By Michael Siebenaler
Based on the comic book series that began in 1969, Guardians of the Galaxy has a great tone, entertaining plot, constant comic gems, expert casting choices, and an epic story that required several editors for a high-quality refinement worthy of the other Marvel Studios films.
Peter Quill (aka Star Lord), played by Chris Pratt (The LEGO Movie, TV’s Parks and Recreation) represents the only seemingly human character in this unlikely team. His physical skills and comic timing provide perpetual entertainment after a stark beginning origin sequence. Peter draws from a gold mine of references that only he (and the audience) understands. His entertaining explanations enhance the effective dialogue even more. Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek Into Darkness) is the adopted daughter of tyrannical “Titan” being Thanos, played by Josh Brolin. Drax, played by former pro wrestler Dave Bautista (Man With the Iron Fists) delivers a hilariously blunt wordplay amid his vengeful quest to get back at the main villain Ronan, who killed his family. The remaining team members are the wonderfully endearing tree creature Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel (The Fast and the Furious, Riddick) and wise-cracking, but brilliantly strategic genetically-engineered raccoon Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook).
The surprisingly strong supporting cast bolsters the main cast even more. Lee Pace (The Hobbit film series) plays the villain Ronan well, but Michael Rooker (Cliffhanger) and Karen Gillan (TV’s Doctor Who) leave lasting impressions as Yondu and Nebula. Remaining supporting characters include Djimon Hounsou as Korath, John C. Reilly (Wreck-It Ralph) as Corpsman Dey, Glenn Close as Nova Prime, Benicio Del Toro as The Collector and Laura Haddock (DaVinci’s Demons) as Meredith Quill. Marvel founder Stan Lee has a cameo (non-speaking).
Special effects highlights include an initiating foot chase, the “infinity stone” discovery, and an amazing chase with pod spaceships that leads to one of two extraordinary situations that exemplify how effects stretch common boundaries into genuine “wow” moments in the sci-fi genre. The musical score and song soundtrack has a high functionality beyond enhancing the filmgiving the film its character, especially Peter.
Stick around for the ending credits. The first sequence warms the heart to the already likable characters while the second sneaks a look at the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron film.