(jp) wrote: 4/1/17After my fourth viewing of Guardians of the Galaxy, I can officially say I'm hooked on a feeling that this will go down as a great classic the Library of Congress must preserve! I say that because everything clicks in this fun, hilarious adventure across the galaxy that's part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but still its own thing. We start with Earth in 1989 where we meet Peter Jason Quill on the day his mother dies in a heart-wrenching opening scene that immediately makes us sympathetic to him, after which, he's abducted by aliens in almost classic "I know a guy who knows a guy" style. Fast forward 26 years and to the other side of the universe, and we're reunited with the boy, now a full-grown man: Star-Lord (Chris Pratt). We get to see him dance before he has to fight his way out of some abandoned building that houses a MacGuffin orb that's related to another MacGuffin orb from another movie. After failing to sell it, Star Lord gets thrown in prison with his assailants and future friends who fight in a public space: Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel). They meet Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) and together, they escape their prison. What follows is an epic, visually stunning, fun romp across the galaxy to stop Ronan the Destroyer (Lee Pace) from carrying out Thanos' (Josh Brolin) will and collecting the orb. While Ronan is reduced to a loudmouth villain, he makes his threat level serious. The characters who could have been reduced to two-dimensional archetypes, but thankfully aren't, are the guardians themselves. We get hooked on Star Lord from the moment we meet him as a child to his dance sequence and all his other acts of stupidity heroism, and a bit of both. Gamora is a violent assassin who develops a conscience and we're given a good reason why. Rocket and Groot are two oddballs who are just fun to watch interact with each other and everyone else, and we're given good reasons for why they are the way they are. And finally, Drax is just a maniac who's obsessed with avenging his dead family, which sounds two-dimensional, but it works into the misfit angle of the team. Each of them get their moment and you really feel for them, which may seem absurd. The visuals for Rocket and Groot especially sound absurd too, but they're rendered so well, they feel like they belong, whether it's seeing them alongside their live-action cohorts, or their characterization as misfits. The CGI on them and other parts of the movie are brilliant throughout. And of course, everything is there for a reason, which makes the movie go by faster. The soundtrack is also brilliant in the way they use classic rock songs that may seem unnecessary, but are fun all the same. There's also an orchestral score in case you forgot, by Tyler Bates, who's no John Williams, but certainly makes his own great sci-fi soundtrack. Overall Guardians of the Galaxy is a funny, kinda-clean movie that boldly goes where no Marvel movie has gone before: space, the final movie frontier. These are the voyages of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Their ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new (yet slightly familiar) movie experiences. To boldly go where no Marvel movie had gone before.4/16/16Presently, in a time that's about the time when it was released, but still able to stand the test of time...Guardians of the GalaxyEpisode IThe Origin StoryWe open 2014's funniest action-comedy with one of the saddest scenes that can be put to film: A child losing his mother (Laura Haddock) to cancer, worst of all, on his birthday. After being snapped out of a daze from his cassette tape, the boy (Peter Quill) is brought to his mother by his grandfather. She gives him a present, which his grandfather secures in the boy's bag, and after failing to take her hand as requested, the mother flatlines. Grief-stricken, the boy runs out of the hospital crying, and if things couldn't get any worse, he gets abducted by aliens. Wonder if the Terran Marvel Cinematic Universe developed conspiracy theories around Peter Quill's "abduction?" Guess the rest of this movie would prove the tinfoil hat theorists wrong about what happens when aliens abduct you, because fast-forward 26 years, and we reunite with Peter, now a full grown man (Chris Pratt) singing and dancing his way through an abandoned planet like a young Kevin Bacon. After grabbing a mysterious orb Raiders of the Lost Ark style, Peter, now called "Star Lord" (by himself mostly) is ambushed by troops (Djimon Hounsou) sent by Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) to retrieve said orb. After a little scuffle, he escapes, and after realizing one of his former dates was still in his ship, goes to Xandar to sell his treasure to a broker, and when he realizes Ronan wants it, he kicks Star Lord out. There, he meets Gamora (Zoe Saldana), an assassin for Ronan, chosen over her adoptive sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), who tries robbing him, but after a weird, talking raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and his houseplant/muscle Groot (Vin Diesel) discover he has a 40,000 unit bounty on him put out by Yondu (Michael Rooker), things get a lot more heated, and all four are taken to the Kylm, an intergalactic prison, where they meet a being named Drax (Dave Bautista), who takes everything literally, which provides several laughs throughout (Fun Fact: He was found relatable by an autistic boy in real life). With Rocket Raccoon's plan, they break out of his 23rd prison, and what follows is an adventure of a galactic scale, with a whole universe of laughs and twists throughout when they try selling the orb to the Collector (Benicio Del Toro) and things go south in more ways than one in this action-comedy. Yes, I said it, action-comedy! While the scale is large, especially when you consider that Thanos (Josh Brolin) is pulling the strings, still biding his time till Infinity War, you think "This seems serious." Trust me, Guardians of the Galaxy is a hilarious romp thanks to the cast of characters: Star Lord is a goofball ravager who never really grew up, Gamora's a deadly assassin, Drax is a literal-minded gladiator, and Rocket and Groot are, well, lovable rogues. Put simply, it's Star Wars on drugs: everything is more high-tech, trippier, and don't ever try to find those kinds of places on Earth. Heck, even the Guardians themselves are like the main cast of Star Wars: Star Lord is Luke Skywalker in terms of being the main character, Gamora is like Princess Leia in terms of being strong/independent (not just because she's