Guardians Of The Galaxy

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, Sean Gunn, Gregg Henry, Brendan Fehr, Nathan Fillion

With: Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and Josh Brolin

Marvel has officially won the comic book game. Guardians Of The Galaxy features a talking raccoon, a kinda-talking tree, and some of the most batshit crazy stuff they’ve convinced the mass market to watch. Honestly, you’re watching a movie with no guaranteed A-listers, from a comic book series almost no one has read.

Chris Pratt is the read winner here, as Star Lord is a great character for him. It showcases his abilities as a leading man, as a comic leading man, as an empathetic leading man, and as a rather average leading man. He’s good looking, but not in a freakish way. He’s funny, but he’s serious too.

Zoe Saldana has another awesome role to chalk up to her resume. Why this girl isn’t a leading lady already is shocking. They should have given her Lucy. She deserves to anchor her own movies.

Also, Dave Bautista could be the next The Rock. He doesn’t quite have the humor down, but then again neither did Dwayne Johnson when he was in The Mummy Returns. Dave Bautista handles the role of Drax, a character who doesn’t understand sarcasm, and takes everything literally, with a tinge of humor that could hint at her having a bigger career.

Bradley Cooper adds a bunch of humor to the role of Rocket. I didn’t even recognize his voice. Michael Rooker and Lee Pace round out an strong supporting cast.

The plot is basically everything you’ve seen before, reworked for maximum enjoyment. There’s an origin story for Peter Quill, a scene right out of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, and a film with a feel of a more comedic version of Star Wars.

James Gunn does a magnificent job turning this niche franchise into a fully consumable product, and one that will be remembered favorably. James Gunn, who used to work for Troma, and directed the low-budget Slither, has shown a ton of promise here. I imagine we’ll be seeing him directing a lot more in the future.

The next Guardians Of The Galaxy film isn’t for another 3 years, but that feels about right. You don’t want to oversaturate the market, and every two years seems like too much. That’s every other year, and for a big franchise like this, it needs room to breathe. More importantly, Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana need to field other movie offers. Saldana has now starred in some of the biggest franchises, including Guardians, Avatar, Star Trek, and even the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise. It’s time she got offered roles where she doesn’t have to paint herself a bizarre color.

Packed with action, laughs, and plenty of great pop culture references, Guardians Of The Galaxy is one of the best films of the summer.

FINAL GRADE: A-

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