Guardians of the Galaxy (4 out of 5 Stars)
Directed by: James Gunn (Slither)
Written by: James Gunn (Dawn of the Dead), and Nicole Perlman
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, and voice work from Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel
Marvel's Comic Con panel may have been a bit of disappointment with announcing new projects, really just Guardians of the Galaxy 2? The big question is can a film about a bunch of "losers" who not many people have heard about continue their success. Captain America: Winter Solider is the highest grossing domestic film of the year, can the Guardians set an August box office record, and let's put it out there, is the film any good? Yes to both!
Guardians starts off with a young Peter Quill at the side of his mother dying bed, as he bursts out from her hospital room and into an open field he is immediately captured on a space ship. The films jumps 26 years later where Quill aka Starlord (Pratt) is on the hunt for an orb to sell to the highest bidder. While encountering the orb Quill is met by minions of Ronan the Accuser (Pace) from the Kree Empire. Ronan is after this orb because it contains one of the Infinity Stones. The Infinity Stones are the different elements from the Avengers, and Thor: The Dark World. They are things Thanos, is trying to collect in order to control the Universe.
While on his way to exchange the orb Starlord is attacked by three people with two sets of intentions Gamora (Saldana) step daughter of Thanos, who wants to bring the stone to The Collector (Benicio del Torro), and Rocket, and Groot who want to trade Quill in for the 40,000 unit bounty on his head. The four are arrested on Xandar by the Nova Corps. and taken to prison where they meet Drax the Destoryer (Bautista), and they form an unlikely alliance/friendship to save the Galaxy.
Sounds confusing, lots of new characters, none familiar, to non-comic fans, but this film succeeds on all levels. There is great character development, in fact everyone was perfectly cast. Pratt is a true comedic genius, and he brings Starlord to life, with such great humor and depth. Saldana is impressive as Gamora, and gives life to another badass female super hero in the Marvel universe. Cooper is magnificent as Rocket's voice, and the best part is that you get lost in the character. Batista was the scene stealer of the group, funny, well acted performance, and fantastic in this role. You could not ask for a better cast.
People seem to want Marvel to fail, but this is another impressive addition to their continued live action story development. Gunn who has not done much in the major motion picture world holds his own, creating the humor and heart this film needs to succeed. First time screen writer Nicole Perlman and Gunn created a script that captured each element of the Universe and characters so well. Even if you do not know the mythos behind all of what's going on the duo have put together an impactful/funny script that allows you care about a group of "losers" from a wise cracking raccoon looking being to an tree that barely speaks. Guardians is at times, silly but the action is incredible, the music is great, and the film is just plain fun. This may be the most fun I have at the movies all summer.