Guardians of the Galaxy is everything they said it would be and more. My first suggestion to you would be to stop reading this review, and go quit your job or do whatever you need to do to go see it as soon as possible.
Is it epic and action-packed? Yes. Is it effing hilarious? Yes. Is it Marvel’s best movie so far? Yes (sorry, Iron Man I).
The film is certainly a love letter to Star Wars, but more than that, it’s a love letter to Han Solo. But more on that in a minute.
Without getting too spoilery, Guardians opens on the night Star Lord is abducted and taken from Earth, which just so happens to be the worst night of his young life. Beyond that, not too much time’s wasted on any lengthy origin stories. Remember that bit from the trailer where John C. Reilly’s character gives a description of each character as he watches the prison line-up? Yep…that’s pretty much all you get, and that’s a good thing.
The plot is pretty simple: it’s a MacGuffin grab. The players are the newly-formed Guardians of the Galaxy: outlaw bandit Yondu, Kree warlord Ronan the Accuser and his cronies Korath and Nebula. The latter group may or may not be working directly for a certain deadly space titan named Thanos. Yes, he finally earned his SAG card in this movie.
The MacGuffin itself is an Infinity Stone which is actually called an Infinity Stone. Keep in mind, we’ve seen other Infinity Stones in the Marvel films: the Tesseract from Captain America: First Avenger and Avengers and the Aether from Thor: The Dark World. The Infinity Stone in Guardians is pretty much the same thing — super powerful, could destroy everything, etc.
Also? Stan Lee totally has a cameo in this film. Pretty early on too. So when I saw it, I couldn’t help but wonder why he told us he wouldn’t when we interviewed him back in January:
Anyway, the film’s strengths lie in its humor, its pacing and its balls-out, pew-pew-pew, space action. Director James Gunn’s other work (see: Slither and Super) is darkly hilarious, so I went in to Guardians expecting more of the same. This film blew away his other work. It’s not only his funniest film to date, but it’s Marvel’s funniest film to date. The jokes start pretty much immediately and they’re used expertly to punctuate tense moments and bad-ass action scenes. Guardians is very much a sci-fi action comedy. I can’t think of a single other film that accomplishes that with as much deftness.
The film’s pacing is insane. You start off going a million miles an hour and you never really slow down. Guardians is no Dark Knight Rises. The film never really slows down enough to allow it to catch up with itself…and that’s a great thing. The viewer is never faced with yawn-inducing plot exposition. Sometimes this hurts the film, but never too badly. The first act moved so quickly, it didn’t even feel like a plot at all — more like just a bunch of stuff that just kind of happened. But once the story gets set up, it all makes sense.
This is a space movie and it feels very much like a space movie. None of the action is anything we haven’t seen before, but the visuals are so good and kinetic and striking that you feel like you’re watching something fresh.
As I said before, any Star Wars fan can see Guardians and see bits of their favorite space opera plastered all over this Marvel movie. But it’s Han Solo fans who’ll really appreciate the film the most.
Each character in the Guardians team seems to reflect a single facet of Han Solo’s personality. Star Lord represents the heroic leader in Han. Rocket represents the scoundrel, always out for himself (until it really counts), Gamora represents his deadliness (with a heart of gold, of course), and Drax represents…well…actually, I’m not sure about that one. Drax is just a force of nature…and he’s hilarious.
I know I didn’t bring up Groot. Groot isn’t a manifestation of Han Solo’s qualities. Groot is Chewbacca. I defy anyone to watch Rocket flawlessly interpret Groot’s speech and not think of him otherwise.
In relation to the larger Marvel universe, Guardians feels like a direct follow-up Avengers, as we check back in with The Other and his boss, Thanos. They never directly mention the Chituari attack on Earth, but you get the sense that this what they’ve been up to as Tony, Cap & Thor do their sequel thing.
Look, go see Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s everything you ever wanted in a sci-fi action comedy and it gives us a brand new space opera to get pumped on. It’s fast, flashy and effing funny. I defy you to not love the crap out of it.
Oh yeah, one last thing, and it’s a spoiler:
Howard the Duck is totally in this movie. That should tell you everything you need to know.
What did you think of Guardians of the Galaxy? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @DweebCast. We'll see ya next time!
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.