Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 5/21/17
Director: James Gunn
Music: Tyler Bates
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, cameos by Sean Gunn, Stan Lee

"I know who you are, Peter Quill, and I am not some starry-eyed waif here to succumb to your pelvic sorcery!"

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is an Earthman who was kidnapped by a band of Ravagers when he was a child. He betrays his adopted family by stealing a highly sought after orb that contains an Infinity Stone, and pretty soon everyone wants him dead. A warlord named Ronan (Lee Pace) wants the stone and sends his assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to get it from Quill, but bounty hunters Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) mess up her plans and everyone ends up in jail. After a daring escape, Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) joins the party and together the five of them take the fight back to Ronan before he can use the stone to start destroying worlds.

The first thing you notice about the film is its striking color palette, which becomes a bit overwhelming after a while. The visual effects are extremely good, and Rocket is a fascinating character to watch. The film is anything but subtle, and everything about it is big, loud, and in your face, including a bunch of gratuitous 3D gags. Unfortunately, the film suffers from an overabundance of attitude, as all of the characters try to assert their dominance. In this regard, the sequel is much better because the characters have already found their groove and have nothing to prove to each other. Peter Quill is a brash and cocky asshole, and even though Chris Pratt is very charming and engaging, it's difficult to connect with his arrogant character. Gamora gets into a couple of good fights, but is rarely allowed to shine. She also wears a pair of hideous looking boots, and shoe continuity is a major problem during her action scenes. Lee Pace makes an excellent villain, and his powerful delivery is full of passionate evil and smug superiority.

The writing is okay, but the attempts at humor are forced, juvenile, and unfunny, which can make the film tedious to watch. Overall, the acting is very good, and it really says something when the most emotional moment in the film is delivered by a crying raccoon. Kudos to the entire team for pulling that off so effectively. If you can put up with its adolescent mentality and aggressively offensive attitude, "Guardians Of The Galaxy" is a fun-filled space adventure and one of Marvel Studio's more solid entries.