Friday, July 15, 2016

MR Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

A few people asked for it on deviantArt, it's time for my very first MCU film review! And for this very purpose, let's get hooked on a feeling!~

Ooga-chaka, ooga-ooga!!
I would like to dedicate this review Li'l Sebastian, you're 5000 candles in the wind, buddy...

Hooked on a Feeling for more Guardians of the Galaxy reviews:

Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy
Directed by James Gunn 
Release date August 2014
Genre Superhero/Science-fiction/Space opera film
Country USA

As soon as this was announced, I knew it would become my favorite Marvel film. It had everything going for it, in my book, and then some!

Yet, people doubted. Some made fun of it. "A talking tree and a raccoon with guns?!"

Guardians of the Galaxy sure came out of nowhere.

Even taking it as a standalone film experience, foregoing the whole Marvel Studios behind or the fact it's another one of those ever-present comic book films, it's a fantastic science-fiction adventure film on its own right!

Based Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy comic book series, the film was written and directed by Troma alumni and director of Slither and Super James Gunn, on an initial pitch from writer Nicole Perlman.

A space opera film from Marvel? Sign me in!

We are introduced to Peter Jason Quill in style - aka "the Star-Lord". Peter Quill grew up in space after losing his mother and being abducted by some aliens. You see, Peter has never known his father and left without any family he might as well live a life on adventure along the alien Yondu and his crew of space pirates.

These days Peter does some good, some bad, 'bit of both really. After being pursued by the Kree Empire and their "Accuser" Ronan, Peter ends up locked in a maximum prison asteroid by the Nova Corps along the most dangerous woman in the universe Gamora, two bounty hunters Rocket Raccoon and Groot the talking tree from Planet X, and this violent though guy Drax the Destroyer who is trying to settle a score with Thanos, the Mad Titan himself.

The five more or less team up to escape from the prison. They find refuge on Knowhere, a giant head from a Celestrial long dead. They finally get their hands on the Infinity Stone which puts them at odds with the Collector, Ronan and Gamora's half sibling, another "daughter" of Thanos, Nebula.

Star-Lord and his self-appointed "Guardians of the Galaxy" decide to go back to Xandar, home of the Nova Empire, along the help of Yondu's Ravagers to face Ronan and get the "Power" Infinity Stone back in one epic final confrontation!

At the end of the story, the team is finally officially formed. Peter Quill & co go aboard "the Milano" and run off to more space adventures!

As per Marvel tradition, we are treated to a bonus post-credits scene. We're back in the Collector's shop back on Knowhere. Suddenly pops up a certain Marvel duck nobody ever hoped we would ever get to see again in a modern big budget Marvel movie on the big screen, specially one part of the "Marvel Cinematic Universe"!

As per James Gunn production tradition, the film features a pretty great cast of genre favorites and cult favorite figures as usual. Chris Pratt stars as the role he was born all along to play, he used to be pretty fun as Andy Dwyer back on Parks and Recreation and he's great leading man material. Zoe Saldana brings Gamora to life with a lot of fun as well, although I'm sure some fans complained she wasn't "big or tall enough" for the role. Dave Bautista took his role as Drax very seriously, he's not just the strong silent type but also brings a lot of comedy relief with his character, he even took some acting lessons to play along his costars. The team is joined with Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot (in most of the foreign releases of film!!) who mostly did a lot of grunts and "I Am Groots" similar to his previous role in the animated film The Iron Giant as well as some of the motion capture for Groot. Rounding up the Guardians we finally have the late addition of Bradley Cooper who gave a lot of personality through his voice work, while Sean Gunn, James Gunn's brother stood in during filming.

The rest of the cast features Lee Pace, a Michael Rooker clearly having a lot of fun even though his Yondu's a far cry from the original year 3000 Guardian from the comics, the gorgeous Karen Gillan playing the deadly Nebula, Djimon Hounsou, comedian John C. Reilly, Glenn Close in a surprise Nova role, a really fun Benicio del Toro as the Collector, as well as a lot of cameos from familiar faces most noticeably Stan Lee in a quick hilarious cameo here as well as Troma Entertainment co-founder Lloyd Kaufman and James Gunn regular Nathan Fillion as an inmate, Rob Zombie and composer Tyler Bates as Ravagers and finally Seth Green as the voice of Howard the Duck, ain't no way to conceal it!

Thor sort of hinted at this big cosmic side of the Marvel Universe, but Guardians of the Galaxy is the one to finally get to do it properly!

Honestly I would imagine a Nova or a Captain Marvel film would have done it first, who'd a thunk that?!?

Screenwriter Nicole Perlman had been looking at different Marvel proprieties. Since she was a big fan of science-fiction she looked at that type of Marvel comics on the cosmic side, looking at less known Marvel proprieties before settling on Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's Guardians of the Galaxy 2008 revamp.

Jame Gunn would sweep in to get a chance to direct the film as well as write it. James Gunn was able to get in front of other contenders most notably comedic director Peyton Reed who would go on directing Ant-Man. James Gunn really wanted to make this film about the GotG, which both surprised and pleased Avengers director and Marvel creative consultant Joss Whedon.

