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When Kree extremist Ronan the Accuser (Lee Price) threatens the planet Xandar, five misfits, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket (Bradley Cooper (voice)), Groot (Vin Diesel (voice)), and Drax (Dave Bautista), must work together to prevent its destruction.
I’m not sure what Marvel put in the Kool-Aid but I’m drinking it up. Guardians of the Galaxy is pure fun. On top of that, it tells a great story and looks beautiful. I have often praised Iron Man for being the model on how to properly make a superhero origin story, now I can say that Guardians of the Galaxy is the definitive example on how to create a superhero team origin.
Ever since The Avengers, Marvel movies have had a lighthearted feel to them. I am a big fan of this because it prevents them from going too dark, although they still may have serious moments. This tone also allows for some great humor. With comedic actors Chris Pratt and Bradley Cooper, Guardians is the funniest superhero movie since Iron Man 3. I don’t think there was one moment where I wasn’t smiling. Pratt is definitely the highlight of the film but I’d say Cooper is a strong second. Despite not having much screen time, John C. Reilly stole his scenes. He wasn’t overly heavy with the comedy but instead was more subtle, contrasting with his usual movie antics.
Currently, the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack is the best selling album in the United States, and for good reason. The music is a great mix of classic 1970s and 80s rock and pop songs. If I didn’t have most of the songs already I would probably go pick it up. Besides the music, there are many references to the 80s. My favorites being Quill calling Rocket “Ranger Rick” and Quill explaining to Gamora the plot of Foot Loose.
This is one of the most unique movies I have seen in awhile. I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching The Avengers but in a skewed, Thor setting. Not many movies have a gun-toting, talking raccoon who travels with a talking tree. Actually, I don’t think any others do. Being the Marvel fan that I am, I appreciate them dipping into their less popular franchises.
I absolutely enjoyed Rocket and Groot. The duo reminded me of R2-D2 and C-3PO from Star Wars (except this time the small one was the interpreter). Besides Rocket being one of the stand-out characters of the film, several of his scenes were made better by his interactions with Groot. To go with the rest of the film, they were fun and goofy with the right amount of action sprinkled in.
With the set-up Benicio Del Toro’s The Collector had in the mid-credits sequence in Thor: The Dark World, I expected him to have a more integral role in the story. But the more I thought about it, I realized that he could become Marvel’s next Agent Coulson. In the comics, he is very involved in the cosmic side of things, and he could do the same in the films. He could act as the glue that binds several of the cosmic properties that are sure to appear over the next several years, showing up to offer explanations and add cohesiveness to the films.
If there was one thing I wished this movie did better, it would be to expand on the relationship between Gamora and her sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan). Guardians did well to build and showcase the rivalry between the adopted sisters, but didn’t do much more than that. There is large potential for stories based on their relationship, similar to Thor’s and Loki’s relationship, that I hope it’s picked up in future movies.
Marvel once again raises the bar on the superhero movie genre with Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s playful tone, great action sequences, lovable characters, and beautiful special effects blend together perfectly to create one of definitive team origin movies to date.
Cast & Crew
James Gunn – Director / Writer
Nicole Perlman – Writer
Tyler Bates – Composer
Chris Pratt – Peter Quill
Zoe Saldana – Gamora
Dave Bautista – Drax
Bradley Cooper – Rocket (voice)
Vin Diesel – Groot (voice)
Lee Pace – Ronan
Michael Rooker – Yondu
Karen Gillan – Nebula
Djimon Hounsou – Korath
John C. Reilly – Corpsman Dey
Glenn Close – Nova Prime
Benicio Del Toro – The Collector
When the Necromongers leave Riddick (Vin Diesel) for dead on a desolate planet, he activates a distress beacon from an abandoned outpost. The beacon draws two mercenary ships: one containing a new breed of mercenary, and the second is captained by a man with a more personal relation to Riddick.
I’ve always enjoyed the character of Riddick. Unlike most, I felt that The Chronicles of Riddick was an improvement over Pitch Black, so I was hoping Riddick could maintain the momentum of keeping the franchise moving forward. Thankfully, it does and is the strongest entry in the franchise to date.
When the budget for Chronicles ballooned from the budget for Pitch Black, the film tried to add too much, particularly the fantastical element incorporated into Riddicks origin. The interwoven fantasy material makes Chronicles the black sheep of the franchise. Riddick goes back to its roots with a smaller budget and more along the science-fiction origins established in Pitch Black. This prevents it from going over-the-top and keeps in grounded (or at least as grounded as sci-fi can be).
Like the other entries in the series, the dialog is very corny and cliché. However, Riddick is able to incorporate humor, making the dialog much more bearable. A lot of the comedic relief comes from Diaz, played by wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista. The interactions between the two mercenary captains, played by Jordi Molla and Matt Nable, offer some good stuff, too.
One of the most unique things about Riddick is that its three acts all feel completely different from one another. The first part of the movie is about survival. Riddick has been abandoned and so he must work to survive in the barren landscape. However, this portion is very slow to develop and is very uneventful, although this does act as set up for some events later on.
The middle act shows Riddick and his confrontation with the mercenaries. This is my favorite part of the film because this is when the interactions between the characters really shine. It also shows much more of the raw killer in Riddick than we have seen in the previous films. Some of his kills are pretty creative and brutal. Influences from Pitch Black are very apparent, as the action takes place in the dark, very similar to the second half of Pitch Black.
In the last act, Riddick must team with the remaining mercenaries to survive an incoming swarm of the creatures Riddick faced in the first act. Again, think of the second half of Pitch Black and that is pretty much what this part of the movie feels like.
The Chronicles of Riddick franchise keeps getting better. Riddick harkens back to its roots laid out in Pitch Black and opts for a smaller budget and more concentrated plot, creating what I consider to be the strongest entry in the series.