radar like 'Guardians of the Galaxy.' Marvel is going in for all their movies and I love it. We'll start with the writing and I really loved the way they got us used to these characters seamlessly. I felt like, by the end of the film, that I knew them. I loved that I had a connection to them as not just people on a screen I paid money to see. The way the audience connected with a raccoon, a walking tree and space thief, is truly amazing. The story was pretty solid as well. It wasn't just a bunch of degenerates who banded together and found out how to be good. It was a superhero story that felt more like an grand adventure rather than your usual "good vs bad leading to a final fight." Not saying that all this formulaic stuff wasn't there, but it's one of the films where I didn't even care one bit because I was so enthralled. All this is directly tied to the acting. This is the year of Chris Pratt and I've loved this guy ever since I first started watching 'Parks and Recreation.' Pratt is the true star of this film, no pun intended, and carries the film with each scene that he's in. He has such a good chemistry with all of his co-stars, including two that are merely CGI. His comedic timing is spot on, his emotion shines through and even the action sequences involving him were pretty damn good too. He is the glue that holds the cast together. But, that doesn't mean everyone else involved is slacking at all. One of the biggest surprises is Dave Batista as Drax The Destroyer. I'm a pro wrestling fan and I've been watching Batista for years now. Only a handful times have I ever been as entertained by this man. His comedic timing in this is impeccable and got a ton of laughs out of me. Plus, his action scenes were great as I think that's what came most naturally to him. Bradley Cooper as Rocket was great as well. It's not often that live action and CGI mesh so well, but Bradley Cooper walked the line perfectly. Never did I ever think in the middle of this type of movie I could get major feels out of a genetically engineered raccoon, or laugh at his antics. Well, maybe the second part of that. The other half of this duo was Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel. He doesn't say much, well anything aside from "I am Groot." When he does speak, there's always a laugh, smile or a welling of emotions afterward. Finally, Gamora was someone that took a little bit to get accustomed to out of these five. Her action scenes are great and he back story is pretty detailed in the film. Zoe Saldana was just playing the same green alien role that she only played okay in 'Star Trek' to me. She wasn't bad, but she really was the kinda weakest point of all five of them. That's not saying much though when they all have such a great chemistry on-screen.

"I look around and you know what I see? Losers!... But life's giving us a chance."

'Guardians of the Galaxy' is probably the best action film you're gonna see all summer. It's also one of my favorite films of the year so far. The story, characters, action, look and humor were all done exceptionally and I don't think I need to praise this anymore. It also felt like a lite version of 'The Avengers' and that's part of the reason it's gonna be liked as well. Amidst all the lightheartedness there's some real emotion and you really do get hit hard at points in the film. I think that's what really made me have a great time. It wasn't just the fantastic humor or the awesome visuals. It was the fact that during all that, we still got a chance to relate, feel sadness, happiness, joy or pain with who we were watching on screen. That's what movies are all about right? Having fun and connecting with your audience. Marvel, you have the formula down, keep 'em coming.

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