Guardians of the Galaxy (★★★½)

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guardians_of_the_galaxy_ver10James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy is the best Marvel movie yet.  I challenge anyone who would place Iron Man or The Avengers over this action-packed and thoroughly entertaining picture that is the definitive summer blockbuster.  It’s just f*cking awesome! (pardon my French)

Hilarious, innovative, and just super fun.  I can’t recall enjoying a movie this much, right along with a crowd, in quite some time.  The less you know about the film and these characters, the better.  I’m from a world of movie-watching but not so much on the comic book reading front.  My knowledge of superheroes comes from watching Saturday morning cartoons.  Like many movie lovers, probably one of the few that will actually admit it, I never heard of the “Guardians of the Galaxy.”  I had no idea who they were and what they did.  This may have made the experience even more enjoyable.  There a bunch of funny characters.  I’ll just say that.

There’s a moment that overcomes me in the middle of Guardians.  Chris Pratt is walking across the screen, after just delivering about a dozen hardcore laughs that literally had me in tears; he’s just about gained a theater full of new loyal fans, and Gunn decides to give him a money shot for all the ladies.  He walks across the screen in his underwear, sweaty and doused in yellow paint, and heavily panting.  I couldn’t believe this is the same guy from NBC’s “Park and Recreation,” Bride Wars, and Her.  He’s come into his own, and has fully become a movie star, with talent to boot.  His work as “Peter Quell” trumps anything done by Robert Downey, Jr. in the Iron Man films.  I’d go as far to say that he should heavily be considered a candidate for a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor (Comedy or Musical).  Pratt is the new boy toy for every action figure having kid, and every horny Mom that pretends they hate “these kinds of movies.”

Coming into another big franchise following Star Trek and Avatar, Zoe Saldana moves quietly throughout the film as an unstoppable force as “Gamora.”  Kick-ass fight sequences, and an interesting enough story that should feel satisfying for even the most hardened movie snobs.  Dave Bautista wrecks through the film as “Drax” and even develops his own character ticks and beats that help him stand out considerably.

As the voice of “Rocket,” Bradley Cooper infuses a dynamic and comical performance that stands as one of the actor’s best outings.  All I could think of during the film was this is one of the many reasons the Academy needs a Digital and Voice Acting category.  Something as lively and priceless as Cooper’s voice work deserves some type of recognition.    The same can go for Vin Diesel as Groot, though he lacks the speaking volumes to warrant consideration.  I thoroughly enjoyed their relationship and dynamic and it’s something that plays out completely well on-screen.

guardians-galaxyObviously, the film has faults.  It’s very heavy-handed on the whole “we are one, we are friends” message.  It actually starts to beat us over the head with it at times.  The film also defies all the logic of physics.  There are times that even for a superhero film, you have to raise your eyebrow.  There’s also not really any importance placed on the villain, and I’m not entirely sure I could recite his ultimate plan.  This is no fault of Lee Pace as “Ronan” – just an uninteresting story arc.

Guardians of the Galaxy is the ultimate summer flick.  Something that’s just plain stupid fun for you and the whole family.  Geeks will bow, audiences will cheer, and the film will secure itself as a new and enlightened franchise for years to come.  Gunn’s admiration for films like Independence Day, Star Wars, and Top Gun are on full display.  There are even instances where I thought of Boogie Nights and Running with Scissors.  It’s a blend of every clever nuance and thing you love about the movies rolled into one spectacular experience.  It’s delicious in nearly every way.

Dear younger generation, you have been given your “Star Wars.”  Go see it!

OFFICIAL WEBSITE:
http://www.marvel.com/guardians

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