‘Guardians’ of the Summer Blockbuster

Everyone knows what the summer season brings—heat, lazy days, barbecue and enough movie blockbusters to make your head spin. Many are unnecessary (looking at you, “Step Up: All In”), some are pleasant surprises (“Snowpiercer”) and then there are the ones that are a guaranteed good time. Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” is definitely one of those.

Marvel has had a great run with its onslaught of superhero movies, and their comic book characters have reached a fever pitch of trendy popularity across a wide audience. Marvel’s consistency in providing quality entertainment has turned each of their film debuts into an event, and “Guardians” does well to keep that hype alive. Based (of course) on the comic book series, “Guardians” focuses on Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), who is abducted from Earth by space pirates in 1988 shortly after witnessing the death of his mother. 26 years later, Quill has grown to become a pirate as well, and hops to the planet Morag to steal an orb.

Quill is interrupted by Korath (Djimon Hounsou), who works for the merciless Ronan (Lee Pace). Quill manages to escape, but a bounty is put on his head by the head of the space pirates, Yondu (Michael Rooker) and Ronan sends the assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to retrieve the orb. When Gamora catches up with Quill, a highly public struggle ensues and the bounty hunters Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel), a humanoid tree creature, are also entrapped and the foursome are arrested.

While in jail, the four form a shaky alliance to sell the orb, and are joined by Drax the Destroyer (Dave Batista), who wants nothing more to avenge his family who died at the hands of Ronan. After a demonstration of the orb’s power, the team decides against their initial selfish intents to instead work together to try and save the galaxy from Ronan’s wrath.

“Guardians” may be Marvel’s most fun films yet, and this is thanks to a rockin’ 80s soundtrack, gorgeous special effects, wonderful comedic timing and last but not least, Pratt’s portrayal of Quill. Perhaps best known as the lovable Andy Dwyer on “Parks and Recreation,” Pratt brings the same sort of doofiness and likability to his character in “Guardians”. Quill knows he’s in space and knows how awesome flying spaceships and fighting aliens is, and his entirely human reactions to his situation are charming and endearing.

The other stars of the film round out the team nicely, providing a constant stream of different flavors and characterizations that keep the movie from stagnating. The standout, however, is Diesel’s Groot. Though Groot says no more than the same four words throughout the movie his presence and gentle, almost childlike demeanor makes him immensely loveable and a sure-to-be fan favorite.

The villains in the film were deliciously evil and hammy in the best way possible. Ronan, portrayed by the excellent and highly underrated Lee Pace, was an absolute joy to watch. With his deep booming voice, fanatic belief system and super serious demeanor, Ronan was a great foil to the Guardians’ ragtag goofiness. Nebula, Ronan’s other assassin assistant, was also a highlight of the movie. Played to cool, ruthless perfection by Karen Gillan of “Doctor Who” fame, Nebula’s unrelenting thirst for vengeance is chilling.

Of all the movies that compete for your attention this summer, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ should be at the top of your list—but you all probably already knew this.

 

Recommended: Fun and visually appealing with a great soundtrack, ‘Guardians’ is your quintessential failsafe summer blockbuster.