the woman on the team), Rocket's a real Han Solo type, and Groot is the Chewbacca to Rocket's Han Solo, esepecially with the whole vocabulary limit, and Drax is a fusion of R2-D2 and C-3PO because... Ok, Drax doesn't fit that, but he's still awesome like R2 and eccentric like Threepio! The way these guys all interact with each other, and the way we learn their backstories, makes us care for them: Star Lord (See above) and the others (spoilers). All of this is presented in a beautifully clear picture, and we waste no time with needless imagery. I do, however, feel some swearing that came out of Rocket Raccoon (while adding to his character as a Han Solo type) seemed out of place because I don't think he learned that word from whoever he was created by, and Earth culture only came to him in the form of Star Lord. Maybe we'll learn more in Vol. 2, but I digress. Tyler Bates composes an awesome score that adds to the most action-packed scenes, but the show stealer here is Awesome Mix (Volume 1), Star Lord's mix tape that he has on him literally from the start of the film. 12 awesome 70s/80s songs that bring cool vibes into what could have been a weird (and frankly, stupid) movie, but Marvel made it work. Most impressive. If you've been looking for a movie to get hooked on, I have a feeling this is the film you're looking for!4/25/15I am amazed. Marvel took a big risk with this obscure comics team. And it payed off. Who are they you ask? Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), who is an Earth man (Yay, Earth!) named Peter Jason Quill, taken from said planet in 1988 after his mother (Laura Haddock) died in the hospital, which was the only truly depressing scene in this film. Gamora (Zoe Saldana), adopted daughter of Thanos (Josh Brolin), who was modified and enhanced to be a deadly assassin, who shows her capability when she gets into a brawl with Star-Lord and two others. Then there's 89P13, aka Rocket (Voice of Bradley Cooper, who there ain't nothing like in the galaxy except him), a genetically modified raccoon that travels the galaxy as a bounty hunter, also extremely sarcastic in almost everything he says. Then there's his muscle/personal houseplant, Groot (Voice of Vin Diesel, who is Groot), a giant talking tree that is shown to be pretty sensitive deep down. Then finally, there's Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), the biggest idiot in the galaxy, mostly for being literal, but still a force to be reckoned with. They must band together after Star-Lord steals a mystery orb connected to a certain storyline with infinite possibilities of character crossover. Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) of the Kree wants to put an end to the planet Xandar so rapidly, he wants the stone for his cause. From there, it moves pretty fast, from the prison the where the team first comes together, to the post-credits scene that is now a staple of Marvel Studios. Back to the characters, the whole team is relatable and well-developed, between backstory revelations and interactions with each other and other characters. The backstory comes from the little serious dialogue in here, and is seen when instead of continuing in glorious triumph, this movie will take more time to be funny. The visuals are great: Mixing CGI and live-props bodes well for James Gunn. It should also be noted how photo-realistic Rocket and Groot appear, and through an emotional confession or two, and interactions with Groot, Rocket makes us care about him in a way most CGI characters couldn't. Jar-Jar Binks would be brought to tears if he read that last sentence. Tyler Bates does an impressive job with the orchestral soundtrack, bringing the grandure that the codes and conventions of sci-fi demand, but the real star of the soundtrack is not that score, but songs that could be a lord of the dance: I am talking about the 70s-80s songs that are on Star Lord's cassette tape "Awesome Mix Vol. 1." They are so well placed, whether they reflect the mood we should feel, or even when they're meant to be ironic, like in the prison-escape, we get the "Pina Colada" song, which is pretty light-hearted, in a serious situation. That's not a spoiler, so SHIELD can't redact that. Parents, the language in this film is a little saltier than the previous one, including two uses of the "S" word, and the closest thing to an "F-bomb" we've gotten from the MCU to date. Not trying to challenge Marvel to make it saltier, just putting it out there. You don't know who says it, you don't know where it is, but what you do have are particular sets of skills to watch this extremely well-made installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that screams "Screw you audiences, we're Marvel, we do whatever the (Profanity withheld by choice, not by SHIELD mandate) we want with our films. Just wait till Ant-Man, and then we'll really push it in your faces! Hail Marvel!"8/2/14Awesome mix. This film is the awesomest mix of comedy and action since um, there has never been the perfect blend of action and comedy. There's been comic relief, but after a nearly-depressing opening sequence, nearly everything is funny. Anyway, Marvel launches its newest franchise successfully, bringing its usually relatability to a team consisting of a thief (Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord), an assassin (Zoe Saldina as Gamora), a tree-raccoon duo (Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel as Rocket Raccoon and Groot), and a maniac (Dave Bautista as Drax). These are the guardians of the galaxy who must unite to stop Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). And it moves rapidly. From Peter Quill's abduction to the exciting (And hilarious) third act, this movie zips by, but takes time for you to get hooked on a feeling. And that feeling is not confusion. The visuals are amazing. Space, final frontier, looks amazing. Further amazing effects include how believable Rocket Raccoon and Groot look on screen with the physical actors. The use of 80s music was awesome, and added to the emotional punch of (Spoilers). Tyler Bates does a remarkable job with his original score as well, making for the most notable soundtrack of 2014 (Behind The LEGO Movie's use of "Everything is Awesome," and better than The Amazing Spider-Man 2's obnoxious use of the studio album). Guardians of the Galaxy is, to date the most hilarious film Marvel Studios has ever produced, but I must point out the profanity real briefly (Closest we've ever gotten to an MCU F-bomb). Otherwise, Guardians is the best mix of comedy and action I've ever seen. They really went to infinity and beyond with this!