IMJ Geek Film Review™ – Guardians of the Galaxy

IMJ Geek Film Review Danielle Young LogoGuardians of the Galaxy Banner
As I sit here, anxious to tell you all about Guardians of the Galaxy, I’m still smiling from ear to ear. It’s been years since I have spent the entirety of a movie (aside from a few genuinely sad moments) in a euphoric nerd coma. Now, I know that many of my recent reviews have been on the outrageously positive side… But you need to know this– if you didn’t believe me before, you have to believe me now:

This movie is utterly fantastic.

GotG PosterQuick, mostly spoiler-free, plot recap: Tragically orphaned space outlaw Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) steals a rather non-descript orb from an abandoned planet– for no reason other than a monetary reward. What starts out as a run-of-the-mill gig quickly becomes an all-out Intergalactic War between the good, the evil and the just plain greedy.

By the time Quill faces off against assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a couple of delightfully bizarre friends named Rocket and Groot (voiced by Bradley Cooper & Vin Diesel), and the broken, brutish Drax the Destroyer (MMA fighter Dave Bautista)… The orb has landed on the “most wanted” list of Quill’s former band of thieves, who are also hoping to sell it to a very generous buyer. Unfortunately for all– a big, powerful, god-like man (a character you may have all heard of) has sent a dangerous, homicidal maniac named Ronan (Lee Pace) to retrieve it as well.

Guardians will be compared heavily to Marvel’s first insanely successful ensemble film, The Avengers– and that’s okay. Fortunately, Director/Co-Writer James Gunn has succeeded in making a movie that furthers Marvel’s “hilarious band of friends” moviemaking agenda. Except this time around, the group is comprised completely of ne’er-do-wells– and they are allowed to be crass, foul-mouthed and utterly candid.

Placing a lovable (yet unproven at the box-office) actor like Pratt as GotG’s lead (Starlord) is one of the best casting ideas for a Marvel Comics-based film since Fox went with Patrick Stewart as Professor X. Pratt is equally charismatic, compelling and believable. Another set of genius casting choices: Cooper and Diesel. Cooper’s voice is definitely recognizable, but he’s adds a rougher, “mutt” accent to the mix– making Rocket more of a guerilla fighter and less of a rodent. Though Groot is a tree of few words, Diesel’s deep, bass voice resonates with tons of inflections. And while much of Groot’s magnetism comes from his voice– his adorable, completely realistic facial expressions hit the mark every time.

Rounding out the leads, Saldana ably plays the familiar role of a cold-blooded (but tender) assassin, while Bautista impresses with his monotone, yet spot on interpretation of Drax. Pace (most notable from the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies) and Doctor Who graduate Karen Gillan play the main villains– with Michael Rooker creating one of his most charismatic roles ever, as Pratt’s ex-thieving buddy Yondu Udonta.

GotG Main

The chemistry between the cast is clearly the film’s strongest point– which is impressive, considering two of the actors are 100% CGI. Who would’ve thunk it? The jokes never stop coming either… And while I wouldn’t normally characterize any Marvel movie as a comedy, you have to use the catch-all term when describing Guardians. This film is just as funny– if not more so-– than any comedy I have ever seen… But still manages to establish itself as a great comic book adaptation too. There were moments when I was wiping tears from my eyes, while also mentally high-fiving the writers for their infectious wit.

If you love comic book films– or if you need to have your faith restored in them– this movie will do just that. Two hours fly by, leaving you feeling completely satisfied with the experience. GotG revels in its own eccentricities and never takes itself too seriously– ensuring every movie fan (including all the hardcore geeks) will feel catered to. The film’s musical focus is sure to satisfy soundtrack aficionados as well– including all generations of music lovers. With classic gems ranging from the Jackson 5 to Marvin Gaye, Quill’s cherished “Awesome Mix Tape #1” is almost a major character all on its own (and even presents itself as a major plot device at the start of the film’s climax).

I never, ever give anything I review a perfect score (just a personal philosophy)… But in the heat of the moment, I could’ve easily been convinced to do so with this movie. In my Dawn of the Planet of the Apes review, I said I thought I’d found my new favorite film of 2014… But Guardians of the Galaxy may have just dethroned it (if only by an inch). For the sake of always leaving room for improvement… Here’s my score: 9.6/10 – Danielle Young

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12 Responses to IMJ Geek Film Review™ – Guardians of the Galaxy

  1. Mark O'Brien says:

    Great review! Also thanks for making it spoiler free, I won’t be able to see this movie for a week or two.

    I’m very gratified that it looks like this movie is going to hit a home run at the box office. Not going to lie, after a string of huge successes at the box office, this was the movie I thought people would trounce just to take Marvel down a peg or two. Now that it looks like that won’t happen I’m encouraged about the future of Marvel films in general. Lets face it how many Iron Man, Captain America, and Avengers films can they crank out before people get sick of them, no matter what the quality.

    Now if only DC can even capture a little bit of what Marvel is doing when they finally make a Justice League Movie, I can die a happy man. 🙂

    Thanks again for this fine review Danielle.

  2. Tiger Topher says:

    Kyle Smith of the New York Post doesn’t quite share Danielle’s enthusiasm for the film.

    http://nypost.com/2014/07/31/guardians-of-the-galaxy-is-space-junk/

    • Insideman says:

      Hahaha! That’s what you get for reading something from a rag like the New York Post. (A reporter/reviewer working for the Post calling ANYTHING “junk” is one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a while.)

      By the way, why ARE you reading the New York Post? You have much better taste than that! 😉

      • Tiger Topher says:

        I saw a link to the review elsewhere and thought it was ridiculous enough to be worth sharing with the rest of you. Guardians of the Galaxy is receiving nothing but praise from the people going to see it, so it wouldn’t surprise me if this Kyle Smith guy just did the math in his head and figured a negative review would generate more clicks than a positive one.

        • Insideman says:

          I knew what you were doing… I was just messing with you. 🙂 Given that the review came from the NY Post– I have no doubt that’s exactly what happened. Does Rotten Tomatoes even figure in Post reviews when they do their review aggregates?

          If they do, they should stop.

        • ComicBookDude says:

          I remember Toy Story 3 had 100% approval rating for a while until 2 reviews came in that were negative. I read them and their criticisms felt as fake as a $3 bill. Kinda sad that some reviewers favor more traffic for their site over an honest opinion. And it wasn’t just me disagreeing with them, I just could not see why they supposedly hated the movie so much.

    • Insideman says:

      I should note one thing the “reviewer” was “right” about: The Kevin Bacon jokes were only mildly funny (to me). But not every zinger is going to be a winner. I’ve seen films with much better pedigrees give us much worse. Much.

    • ComicBookDude says:

      Wow. If that reviewer honestly hated the movie that much and honestly found no enjoyment at all (even just a tiny bit) he may need to be rushed to the hospital, just to check and make sure he’s still clinically alive.

    • Haha there will always be someone that has to hate the thing that everyone loves. Some men…some men just want to watch the world burn.

  3. Insideman says:

    Another thing: As these types of movies continue to see release, beware of the “snob” film critics who will ALWAYS decry them as fluff. There’s TONS of nice emotional moments in GotG that far aweigh an unfortunate joke that falls flat here or there… All nicely played without rancid manipulation– like some of the heavy-handed elements in movies like Amazing Spider-Man.

  4. Reblogged this on The Dani Planet and commented:
    My review of Guardians of the Galaxy for IMJ. Relatively spoiler free!

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