Running Time: 2 hours 1 minute
As a young boy devastated by the death of his mother, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) runs from her bedside into an empty field to be alone with his grief. His mourning is interrupted when a light appears in the sky and Peter is pulled up into a passing UFO. Now years later, Peter is an outlaw and a scavenger roaming the galaxy trying to stay one step ahead of the law and the bounty hunters hoping to collect the price on his head. While attempting to cut his partner out of a deal, Peter gets his hands on a very valuable orb, but when he tries to sell it he ends up getting arrested and finding out that he has found something more dangerous than he has ever encountered before. Vicious killer Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), who is driven to cleanse the galaxy of every race but his own, needs the orb to fulfill his plans and now has Peter Quill in his crosshairs.
A daring jailbreak leaves Peter in a tenuous alliance with Gamora (Zoe Saldana), an assassin with daddy issues, Drax (Dave Bautista), a monster hell-bent on avenging the death of his wife and child, Rocket(Bradley Cooper) a genetically enhanced racoon with a penchant for theft and Rocket’s protector Groot (Vin Diesel) a walking tree with limited verbal skills. They plan to sell the orb and flee the galaxy, but once they realize that there is no escape from Ronan they have to decide if it is finally time to stand up for something or watch as the world burns.
It is hard to overstate how much I enjoyed this film. From the look to the humor to the action to the music, I can’t imagine how they could have improved the experience for the audience. Like with every “superhero” origin story, you are required to ignore a few logic and continuity issues, but if you don’t know that before you enter the theatre, I am not sure what to tell you.
Chris Pratt as Star-Lord is the perfect successor to the lineage of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo and Nathan Fillion’s Mal Reynolds. Peter Quill aka Star-Lord has a swaggering charm, but is also capable of gritting his teeth and getting his hands dirty. But this is by no means a one-man show. Every character has moments when they absolutely steal the scene. Drax (Dave Bautista) generates unexpected belly laughs with his earnest literalness, turning almost every exchange into an Abbot and Costello routine, all before tearing into his foes like a berserker. Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) are, shockingly the emotional heart of the film and their friendship is often very tender. Add to that Cooper’s flawless voice work and the characters that should have been the hardest for the audience to embrace became the easiest. Finally, Saldana’s Gamora manages to give us both a hard-edged dangerousness and sinuous sexiness without which, she would have been too cold and blank.
The film could have spent a few more minutes developing it’s villain Ronan (Lee Pace), because even though he is imposing, he was capable of being truly menacing. In fact, the most memorable baddie in the film is Karen Gillan’s Nebula, who is Gamora’s even more vicious and violent half-sister. That is the one thing that kept Guardians of the Galaxy from surpassing Captain America: The Winter Soldier as my favorite movie this year, but Guardians easily earned itself an A.