I caught a midnight screening of Guardians of the Galaxy last night, and I've gotta admit, I'm still flabbergasted.
This is the lesser known story of a team of superheroes that no one ever really thought of as major players. They're the misfits... the B team with A team powers. And they're a strange kind of comic relief in the Marvel Universe... because they actually can fight and win and their quirk is just a part of what makes them lovable. But the idea of putting these guys on screen in their own major motion picture event... well that would have seemed unbelievable only two years ago. Yet Marvel dug deep and decided, at some point they'd have to start using their lesser known characters. Well they had already established that Thanos was gonna be a major part of the Avengers story line... come the third Avengers movie. So at some point they would have to start dealing with areas beyond Earth... and Asgard. So logically, Guardians of the Galaxy was that next step.
What James Gunn (Super, Slither) has accomplished here is nothing short of a miracle. He's taken a team that no one had ever heard of and turned them into a legitimate franchise in their own right. Even greater, he's given people an almost new property (this current Guardians lineup is only six years old in the comics) to sink their teeth into and get invested in. Suddenly the Marvel Universe feels so much bigger... and anything and everything is possible. Because this film has proven that they CAN introduce fifty new characters and twelve new worlds without the audience ever having to skip a beat. Like I said, I'm flabbergasted.
Chris Pratt is so likable as Star Lord. He's quirky and charming and just plain gets the job done. It's so exciting to watch this guy succeed because that's all he's been doing for the last fifteen years is proving he's the guy... and finally here he is leading a superhero squad on a most amazing adventure. Zoe Saldana likewise fits her role, Gamora, perfectly and has been building on a young but impressive career. To include Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon is just perfect casting and I'd venture so far as to say I think I'd rather see Vin Diesel as Groot than any other Marvel superhero. Dave Batista's Drax is sadistic and wonderful... and that's the whole team. They all rock.
Then you get the other guys, Lee Pace is just entertaining as Ronan and Michael Rooker's Yondu feels like exactly what that character should always be. Karen Gillan does a great job as Nebula, and while Djimon Hounsou didn't get nearly enough screen time as Korath, he was still damn cool. John C. Reilly is fun and down to Earth here as well. He fully understands what this movie is supposed to be. And let's not forget about Glen Close, Benicio Del Toro, and Peter Serafinowicz all of whom admirably fill their roles with quality. It's impressive to see the lengths Marvel was willing to go to in casting this film. Every other character is played by a star. And that's gotta be a piece of their formula for success here... or maybe it's just that everybody wanted to be involved because they all believe in what Marvel's doing.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but Guardians of the Galaxy is the biggest movie Marvel's ever made. Yes. It's bigger than The Avengers. It spans a galaxy and the stakes are high. The cast is so massive and well rounded that it almost makes the Avengers team look small... almost. Just saying, I can't wait to see these guys show up again both in their own movies and likely in Avengers 3.