Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

GOTGGuardians of the Galaxy is the first original content film from Marvel Studios since Captain America: The First Avenger, which came out all the way back in 2011. It’s a risky move for the studio, because like The Avengers it’s a ‘team movie’, but this time around, each character doesn’t get their own movie before hand to set up their character and back story. But Marvel Studios are becoming well known for their risky moves; starting their run of success with Iron Man, a character that very few people knew outside of the comic book fraternity knew, and even in comics wasn’t as big a name as spider-man or batman; to conclusion of what would be known as ‘phase 1’, we’re all their characters assembled together in the blockbuster The Avengers.

It’s another risk that’s paid off, because Guardians of the Galaxy is a fun cosmic romp, filled with the well known Marvel humour and stand out characters. It’s also the next step forward from the cosmic element of Marvel that’s already been established in previous films like Thor and The Avengers.

It’s story is centred around a group that’s brought together through their search of an orb, which has significant value to several threatening people in the galaxy. Our main hero, Peter Quill, finds himself on the run when he comes into possession of this orb, and along the way meets the rest of the Guardians: Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Racoon and Groot.

The main villain of the piece is a Kree outlaw named Ronan, who has agreed to trade the orb with Thanos (who is that guy who turned up at the end of The Avengers), and in return, Thanos will destroy Xander, the centre world of a cosmic police force named the Nova Corps, giving Ronan the revenge he wants against the Nova Corps.

There’s a lot going on, and a lot to get in in a two hour movie. The movie wants all the science fiction goodness of alien worlds, but also wants to build on the expanding Marvel Universe. Because of everything that needs to be established and built, some characters do feel a little under serviced at times.

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The main group, the Guardians, are given plenty of screen time, and each get their moment to shine. The standout character among audiences will mostly likely be Groot, who’s loveable facial expressions were capture using Hollywoods new favourite toy ‘performance capture’ as they were acted out by Vin Diesal. But since he can only say three words (I AM GROOT!), all the best lines are given to Rocket, who is voiced by Bradley Cooper. Chris Pratt also does a great job at being the lead, being very charismatic and handling the action and the emotion scenes well. He also has a background in comedy, so he’s perfect for delivering that Marvel humour. They’re grooming him to be the face of Marvel once Robert Downey Jr is done, and it’s a good choice. Each of these characters could probably handle a film on their own, and we’ll hopefully be seeing much more of them in the future.

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But it’s in the villains were it always feels there could be more. Characters like The Collector and Thanos seem more like they’re there for future movies or to connect previous films, rather than to do anything in Guardians of the Galaxy. As a comic fan, it’s great to see them making us of these smaller characters, but they need more development. And while Ronan looked great, his motivation gets a little dull after a while, since it’s just turns into the typical villain wanting death and destruction of everything. The villain that stands out the most is Karen Gillen’s Nebula. Half alien, half cyborg, adopted daughter of Thanos, she’s not always given much to do, but she delivers it all menacingly well.

This isn’t the first time the villains have been a let down in a Marvel film. Christopher Ecclestons Malekith was overshadowed in Thor: The Dark World by Loki, while The Winter Solider in Captain America: The Winter Solider could have been given so much more back story and character. And I’m not even going to start on the whole Mandarin thing from Iron Man 3! There’s room for improvement in future movies. The villains need to live up to the potential they have. I’ve always said a super hero film is only as good as the villain at the heart of it, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a team movie or a solo or a sequel, it’s not something that should be overlooked and under written.

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Rating: 6 (out of 7): Guardians of the Galaxy is an enjoyable film for everyone, and deserves to be seen on the big screen.

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