Marvel Studios has released Guardians of the Galaxy and it has been touted as Marvel's riskiest movie attempt since it was green lit and since they started their Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man 2008. But Marvel hit a grand slam with Guardians.
Writer and director James Gunn must have taken notes from all of the Star Wars fans who complained about its prequels because he delivered a space opera action/adventure comedy that is both in line with past Marvel Studios films and he made sci-fi space movies cool and (more importantly) fun again. Sorry Star Wars prequels, Avatar and even the Star Trek reboots because, while each of those were entertaining in their own unique way, they were not fun like Guardians of the Galaxy is pure fun and how the original Star Wars films were fun in the 70s and 80s.
Yes the movie does have a few small issues but those are well hidden within the film by its fun factor. The villains are overshadowed by the heroes, as usual, but this is due to the fact that the heroes are more villains throughout most of the movie than the actual villains are. Ronan the Accuser was well-portrayed but not written into the movie more. Same with Korath and Nebula, both of whom are good performances but just not in the movie enough.
Another small issue, at least that I had, was with Yondu's whistle arrow weapon. I'm not familiar with the character in the comics but whenever Yondu started whistling, it took me out of the film and back to reality and into my theater seat. I don't like when that happens during a movie but those few scenes were short enough that I was brought back into the film experience quickly after. No big deal, just weird and very awkward type of weaponry but it's aliens and space, so I get it.
There was lots of green screen work because it is a space film and we visit new planets and locations in the galaxy but where the Star Wars prequels failed with too much green screen work and CG, Guardians of the Galaxy was able to move above and beyond those problems. This is mainly due to the technological advancements made in the last 15 years since the first Star Wars prequel released and because of the great acting and humor of the film.
Drax is funny, literally. And the tag team of Rocket and Groot is fantastically funny and adorable at times too. But the real draw here is Star-Lord, who is a self-absorbed, self-serving man-child for most of the movie and then realizes his true calling is that he enjoys saving/helping others. This was teased during the introduction of the film when a young Quill reveals he has a black eye from trying to stop some bullies. Once Star-Lord realizes his true calling, he brings the Guardians together as a team and they turn the corner to become heroes and are no longer a group of anti-heroes with their own personal agendas.
In the end, Guardians of the Galaxy is a fantastic ride into space and (for me) it took me back to when I first saw the original Star Wars movies in the 80s. The great soundtrack helped with this too.
Thank you James Gunn. Thank you for making this mid-30s guy feel like I was a six- or seven-year-old child in the 80s again.
9.5 out of 10