I’m going to be honest. When I first heard about, and later saw the trailer for this, I thought it looked kooky. That was before the light bulb moment of realizing this is set in the Marvel universe. Things were aligning.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) MCU Film Review
When Peter was a kid, he watched his mother die of cancer. The pair of them shared a love of mix tapes that Peter now carries with him like a lifeline. The same night his mother dies, mysteries spaceship abducts him! Years later, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) still marches to the beat of his mix tapes. He’s got cool space weapons and he hunts treasures in the galaxy. Soon he becomes the most wanted man in the Galaxy. First, his former mentor catches up with him, then the evil Ronan (Lee Pace) – who, by the way wishes to destroy the Galaxy – sends his assassin Gamora (Zoe Salanda) to find him. Shortly thereafter, bounty hunters Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) attempt to capture him. The Galaxy’s law apprehends Peter, Gamora and the bounty hunters, for their troubles, they are thrown in jail.
While in jail, the group devises an escape. Before making the break, everyone first realize Gamora is an asset, and together they break free They’ve got work to do. Along with their foursome, they team up with Drax (Dave Bautista) who is reeling from a loss he wants avenged.
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This film is crazy. I’m not sure there is another word that can accurately sum it up. Still, there is definitely a charm here that one might not expect. Even if it’s unexplainable, it does answer why this is one of Marvel’s highest-grossing films. The cast alone is reason for curiosity. Chris Pratt isn’t the same kind of “familiar” as some of the other Marvel headliners, but he IS the Star-Lord. Other cast members include Glenn Close and of course, the always brilliant Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Selfie). Most of the actors are unrecognizable because of the make-up. Karen especially is hard to recognize, especially when movie trivia reveals she shaves her head for the role. Every once in a while, there’ll be some flash of expression that makes me go, “ah-ha! There’s the girl we love. Amy Pond is baaack!”
Addictive as this world is, probably its strongest pull is the humor. Throughout the entire film, it makes me smile and giggle over each small thing. Whether it’s Rocket’s crazy character or the interesting pop culture references, there’s a lot of funny bone laughs. The film plucks Peter (from earth) into space during the eighties, which gives the film a lot of options to revisit the past even while set in what we’d consider a more “futuristic” world. Some of them I totally pick up on, others I don’t.
Surprisingly for all its quip-y teasers and trailers with attitude, this flick does have poignant messages. The end might even inspire some tears. That said, don’t let these comments fool you, this film is primarily enjoyable without the aftereffects of disappointment. I’m don’t think I’d pick this as my favorite Marvel universe, however I cannot nitpick this story. The only thing I did think is lacking are the “secrets or mysteries” of Peter’s past. Most films go backwards in their pursuit to better their characters. This one doesn’t. Peter’s only link are his tapes and he’s particularly protective of that link.
The relationships (with exception to the romance, which I don’t particularly care one way or another about) have good writing. This is especially true of Rocket and Groot. I know it sounds strange, but their friendship is really cute, and meaningful. The ending even ties into that with a message of new life after tragedy. Oh, and of course, the music is fabulous! Everything is catchy with a beat. With a sequel in production, and a long-range plan for Marvel stories in the future, meeting these Guardians is nearly a requirement for all fan girls. Just sayin’.
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Content: there’s some crude humor playing into some of the culture references that no one but Peter gets, and an obscene hand gesture. Peter is a womanizer, learned through various implications. Sci-fi type “action” plays a large role in the story. There’s destruction, good guys die, and there’s hand to hand combat. The standard smattering of profanity is also present in sh*t, a**, etc. Guardians of the Galaxy is PG-13.
Yeah, I wasn't sure I'd like it at first either. But I do LOVE.
*High Five* Yay for being surprised! Those are the best kind of stories. :)
That's awesome that this one surprised you with being so great Rissi! I adored it, but I was also one of few people that expected greatness after seeing the trailer. Somehow I just knew the levels of awesomeness this would reach. :D Have you seen the video clip of Karen Gillan at a Doctor Who conference panel where she shows off her shaved head? It's great. What do you mean by "the 'why' behind Peter's past" though? Why he was abducted, or something else?
