(Please note: I will try to remain as spoiler free as possible during this, but please note there may be minor spoilers during the review.)
This summer has been full of blockbusters; Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Godzilla, and more. The latest one to throw its giant, hyper-sharpened knife into the arena is Marvels Guardians of the Galaxy, and we got to see a preview of the movie this last weekend.
Let us first take a look at the cast:
Chris Pratt (Parks and Rec, The Lego Movie) takes up the Quad-Blaster and awesome helmet of the snarky, somewhat womanizing, dance master Peter Jason Quill, otherwise known as Star-Lord (Who?). He pulls off the character with a wit, grace, and intensity that is hard to really realize could be done by any one human being. Star-Lord is not a fully likeable character, much akin to one Tony Stark from Iron Man, and much like Mr. Stark, he has a heart of a hero, which can really only shine when tested by the heat of battle.
Gamora, played by the amazingly talented Zoe Saldana (Star Trek, Avatar) really pulled off the bad-ass anti-heroine in spades. She has the build of a trained assassin, and they do not have her ever in the position of a damsel in any way shape or form, which would have made many a fan angry if they had. The only complaint I had of any of the characters did, however come from her - she is a little more feminine than the comic version, but when you have someone as gorgeous and talented as Zoe Saldana, you kind of need her to be.
Drax the Destroyer, played by WWE superstar Dave Bautista, was the biggest surprise of the entire film. I was honestly not expecting him to be as emotional, relatable, and funny as he was. Some of the best one-liners of the movie came from him, and I honestly am not sure he meant to be that kind of character. Obviously he is a huge human being and very intimidating and just pure Drax, but he has a comedic timing that I never expected.
Now, the biggest star of this movie in my opinion, Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper (The Hangover, Silver Linings Playbook). This squirrelly little guy brings all the funny, while also edging the movie closer and closer to that R rating. The level of emotion brought out in this CG powerhouse is really intense though; this guy is not a one trick pony. Hes a great character, and Cooper really makes everything believeable. I do love the elephant in the room that never addresses the Rocket / Groot thing. Just like in the comics.
Speaking of, Vin Diesel (XXX, The Fast and the Furious) plays the giant sentient tree Groot, and they impart his eyes and some of his facial features into him, and even though he only says I am GROOT! he always seems to bring an intensity that you never thought it could. He really personifies Groot, it is plainly obvious through the motion captured features that he genuinely was enjoying every second he was on screen.
Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies, The Hobbit) plays the big bad Ronan the Accuser, and he really pulls off the level of power that someone of this caliber really requires, even if Ronan himself tends to look a little like Marilyn Manson every once in a while.
Let us not forget Josh Brolins Thanos, Karen Gillans Nebula, and Michael Rookers Yondu, all of which really are on the point, and pretty much anyone else who has a speaking part is really amazing. Marvel went above and beyond on the casting, writing, and direction of this film.
The pacing of the film was fantastic, never too fast nor too slow. The trademark cinematic genius that has become synonymous with Marvel-Disney films is true as well, but sometimes it felt like there was too much going on at once.
The writing style is so uniquely GotG that if you think too hard about how this will mesh with the rest of the MCU it is almost off putting, aside of course from the talking Raccoon. An excellently crafted script that fills witty banter with seamless exposition, propelling the action at a breakneck speed. But while the action scenes constantly ramp up the ante in both technical badassery and epic scale, the pacing is skilfully kept in check by those personal moments which not only show the humanity in this alien group, but also let the characters (and audience) catch their breath. The plot will take you to places that you did not think you would be able to go. It is deeply touching, horrifyingly disturbing, funny, suspenseful, and so much more without ever being afraid to be completely in your face. You will be lifted to the highest highs and dropped to the lowest lows. There are literally parts of the film where you will be in tears one second and genuinely laughing the next. They truly pull no punches at all in this film, but in the best way possible.
All in all, this movie is officially my favorite Marvel movie of all time, and is up there on my favorite MOVIES of all time. This movie brings the fun, sex appeal, action, intensity, and emotion in more ways than you could actually think of. This is by far one of the greatest cinema experiences I have ever had in my entire life. I will be definitely be seeing this again, maybe twice, before owning it on Blu-Ray and watching it many many many more times to come.
Easily 10/10 TITOs. More than 12% of a movie!