Guardians of the Galaxy Review

guardians of the galaxy

Welcome to The Otaku Judge, your best source for reviews on the latest movies. Today I am critiquing Guardians of the Galaxy, which um… came out almost three years ago! Yeah I am a little behind on the Marvel cinematic universe, but what better time to watch this film than now when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has just hit cinemas? Featuring a group of lesser-known superheroes, the titular Guardians of the Galaxy comprise of five intergalactic misfits led by Peter Quill aka Star-Lord. Quill (played by Chris Pratt) is the team’s sole human. He grew up amongst the cosmos and became a rogue after being abducted by space pirates at a young age. Yarr.

OVERVIEW

Guardians of the Galaxy begins with Star-Lord pilfering a mysterious orb right under the noses of some unfriendly aliens. Unbeknownst to him the sphere houses a powerful Infinity Stone, which Kree fanatic Ronin the Accuser desires. When Star-Lord attempts to sell off the orb he is intercepted by Ronin’s underling Gamora and a pair of bounty hunters named Rocket and Groot, who are after the price on outlaw Quill’s head. The ensuing battle royale that follows is eventually quelled by the Nova Corps police force, culminating in the rowdy foursome getting incarcerated. Whilst serving time at the Kyln penitentiary Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket and Groot encounter an inmate named Drax whose sole purpose in life is to kill Ronin, as payback for the murder of his family.

The above mentioned quintet patch up their differences and agree to team up in order to escape prison, cash in on the lucrative Infinity Stone and give Ronin a good kicking. Thus the Guardians of the Galaxy are born. Star-Lord shuns modern technology in favour of listening to music on a Walkman. Zoe Saldana plays Gamora. After being Uhura in Star Trek she now assumes the role of a green skinned beauty (the kind that Kirk likes to bang.) Drax is the humourless strongman who takes everything too literally. Rocket is a crotchety racoon that uses his gift for tinkering to construct weaponry. His best pal is the humanoid tree named Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel.) Out of the entire cast Diesel had the easiest time memorizing lines because his character’s vocabulary is limited to the phrase “I am Groot.”

VERDICT

My rating for Guardians of the Galaxy is a four out of five. The movie wasn’t the tour de force that word of mouth had led me to believe, but overall it was above average when compared to other mindless popcorn flicks. I appreciated seeing Marvel expand their horizons outside of Earth for a change and even if the plot is nothing special there’s never a dull moment thanks to the brawls, spaceship dogfights and moments of hilarity. My favourite Guardians were Rocket and Groot, which probably doesn’t say a lot for the live action acting given that they are both CG characters… and one of them can barely speak! That said I think Dave Bautista acquitted himself well in the role of Drax. Compared to other wrestlers turned actor, he may lack Dwayne Johnson’s charisma but he still made me chuckle by playing the straight man very well.

Tradition decrees that I close off a Marvel Studios movie review by lambasting the villain, so here goes. Just like Malekith in the Thor sequel, Ronin is nothing more than a generic baddie coated in makeup. The motivation for his evil acts is barely explored, so it feels like he is only there to give the heroes someone to beat up. In one brief cameo appearance upcoming Avengers antagonist Thanos exuded more personality than Ronin did in two hours. Thanos gives the air of someone not to be trifled with, even if he has trouble keeping his lackeys under control. Over the course of Guardians of the Galaxy’s story Ronin double crosses him and the same goes for his two adoptive daughters. Man, it’s so difficult to find reliable henchmen these days!

28 thoughts on “Guardians of the Galaxy Review

  1. I think anyone watching this movie after all the high praise and reviews will of course inflate their expectations. I think when this originally hit, no one expected much and it was a very pleasant surprise for everyone. Also, this movie has some of Marvel’s best humor and breaks out of their mold by far the most. Chris Pratt’s comic timing had been clear in Parks & Rec, which really helped sell this flick. I’m amazed at how great Rocket and Groot work. A lot had to hinge on the CGI working.

    It’s also what gave Marvel the reassurance it needed to start doing different types of movies. Not sure if we would’ve gotten an Ant-man, Dr Strange, or Thor Ragnarok if this bombed.

    • Expectations certainly influence people’s opinions on a movie. Sometimes it is best go radio silent so you can judge a film on its merits and not against the hype. Back when Guardians came out I thought it might be Marvel’s biggest flop, as the characters are relatively obscure. Good to see that I was proven wrong and that brand recognition is not the end all when it comes to box office success.

    • Yeah, I can confirm that was the case. When this came out, of all the Marvel movies at the time, I was expecting this one to totally lose me. A friend had to drag me to the theater. And it ended up being my favorite of the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far. Those expectations do count for nothing.

      Bautista totally pulled out all the stops here. Did you see him bend in the middle to sit down at the end? I’d been watching him in wrestling for years without him being able to do that. His finisher was a sit-out powerbomb, except he couldn’t sit-out. But now he can! Just think of how many hours of training, how many takes it took, just to get that right!

  2. My post about the sequel should’ve been done like yesterday, but I’ve not finished it yet.

    Agree with all you’ve said here. To me, it’s a 9/10 just for the fun factor. It might even be Marvel’s best looking film yet.

    • I look forward to reading the review. Sounds like you enjoyed Guardians a little more than I did. I probably would have rated the movie even higher if I would have checked it out when it originally came out. Watching it now I just can’t help compare it to the newer Marvel flicks, which I have found to be either funnier or more spectacular action wise.

