If you’ve been following my reviews, you’ll know that I’m a huge Marvel fan and the fact that I saw Guardians of the Galaxy the night it came out should come as no surprise to you. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little unsure about the direction that Marvel decided to go with the Guardians. Until now, all the characters have been…relatively normal. Sure, you have a genetically altered super-soldier, a demigod from Norse mythology, and of course, Hulk, but all of those things are slightly plausible in some sense if you keep a very, very open mind. There are performance-enhancing drugs that can at least make you feel like a super-soldier, Norse mythology, for all we know, could hypothetically be real, and gamma radiation is a real thing. Guardians of the Galaxy is a whole new ball-game. Peter Quill is essentially the most normal person in the entire film, and he’s not even completely human. Gamora is the last of the Zen Whoberi, a species exterminated by the Badoon, but that’s another story. It is never stated exactly what Drax the Destroyer is, but he certainly is far from human. Then we have the real stars of the film, Rocket Raccoon, a cybernetically and genetically engineered raccoon, and Groot, a Flora Colossus from Planet X. Another risk that Marvel took, as if that cast wasn’t enough, is the fact that only the first 10 minutes takes place on Earth.
The film opens on Peter Quill as a young boy at his mother’s deathbed. After her inevitable passing, Peter is taken by Yondu, a Ravager, for no explainable reason. Flash forward 26 years, we find an older Peter Quill on the planet Morag stealing a mysterious orb for The Broker. It is here that we get our first look at Kree Ronan the Accuser’s main henchman Korath the Pursuer. Yondu discovers that Peter has escaped Morag and issues a bounty for his capture, while Ronan sends Thanos’ adopted daughter Gamora after the orb. When Peter attempts to sell the orb on the Nova Corps home world Xandar, Gamora engages him, and eventually bounty hunters Rocket and Groot get involved in the chase too. After the four are arrested, they are sent to be imprisoned in the Kyln. At the Kyln, we are finally introduced to the last of the Guardians, Drax. Ronan killed Drax’s family, so Drax makes an attempt on Gamora’s life due to her association with the Kree, only to be stopped by Peter claiming that Drax can exact his revenge on Ronan himself. Gamora reveals that she plans on betraying Ronan and selling the orb to an unnamed third party, thus prompting the group to make their escape from the prison. Meanwhile, Ronan meet with Thanos to discuss Gamora’s betrayal. Yes, we finally get to see Thanos! And not just for five seconds this time. Granted it’s only a five minute scene, it does an excellent job at portraying the ruthlessness of both Ronan and especially Thanos. Now that the Guardians have escaped the Kyln, Gamora leads them to Knowhere; a remote criminal outpost built in a giant severed head of an ancient celestial being. Gamora’s contact just happens to be Taneleer Tivan, the Collector. We already know from Thor: The Dark World that Tivan already has the aether, so keep that in mind. When given the orb, Tivan at last tells us about the Infinity Stones. He opens the orb to reveal a glowing purple stone, relaying to the group that this particular stone destroys all but the most powerful beings who touch it. Ignoring the obvious warning, Tivan’s assistant grabs the stone, triggering a massive explosion. Meanwhile, Drax has gotten himself drunk and, aching for revenge, calls Ronan and makes him aware of their location. Ronan arrives and the first epic battle ensues. Without giving too much away, Ronan gets away with the orb, and now it is up to the Guardians to save Xandar from imminent decimation.
Let me start off by saying that this movie far surpassed every single expectation I had. I was blown away by how much I loved it. Part of the reason why I loved it so much is because it was so different from any other superhero movie I’ve ever seen. With the exception of the Avengers and X-Men, superheroes generally work alone or with a partner, so to see a team work together like this was incredibly refreshing, and with a cast like this (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, and Lee Pace), you just can’t go wrong. One of the greatest things in this film is the absolute hilarity from start to finish. Normally, if there’s a funny part in a movie I’ll give a quiet little chuckle, but this was different; many times I found myself laughing out loud along with the rest of the audience. Several times I laughed longer than was probably necessary, but I just couldn’t help it! Groot is by far the funniest character I’ve seen in a very long time, rivaling Tommy Callahan in my favorite comedy, “Tommy Boy.” Because Groot’s only lines are, “I am Groot,” he relies heavily on facial expressions and body language. That, paired with his child-like innocence makes his character all the better and more fantastic. He truly stole the spotlight. Another one of my favorite things about this movie is that we are finally formally introduced to the Infinity Stones. Fans of the movies, but not the comics, desperately needed an explanation, and we finally got one. Granted it’s not a very thorough explanation, it still introduced what was to come in Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Really the only big critique I have of the film is that some of the comedy took away from the rather serious situation. Ronan is planning on using an Infinity Stone to destroy an entire planet. If he succeeds, he will inevitably destroy other planets and countless lives will be lost. The severity of the situation, while not lost of the Guardians, is actually much bigger than what is portrayed.
Thankfully, I was only left with a couple questions; another refreshment from the usual open-ended Marvel movie. One that can probably be easily answered is, if this is part of the MCU and part of Phase Two, then where is S.H.I.E.L.D. or Thor? As for S.H.I.E.L.D., it’s a simple explanation that the organization doesn’t exist anymore due to the events of The Winter Soldier. But if Thor hails from Asgard, does that mean that the Guardians could or have potentially gone there? However, Asgard is in another realm, so that could be a moot point as long as the Guardians have no way to travel across realms. The question on everyone’s mind is, which Infinity Stones are what, and what does this mean for the rest of Phase Two and all of Phase Three? All over the internet you can find people speculating, but the most popular theories are that we now know four of the six stones. The Tesseract has been confirmed to be the Space Stone and is currently in Asgard. The aether, though never confirmed, is widely believed to be the Reality Stone, and is in the precarious possession of the Collector, though after the explosion that may be a bit of a problem. The orb is confirmed to be the Power Stone, and I won’t spoil what happens to it. Fans suspect that the Chitauri Scepter that Loki had, now in the possession of Baron von Strucker, contains the Mind Stone. That leaves the Time and Soul Stones, which will lead to the inevitable appearance of Adam Warlock.
As for the end-credit scene, you’ll just have to wait and see that for yourself! Overall, I would give Guardians of the Galaxy 9/10 and definitely worth seeing it in theaters!