Marvel movie perfectly personifies summer blockbuster


Gage Skidmore

The cast and crew of “Guardians of the Galaxy” pose for photos at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International.

Jake Dalbey, Staff Writer

There’s a certain point during “Guardians of the Galaxy” when you just have to sit back and appreciate what’s happening on the screen – a giant tree fighting with a mutated raccoon against a space prison, while assassins take on hordes of robots. Guardians of the Galaxy delightfully revels in every way possible, making for one the best experiences you can have at the movies.

Peter Quill, also known as Star-Lord, is a interplanetary thief captured from his parents at a young age, who is tasked with retrieving a mysterious orb of unknown power. Quill, however, isn’t the only person in the galaxy who wishes to steal the orb, and from this we meet the other characters; Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot, who then become known as the guardians. Soon the group is hunted by Ronan, who is an up-and-coming ruler. Ronan not only wants Quill’s head, but he also wants the orb to unlock world-ending powers.

For a plot, Guardians of the Galaxy has a generic good vs. bad storyline that should feel dated and boring. Director James Gunn, however, was able to do incredible things with the source material that makes the story feel uniquely told.

Part of this uniqueness comes from the spot-on tone set throughout the entire movie. Never once did I feel like “Guardians of the Galaxy” was trying to tell a tale too big for its boots. Guardians feels surprisingly controlled. This is a good thing, as it keeps the story from feeling too grand and confusing, and it also means you’ll never feel like the story is taking itself too seriously. The most fun in Guardians is found waiting for the next joke or song to rear its head and make you grin from ear to ear. It mixed some fantastic comedic elements from each character and had a stellar soundtrack that incorporated 70’s pop and rock tracks, keeping me humming along after the credits rolled.

There is no such thing as a good movie without good characters. Short answer is boring, but the guardians and the supporting cast members make the entire experience a memorable one. The best part about how the characters are shown is that they each have their moment in the spotlight. Each guardian has a background story that truly invests the audience in each of their struggles and triumphs. It makes the individual conversations between the characters all the more engaging.

Without a doubt, Rocket and Groot’s duo steals the screen. Groots charismatic smile mixed with Rocket’s brash wit makes every scene between them electric. Quill, however, also is great as a screwball dimwit. He is just competent enough to keep his team out of trouble, though, and as the main character, his background story is surprising wrought with heartbreak and loss, which helps keep him human and believable. Gamora and Drax who round out the rest of the crew are less interesting but still enjoyable. Gamora suffers from a fairly generic motivation of revenge while Drax is simply not given as much to do. Not to say they are bad characters, they just didn’t capture my interest as much as a giant tree or a talking raccoon.

The actors in Guardians of the Galaxy have no issue with immersing themselves in their roles, which is what makes the characters great. Chris Pratt is basically perfect as Peter Quill, combining a likeable demeanor and solid comedic timing really makes Star-Lord come to life. Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel also deliver great voice-overs as Rocket and Groot. It’s amazing how much life Diesel is able to squeeze out of his role with only the line “ I am Groot,” and Cooper is almost unrecognizable. Dave Batista and Zoe Saldana finish up the main cast with good performances despite the weak character traits. Each have some funny comedic moments and are very likeable in general. The supporting cast of John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Benicio Del Toro also manage to do a lot with their time on screen, while Lee Pace grants some fantastic physicality as Ronan.

The only other complaint I have about Guardians of the Galaxy are the jumbled and under-developed villains. As mentioned before, Ronan the Accuser is the main adversary, but along with him we also get glimpses of Thanos, who is the true king of the galaxy. Thanos is almost pushed aside halfway through the run time, after he sits on his throne and leaves Ronan to pull the rest of the story’s weight, and he only somewhat succeeds. He feels intimidating as a villain should, and never once did I doubt that he was a worthy opponent to the Guardians. His motivations and general execution, however, are sloppy and don’t have enough time to develop. His background story of trying to impress his father and ultimately going out on his own has been done many times before. Also, Ronan is not given a whole lot of screen time, so this side of him is never given a chance to blossom which leaves him feeling like a side note of this story.

Guardians of the Galaxy perfectly personifies the summer blockbuster. It’s loud, explosive, and a visual feast. Nearly every minute of its run time is spent in a far off planet, space battle, or gun fight. As an action movie, Guardians is on top of its game, though what sets it apart from the other Marvel films is the amount of heart and passion packed into two hours of film. It truly soars above and beyond anything this summer has produced and should make any movie-goer feel like a giddy kid.