  3. Guardians’ massive success is what made it clear to fans of the MCU that Marvel Studios is capable of making a good movie regardless of how obscure their stars are. I mean I had no idea who Rocket was before playing Marvel vs Capcom 3 and the main reason I wanted to this movie at first was because of Rocket and that Batista was in it. Not only was it a really good movie but the cast fit perfectly in the MCU and made us look forward to more from them in the sequel (Which I personally think is also a good movie) and seeing what they’ll bring to the table when they cross paths with the other heroes.

    • I was familiar with Guardians of the Galaxy prior to this film, as they have appeared in some Marvel cartoons. Wasn’t expecting the movie to be such a big hit though. Glad that it did well at cinemas, as it will encourage film makers to produce more flicks starring lesser known characters. New stuff is good. I would rather watch a Ms Marvel feature for example than yet another Spider-Man.

  4. I can remember convincing my friends to go see it. If they were skeptical I would add: “… and did I say that there is a TALKING RACCOON!?!!?”

    Regarding his 1970s mix tape: I owned a good number of those songs. Actually it is only about 35 minutes. It would get old after awhile. I can’t wait to hear that second mix tape his mother left him : )

    (Cough) Shameless self promoting again.

    https://dennysinnoh.wordpress.com/2014/08/20/best-audio-moment-from-guardians-of-the-galaxy/

    • You can make anything better with more raccoons (or more tanukis as the editor in Nozaki-Kin would say.)

      I don’t usually notice a movie’s soundtrack, but liked how they incorporated music into the film via the mix-tape. Given that I am an eighties kid I’m hoping the sequel will feature tunes from that era.

  5. Recently, on the Internet or TV or something, I kept hearing “Star-Lord” “Star-Lord”, and I was like, who the heck is Star-Lord? Then on TV a few days ago, there was nothing on so I put on the animated GotG series and learned the truth. I just always heard the guy’s name as Peter. So no matter how far you think you’re behind, I’m waaaaaay back at the starting line.

  6. Funnily enough I only saw the original last weekend, but then managed to catch the sequel at the cinema earlier this week.

    I agree it’s a good, fun film (if not as good as the hype suggests). I know there are a lot of people who will disagree with me, but I actually enjoyed the sequel more. I thought it was more consistently funny and the characters (shorn of the need to explain their backstories) worked better.

    I tend to be a bit of a meaner scorer than you, but I’d give the original 3 stars and the sequel 3.5 so we’re in the same ballpark.

    • Looking back at my reviews I do seem to be more generous than some when it comes to rating films. A movie has to be really terrible to get a two or lower from me.

      If the sequel is funnier I may end up enjoying it more than the original too. When it comes to enjoyment I put more stock in comedy than action.

  7. I’m actually going to watch this later tonight because my friends want to see the sequel and apparently I’m the only one who hasn’t watched the first, lol. I’m going in with low expectations because it’s been so over-hyped and I’ve had a tendency to be disappointed when such high expectations are placed on a film/book/series. Nevertheless, based on your review I think I might actually enjoy it more than I predicted.

  8. Can’t dissent with the notion that the hype hurts its appeal for some people, yours truly included. I found this to be decent; fun but not the paradigm shifting classic many made it out to be. If anything, Deadpool is closer to deserving that honour, but it will be a while before the mould is truly broken again.

  9. Great review! I didn’t quite enjoy the movie as much as everyone else seemed to, but I still thought it was a fun take on space superheroes. I’m glad Marvel decided to give focus on this lesser-known property too. I’m seeing the sequel tonight, so I wonder how it’ll be.

  10. Pingback: The Versatile Blogger Award | meltingpotsandothercalamities
  11. When I first saw the preview, I thought “Marvel has too much money so they’re making a movie with a walking tree and talking raccoon. That’s hilarious.” I’d never heard of these characters, but my IRL BFF said it was as good as Avengers and better than Age of Ultron (though the latter statement doesn’t say much since Age is arguably the weakest of the MCU movies similar to Iron Man 3. Of course this could just be my opinion). I was quite shocked that Marvel had been able to make a movie with D list characters barely anyone had heard about unless they’d read the comics, and it worked. We didn’t have the benefit of the five movie back stories of Phase I, and yet, you still knew enough about these people to care about them. In customary Marvel style, you could be laughing one minute, and then heartbroken the next. I think Rocket hands down gets the best lines. His “We all have dead people” really got to me, and when he was explaining (drunkenly when he and Drax nearly got into a fight before they saw that dealer) about how he didn’t ask to be made were definite “Whoa…” moments. The film made me want research these characters and possible read some of their comics. I’ve only done the former so far, because I can’t even read the graphic novels I already own, but I agree with the sentiment about expectations. I was expecting something less cohesive, and I got something that I place close to Avengers in likability.

    • This movie and Ant-Man show that with good creators any movie can work, even if the characters aren’t mainstream. Fingers crossed that some day we will see a Squirrel Girl film. Good point on how Guardians delivers a strong team movie without using several films to build up to it. That’s something DC couldn’t manage with Justice League or Suicide Squad.

      • I still need to see Ant-Man. I loved his character in Civil War.

        I really wish DC would get its act together and freaking promote Wonder Woman! I know I’m going to see it, but I didn’t even know it was coming out June 2 until I read an article talking about how they were barely promoting it 😡

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