Guardians of the Galaxy

G 4 StarDo you remember when Marvel Comics decided to be their own production company for movies? Everyone was like this is a bad idea on steroids. Can’t really blame the pundits at that time. All they had to go on was Howard The Duck (and there is a nicely played reference to this movie at the end of the credits in this movie) and the completely atrocious DareDevil and spin-off movie Elektra.

Quick review for those who don’t remember, Ben Affleck plays a blind hero and his then girlfriend but soon would be wife – Jennifer Garner played Elektra. She parlayed that into her own movie. They both were hardly watchable and I love Jennifer Garner.

But I digress. The point is Marvel took those two missteps and has now produced an impressive library of comic-book based movies. Guardians fits nicely in this library.

This was a pleasant surprise of a movie, full of great humor as well as an intriguing story. An assassin, a thief, two bounty hunters, and a thug who takes everything literally find themselves thrown together to save the universe from a power-hungry villain with a deep voice. I realize this sounds a lot like Star Wars or any other sci-fi movie but this actually works. We get the standard ‘bonding’ moments that most films like this create but what really makes Guardians unique is the humor.

It’s quick and zany at times. Think Psych in space (back when Psych was funny). Rocket the raccoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper, is the master of the one-liners and steals the movie. Great themes of friendship and sacrifice with very little bad language. The pace is quick and the story line is easy to pick up and follow.

What makes the film work is something that early Lucas and Joss Whedon get – great sci-fi movies are really westerns at heart. There is a relationship with nature, a broken, compromised hero, and deep necessity for teamwork. Guardians of the Galaxy gets this.

Guardians is already set up for a sequel so we will see if Marvel can continue the magic. It’s a solid addition to the Marvel universe.

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