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Overall Rating
3.91

Awesome40.35%
Worth A Look: 31.58%
Average: 12.28%
Pretty Bad: 10.53%
Total Crap: 5.26%

6 reviews, 21 user ratings


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Guardians of the Galaxy
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Ornamentally eye-catching but fundamentally bland."
3 stars

If you take a piece of white bread and stick weird things into it, what you have isn’t anything bold or dazzling; it’s just white bread with weird things stuck into it.

Guardians of the Galaxy is that white bread: ornamentally eye-catching but fundamentally bland. The movie unfolds in the same universe as Iron Man and The Avengers and the other interconnected Marvel-comics films, but it’s set somewhere in the cosmic margins, away from Earth, off to the side. It’s a milieu we sort of have to agree to accept as alien, though many of its inhabitants pretty much look human, only with fresh coats of blue or green paint. It’s not futuristic; it’s happening in 2014, except that its main Earth character, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), has been off-planet since 1988, so his references to terran culture end then.

Peter has an Awesome Mix Tape filled with his dear dead mom’s favorite tunes, which tend towards classic rock from the ’70s. The presence of this music in what’s supposed to be a planet-hopping adventure occasionally lends it the aura of a midnight movie, albeit a midnight movie that cost $170 million. Guardians has been written (by director James Gunn and Nicole Perlman) with a good portion of snark, though none of the verbal barbs turn around and aim at the movie itself, or at Marvel (or Disney). It feels like a parody that isn’t parodying anything; a movie that costs that kind of money can’t be expected to have sharp teeth, and it doesn’t. It’s just smug, engaging in lightly inane badinage and lumbering into any number of cluttered action set-pieces. The jokiness commands you not to take the proceedings too seriously, as if you would anyway.

Peter, who calls himself Starlord, finds himself aligned with several other outlaws — assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), bruiser Drax (Dave Bautista), sentient walking tree Groot (voice of Vin Diesel), and talking raccoon Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper) — against the usual dull villain who wants to destroy everything. This good-vs.-evil plot unfolds inside the usual meaninglessly convoluted web of allegiances, various people who don’t like the Guardians, as well as tensions between the Kree and the Xandarians (ah, yes, that old conflict). Guardians would like us to find it hip and quirky, but at heart it’s like every other obscenely expensive summer movie about heroes trying to stop bad guys from doing bad things. The bad guys want to do bad things for reasons we barely comprehend — they do bad things because they’re bad guys, I take it. And they have to be stopped. This requires extremely pricey, poorly edited chase scenes, things blowing up, people shooting at or punching other people, and other greatest hits.

Gunn is clever, and I’m not immune to his nudging; I chuckled a few times (mostly at bits of business involving Groot or Rocket). But anyone expecting the perversities of Gunn’s Troma-meets-Cronenberg horror-comedy Slither (2006) or his previous film, 2010’s Super, had better keep waiting. I much prefer Super, which had the sting of human frailty, and which, perhaps not coincidentally, cost 68 times less than Guardians of the Galaxy. Gunn has already made his superhero movie; this new one doesn’t really feel like his. It feels like a corporate jest, of the sort that Marvel used to indulge in briefly in the ’80s, when they would launch stunts like Assistant Editors’ Month — titles like Spider-Man or Daredevil would be turned over to less serious writers for tongue-in-cheek meta-stories that happened more or less out of continuity. Guardians is like an Assistant Editors’ Month issue writ large.

But readers were expected to pay the full sixty cents for those issues back in 1984, and audiences are expected to pay full ticket prices for it now.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=25906&reviewer=416
originally posted: 11/16/14 08:00:00
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Marvel Characters: For more in the Marvel Characters series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2014 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the 2014 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell fun sweet exciting a intergalactic gem 5 stars
3/29/16 Aj wales Groot killing loads of baddies in one go then smiling. worth it alone. 4 stars
5/12/15 Christian Paulson An intergalactic delight! 5 stars
1/10/15 the rock pure garbage film 1 stars
12/28/14 Jenny Fantastic 5 stars
10/01/14 Dillon Gonzales Much better than I anticipated. 4 stars
9/05/14 mr.mike Corny but non stop sci-fi action. Saldana is a plus. 4 stars
8/20/14 christine sarkauskas Was an amazing movie! Loved it. 5 stars
8/07/14 Koitus I liked it. Unrealistic unprotected space-walk scene, though. 4 stars
8/06/14 Toni Peluso Fun Fun Fun Fun Fun AND Funny!!! 5 stars
8/06/14 Jay Extremely entertaining. A must see! 5 stars
8/05/14 Mishyana Was surprised by Peter's ranking, then noticed he liked Lee's Hulk. No longer surprised. 5 stars
8/04/14 KingNeutron Very pretty women, but I hope the next one is better- might be the next Firefly 3 stars
8/04/14 PAUL SHORTT ENTERTAINING, VISUALLY IMPRESSIVE AND FUN 4 stars
8/04/14 The rock terrible 1 stars
8/03/14 Charles Tatum Big fun. 4 stars
8/03/14 Oliver The modern Star Wars. What a refreshing joy to watch. 5 stars
8/02/14 Ruth Goaz Pauline Hickey aged 17 in 1985...WOW ! ! !. 5 stars
8/02/14 Darkstar Insanely awesome and funny! My new favorite Marvel movie. 5 stars
8/02/14 The king beyond awful 1 stars
8/01/14 Bob Dog Finally - - comedy returns to comic book movies! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  01-Aug-2014 (PG-13)
  DVD: 09-Dec-2014

UK
  N/A

Australia
  01-Aug-2014
  DVD: 09-Dec-2014




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