Good review! :)
I agree, Sarah! Those are the best kind of stories. The ones that surprise us the most. The more I saw the promotional material or heard a cousin say it was good, the more I wanted to like it – and I'm glad I did. I haven't seen that clip, no! Karen is serious about her craft I'd say. :D
I probably shouldn't have said "why" so much as it merely surprised me that there wasn't more revealed about Peter's past. His parentage is mysterious or there are implications of that in the original stories, that's what my reading revealed anyway (maybe the film didn't touch on that – I saw this one a while ago).
Thank YOU as always for reading, Sarah. Always respect and enjoy your insights on these reviews. :)
Okay, yeah, they did introduce in the film that Peter's father is not human, but they're saving the rest of that mystery for GotG 2 apparently. Rumor has it it's going to be a main plot line. Which is all okay by me, as long as we get to know it all eventually! :D
Ah, I see! Well, that makes sense then! It'll be great to know what comes in the sequel. The one thing I did read about movie two is Lee Pace won't be back.
HANDSDOWN MY FAVORITE MOVIE OF 2014. I have seen this movie over 7 times already, own it, own the poster, my iPhone case is a picture of baby Groot dancing. Slightly obsessed with it.
This will be one I'll watch over and over again, too, Raquel – and likely a film that will grow on more each time! Already, I'm thinking about watching it again soon with our chatter! :)
Ah, yes! baby Groot… wasn't he too cute!?
When I first saw the trailer for the movie, I thought it was going to be an expensive flop. I thought it was really silly because of the raccoon, tree and green girl etc. However, I did go see the movie and I enjoyed it. I thought the movie was funny, clever and entertaining. I also liked the close friendship of the characters and I look forward to the sequel.
You summed it up exactly, Carlyn! There was a lot of silliness in that trailer which made me skeptical, but it really is a fun film. Maybe even TOO fun for its own good. ;) Either way, like you I'm looking forward to that rumored sequel. Hope it comes soon! :)
Like you, I wasn't sure about this one but my little sister Mia is a MAJOR Marvel fangirl and basically forced us to the theaters the day it came out. I was surprised by how cute and funny it was! The cast was awesome and I now officially love Chris Pratt. Because of him I started watching Parks & Recreation which is an AMAZING show. Haha. Love everything you said, Rissi–perfect review!!
Your sister Mia has great taste. ;) I'm a big Marvel fangirl as well. I mean, I'm not a comic book geek in the sense that I collect or read them, however, I heart all the films. Like you, this one pleasantly surprised me. Chris Pratt was awesome (I really liked his character) and of course, everyone was, as you say, awesome. Thank YOU for reading and commenting. Love getting your thoughts. :)
Did you catch the comment that Peter's former mentor made about Peter's dad at the end of the movie? I wonder if his father will be the plotline in the sequel. Yep, dancing baby Groot was too cute!
That's what I thought was sort of… left out. I suppose as you say, maybe the sequel will talk more about Peter's parent's/childhood, etc. I guess it was weird that there was no explanation as to why he was raised in the Galaxy, etc. Really, usually I don't care about minor things like that, though for some reason it stuck out this time. Huh… ;)
Baby Groot… awww… he was darling!
Glad you enjoyed the movie Rissi! Love Groot and Rocket's relationship–who would've thought that theirs would be the most poignant? The 70s soundtrack was awesome, I'm always happy when shows and movies use a predominantly 70s or 80s soundtrack :) I'm so happy the movie did well, it worked as a great introduction to the Guardians (like many, I knew nothing about the comics (but picked a few up since ;)); it does sound like they're going a different story route for Peter's paternal heritage though)
My thought exactly, Lianne! The relationship between Groot and Rocket was too cute, really and as you say, poignant. Who indeed would think that!?
