Guardians of the Galaxy
Length: 121 minutes / 2.02 hours
It is comforting to know that the Marvel Cinematic Universe includes the universe. While most films in this ever-expanding movie multiverse take place on Earth, a few like Thor (2011) and Doctor Strange (2016) explore different realms but still tie back to Earth. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) is different in that, almost immediately, Earth is left far behind in favor of alien worlds filled with fantastical creatures. Consequently, this film feels more like a sci-fi movie than a comic book flick. Considering how stagnant the superhero formula has become, this is a good thing.
With almost no earthly constraints on it, Guardians of the Galaxy is practically indescribable, probably because it has everything. Comedy. Action. A talking raccoon. With a reasonably well-paced plot, this film excels in developing its diverse cast. These main characters each have their unique traits and little quirks that almost immediately made them amusing and endearing. From tough-as-nails Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to idiom-ignorant Drax (Dave Bautista) to snarky mercenary Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and his singularly-phrased partner, Groot (Vin Diesel), these members of the rag-tag group that saves the universe create a well-rounded team.
Of course, I would be amiss to mention the substantial influence of nostalgia on this film in the form of Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt). The soundtrack of classic rock songs is an interesting counterpoint to the visual spectacle that goes along with having a whole universe to explore. While this nostalgia is partly due to a bit of arrested development, it does give this main character a grounded feeling that ties the audience to this far-reaching universe. Everything about this film was fresh and fun, and it certainly makes me look forward to seeing where this piece of the Marvel franchise goes.
Not your typical comic book movie, I give Guardians of the Galaxy 5.0 stars out of 5.