Sunday, January 18, 2015

Movie with Abe: Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy
Directed by James Gunn
Released August 1, 2014

If there’s one movie that critical and public audiences seemed to love just as much this year, it’s this one. In its continued quest for entertainment if not world domination, Marvel broke out from its typical comic book movies to offer something that’s very much in the same wheelhouse yet on a whole different level, appealing to younger audiences and slightly more mature crowds at the same time. “Guardians of the Galaxy” certainly is something, but in striving to be so many things at once, it ends up being a decidedly entertaining and utterly unapologetic mess.

Chris Pratt broke out as this year’s everyman with his voicing of the hero in “The Lego Movie,” and, based on word of mouth about this film, it seemed he had done the same thing here. While his profile is certainly boosted by a beloved performance, he’s playing the polar opposite of that character. Peter Quill is a lying, mostly morally bankrupt individual interested only in what benefits him directly, though of course that’s bound to change over the course of the film. Quill, devious and devilish as he is, turns out to be the perfect figurehead for a ragtag band of criminals guilted into trying to save the universe from being conquered by an excessively evil bad guy.

Pratt, who is beyond amazing on “Parks and Recreation,” is a fun choice to bring Quill to life, and he’s surrounded by a strong cast who, more than anything, is having a good time. Zoe Saldana continues to take on roles that find her playing a brightly-colored alien of some sort, and, with this and “Avatar,” she’s proven that she’s exceptionally skilled at it. Bradley Cooper infuses a whole lot of personality as the foul-mouthed Rocket, a 360-degree switch from “American Sniper,” and he steals many of his scenes. Vin Diesel and Dave Bautista round out this random bunch with their appropriately gruff demeanors leading to a certain amount of hilarity.

Overall, “Guardians of the Galaxy” isn’t serious enough to be a true action film, and it fluctuates between being a full-out comedy and something more dramatic without any sort of consistency. It’s not meant to be a knockout intellectual film, but there are moments in which it seems to possess an above-average amount of braininess that, if meted out more evenly, could have produced a more seamless and unforgettable blockbuster. Still, it’s fun, and I can only imagine how many sequels are already in the works.


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