I'm not familiar with most the music, but it IS epic. It's got that "cool vibe" that's hard NOT to love.
As for Peter's heritage, I read some stories that suggested the film would go a different route as well. Wonder how it will all come down…
Hey, Rissi! I'm still not sure how to describe what I think of this movie. I think I was in shock with my first viewing, but I really liked it a lot with the second viewing, although it is still extremely quirky and not for everyone. My sister loves it and knew she would from the moment she saw the trailer. She's a Groot and Rocket fan all the way. I'm glad you enjoyed it! It sort of grows on you. :)
Hi, Carissa! Good to see you over here. :)
It IS hard to describe. I don't blame you! It's really wacky but in a kind of charming, endearing sort of way. For me, it's got a vibe that sort of pulled me in and that was all there is to it. I agree, this isn't for everyone. Some people will love it, others find it strange. Glad your sister loves it; I do too to be honest. Plus, it's one I'll love the more times I watch it. For a first viewing, I enjoyed it a lot and that's good enough. :)
This movie still makes me smile. I can't say it was my favorite either and it did have the most swearing out of all the Marvel movies (kids will have to wait some time before watching this one), but I can say I think it might have been the most entertaining and hilarious one. My husband and I laughed so much! Glad you liked it. :)
Exactly! I think it will grow on me even more each time I watch it and I'm glad to own it (I'm a bit of a Marvel on DVD geek), but overall, the favorite still belongs to Captain America or maybe, The Avengers. Glad you liked it too – it definitely tickles the funny bone and when I watched it, that's what I needed. :)
Yes! This one was a whole lot of fun. All the 80s references were hilariously cool! Groot is awesome. Period. And he and Rocket's friendship? I loved it! I could never fully tell if we could safely assume that Rocket could understand precisely what Groot was saying or if he just assumed that's what he meant, but I loved their convos. These two are just completely in sync. Which made the ending so heart-tugging! *sniff sniff* But baby Groot? Is even more adorable! :D
Yeah, the romance I was pretty meh about. I usually like that part of a movie, but this one was just okay. Not bad, like as if the couple had no chemistry, but it just felt like a little sidenote that didn't get enough fleshing out or something. I don't know. Maybe the sequel will change this?
I have so many questions now! There is much that was left open and I want to know the whys and wherefores! Like what happened between Peter's abduction and when we see him as an adult? I really want to know some detail about those years! And how he ended up where he did.
Karen Gillian! I confess it took me a LONG time to figure out which character she was! I did not recognize her at first, at all! And she shaved her head for this role?! Wow. That IS dedication.
Overall, I'm really glad I watched this. I didn't absolutely love it though, for all the fun I had. So I doubt I'll ever own it. But I'd be interested in watching it again someday. And I definitely want to see the sequel! :)
That friendship between Groot and Rocket was awesome! Though it got plenty of screen time, I almost wished we'd seen MORE of it. I didn't know about their communication either… I guess I kind of thought it was more of a humorous situation where Rocket was just surmising what Groot meant… but then again, maybe that's how in sync the pair were as friends. They understood. But then Baby Groot! How cute!
I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one that felt that about the romance! There just wasn't a "spark" or uniqueness to their romance in comparison to say, the other Marvel couples. I think I like all the others quite a lot. (With exception to maybe Batman – who is DC Comics, and Rachel…)
Same for me! I felt a bit… uncertain about the "why" and "what" of Peter's abduction. But, I tried not to overthink it and instead just have fun, which is the film's primary goal. Either way, answers in the sequel better come.
Right!? How crazy different did Karen look!? All that make-up/effects really masked her. I agree. What dedication to her craft.
I am too! I do own a copy (it was really inexpensive – may $9, around its release which was near Christmas, so I did have it preordered), and am glad I do because I have all the other Marvel movies. Or most of them. Either way, I'll re-watch it (already ready) and cannot wait for movie two! :D
Glad you had a minute to share your thoughts, Kara.