He would completely rewrite the script because he honestly didn't like it much. Getting some ideas from Dan Jurgens' first introduction of this team in the comics which was settled around a prison break to make the characters more of antiheroes, giving the film a Dirty Dozen vibe.

He also put a lot more emphasis on the music in the film (adding the "Walkman").

Guardians of the Galaxy is such a great science-fiction adventure film.

The film has the though job of being set completely far off any audiences-familiar Iron Man or Hulk, in space, and being almost completely cut off from the rest, yet it had to set a few story elements for those other later movies such as Thanos' increasing presence and yet another "plot device" Infinity Stone.

But the experiment turned out great! Because the film takes its science-fiction world and elements very seriously while having a lot of fun with this cast of characters.

It has a great witty sense of humor, some of the best action scenes and some really impressive special effects. After having worked on such small budgets, it's great to see James Gunn play with such a special effects-driven big budget blockbuster!

The space dogfights, Star-Lord's mask and Rocket & Groot came out specially good. All pretty comic book-accurate and yet giving a new dimension to these elements. The proper Nova character is only alluded here while we get introduced to his Nova Corps in full and functional form. (Oh, and Marvel keeps teasing Adam Warlock's cocoon again, after its appearance in Thor).

Guardians of the Galaxy finally brings an important side of Marvel Comics' which had been missing from the big screen so far, with talking raccoons and walking trees.

A lot of people doubted the project and feared this would be the tipping point that would finally lose mainstream audiences... yet it turned out into one of their greatest achievements!

The character of Star-Lord was such a fun concept on the paper, originally Marvel's answer to DC Comics' Adam Strange, or also John Carter or Flash Gordon. Since he joined Dan Abnett's reimagining of the Guardians of the Galaxy he was finally able to come into his own and lead his own space-based Avengers-like team.

For a bunch of obscure Marvel proprieties (the logistics behind whom all these characters were created by sounds like a corporate nightmare.. yet only Howard's creator is properly credited on screen!), the film turned into a newcomer-friendly enough product.

For a film made on a modest-enough budget, it would go on breaking a lot of box office records, closely behind the first Avengers and Iron Man films. One of Marvel's highest selling films to this very day!

It's simple, in my eyes it's my favorite Marvel film to date.

The film is really great, fun, just a blast. First and foremost because it works so well on its own as a standalone feature film unlike some of Marvel's weakest entries. Even though fans will love trying to connect it to the world of the Avengers thanks to the looming presence of Thanos and an appearance of another Infinity Stone.

The film has such a great tone! A lot of kickass action scenes. A lot of humor. Fantastic special effects. And a sound department that received just as much care!

It's great to se director James Gun given a bigger budget like that, he could finally get to stretch his creativity and just have a blast with a bunch of unlikely protagonists!

It's also a very musical film, music plays a lot in giving this film a lot of personality. While musical scores have been hit and miss with some of these Marvel films, Guardians was allowed to go big. Composer Tyler Bates went loud with a big space opera-style score sort of riffing of cues taken from Marvel's Avengers. But the soundtrack also makes a lot of appropriate uses of cult songs from the 1960s and 1970s, first and foremost Blue Swede's cult hit "Hooked on a Feeling". Thanks to the plot device of a mixtape given to Peter Quill by his mother, his last connection to the Earth he left behind. James Gunn hand-picked all these songs looking at different hits from the 80s. The Guardians of the Galaxy's Awesome Mix Vol. 1 tape is just as big part in the film success in my eyes, featuring a lot of cult songs including a James Gunn favorite (see Lollipop Chainsaw) "Cherry Bomb" by The Runaways!

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy comes Highly Recommended!

I really loved this film, it was easily both my favorite and the best Marvel Studios film so far. And I even had a lot of expectations for this one, not as many doubts as others. Following one of the best most memorable trailers we have seen in a while, one of my favorites from the last few years just off a kickass Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. And like Scott Pilgrim, the film was mostly propelled through a fantastic soundtrack which was a really huge important aspect of the film.

Marvel has been sort of forced to get pretty creative with their proprieties in stock since they had no access to either Spider-man (at that point) or the X-Men. And they made this movie out of revamped comic book team mostly known by comic book purists, a movie containing so many Jack Kirby creations, from Groot to Ronan!

The film has a great tone and sense of humor. In my eyes easily one of the best performance of Bradley Cooper's career so far! (Anyone still remember when this guy used to play a secondary character on Alias?) And the finale took place on a daylight sky above a planet, which was really different from all the usual Star Wars-esque star-field battles.

If anything this proved Marvel could do no wrong, and gave a huge boost of popularity to the Guardians, Marvel finally launching an all-new "Marvel Now" comic book series for the characters written by Avengers Assemble writer Brian Bendis.

Obviously with such a huge success, a sequel was quickly announced while the film was still in theaters making a ton of money to Marvel Studios. And the appropriately-titled Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is scheduled to be released next year on May 5, 2017 in theaters.

I give it:
3 / 3 Keatons!

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