Sunday, March 15, 2015

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy is a movie that took me a while to get ahold of. As soon as the local library got it on DVD, I had my spot in the queue reserved so I could watch it. The trouble was, that I was about twenty-fourth in line for the film.
Multiply that by the maximum time limit on DVDs at the Gautier Library, which is seven days (Eight if it's due on a Sunday or holiday) you get a total of a hundred and twenty-eight days, or four and a quarter months. Luckily it only took about three months to get it in, and despite being so far behind in the queue, the disc was actually still usable.
So, Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the latest installments in Marvel's ongoing Avengers series, and they don't seem to be losing any steam on the road to Age of Ultron.
The film begins in the 1980's, focusing on a boy named Peter Quill. His mother is dying of cancer, and he is rather devastated by that fact.
But he doesn't get long to grieve, because he winds up being abducted by aliens.
After that, the movie flashes forward to 2014. A mysterious masked figure is exploring a planet, when he takes off his mask and reveals himself to be Peter Quill, having in his possession a copy of the mixtape from the beginning of the film, and the headphones and cassette-player that he had back in the eighties.
One thing I have to note, is that the soundtrack they chose for this movie is pure awesome. Hooked on a Feeling, Cherry Bomb, Ain't No Mountain High Enough, it's packed with the awesome hits of yesteryear. And they're all used perfectly.
Admittedly, this is the kind of music I grew up listening to, so it's hitting that sweet spot I have for music from that era. So that was one of the things that made this movie awesome.
The other things were the fact that the whole thing just... Works. It's amazing.
Peter Quill (Played by Chris Pratt) is now known as Star Lord, and he's hunting for treasure. He find what he's looking for, and heads for a planet known as Xandar to sell it to his fencer, but the fence throws him out, and Peter gets ambushed by Gamora (Played by Zoe Saldana), an assassin and adopted daughter of the infamous warlord, Thanos. She wants the treasure Peter found in the ruins, but then they get ambushed by a Treeant named Groot (Voiced by Vin Diesel) and a raccoon named Rocket (Voiced by Bradley Cooper). Their antics get themselves tossed in prison, where they meet a giant and very literally minded pale dude with red tattoos (I assume they're tattoos) named Drax (Played by David Bautista) inside the prison, who has a beef with Gamora's former employer, the Kree Fanatic, Ronan The Accuser (Played by Lee Pace)
Ronan killed Drax's family, and Drax is out for blood. God only knows how he got locked up in a place called "The Kyln" maybe he insulted someone in some kind of command by being so literal.
Something I need to talk about is the characters. They're absolute gold. From their antics to their dialogue, everyone rocks.
Star Lord is slick and confident, but also flawed and funny. Rocket Raccoon is hilarious in every way while still being somewhat grounded. Gamora is beautiful, sympathetic, and awesome. Groot, despite having so little dialogue, is an amazing character. He's sweet, loyal, and absolutely hilarious. And the rendering on him and Rocket is simply amazing.
And finally, there's Drax. Bautista is awesome as Drax, being able to pull off Drax's intellectual literalness while still being intimidating as all hell when the time comes. Drax is one of the best parts of the entire movie, his lack of understanding of metaphor is used so well to create so many funny jokes. Honestly, I want to see more of the character, and of Bautista playing the character!
See here, Miz? This is what makes an A-lister, being in a good movie, and being appealing to watch, as opposed to starring in a couple of direct-to-video sequels to a movie that people didn't like.
Anyways, moving on.
Groot, Drax, Star Lord, Gamora, and Rocket manage to escape from the prison in an absolutely ingenious way. They flee the planet and head for a place called Knowhere.
There, they get drunk and start fighting. Both with each other and with other bar patrons.
Rocket, Groot, Gamora and Star Lord go to sell the treasure to a collector, while Drax goes to make a call.
The treasure blows up the collectors gallery, and Drax has summoned Ronan to Knowhere.
Ronan takes Drax down easily, and Star Lord, Rocket, and Gamora go head-to-head with Ronan's space-fleet, lead by Gamora's adopted sister, Nebula.
Nebula is portrayed by Karen Gillan, best known as Amy Pond from Doctor Who. She shaved her head for the role of Nebula, which I think was a bad idea. The characters blue skin would have gone well with Gillan's luscious red-hair. And I'm not sure if they were doing something strange with her voice in post production to hide her Scottish accent, or if they were trying to do so on-set, but it just doesn't seem to work that well.
Honestly, I think that if she'd kept her hair for the role and played up her Scottish accent, it would have made the character even more dynamic.
Nebula shoots down Gamora's ship, and Star Lord contacts an old "friend" to teleport the both of them out of the vacuum of space. That old "friend" is Yondu Udontu, (Played by Michael Rooker) the man who abducted Star Lord from earth in the eighties, and who Star Lord has an uneasy relationship with.
Ronan has taken the treasure for himself, looking to use it to take over the galaxy, universe, whatever.
Rocket, Groot and Drax attempt to lay siege upon Yondu's ship, but Star Lord has already convinced Yondu to let him and his team (That would be Gamora, Rocket, Groot, and Drax) help recover the treasure.
Ronan decides he can now take down Thanos, and calls him up to tell him so. Nebula, like pretty much everyone in the Marvel universe, hates Thanos, and is pretty quick to betray him given the opportunity.
Star Lord calls up the Nova Corps (Those who arrested Star Lord and company earlier in the movie) for help, and manages to ally The Ravagers (The name of the members of Yondu's fleet) with The Nova Corps to take on Ronan and his fleet.
What follows, is one of the most amazing sequences of scenes I've ever seen in my life. The Nova Corps blocks Ronan's flagship, the Dark Aster from landing, while The Ravagers take down Ronan's fighter-ships, while Star Lord, Groot, Drax and Gamora breach the Aster's hull to take out Ronan.
The action-scenes consist of Groot, Star Lord and Drax taking out Ronan's soldiers, and Gamora fighting Nebula.
Afterwards, The Aster busts through the wall of Nova Corps ships, and crashes on the surface of Xandar.
And this was easily one of the saddest scenes I've seen in a film. Right up there with the ending of Wreck-It Ralph and the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Groot sacrifices himself to protect his friends, forming a ball of branches to soften the blow of the impact.
When they crash, Rocket becomes a ball of pure rage. Gamora and Star Lord distract Ronan, while Rocket fixes up one of his guns for Drax to blast Ronan with.
Star Lord grabs the treasure as it drops from Ronan's staff, taking the energy of the sphere into himself.
Gamora, Rocket, and Drax join hands with him, and they use the energy to vaporize Ronan.
And thus, they become The Guardians of the Galaxy.
All in all, this was one of the most awesome movies I've seen in my life. Marvel has not disappointed yet, and I have high-hopes for Age of Ultron.
Hell, I even have high-hopes for Howard The Duck. If they keep this trend up, then this is going to turn into one of the most legendary film series of all-time.
I give it a 10.1* rating. I'll see you next week with my review of the first season of Agent's of Shield!