Dr. Donna Copeland’s





 ​I will probably be the only person who didn’t enjoy Marvel’s latest comic book adaptation Guardians of the Galaxy. The Marvel universe continues to expand in the far reaches of space with Guardians, which was eluded to in a post-credits scene from Thor: The Dark World where we see Benicio del Toro as The Collector (stay after the credits this time for another hint at what’s to come). I don't have whatever 12-year-old boy still inhabits most adults' sense of humor, and light fare is certainly not how I like my comic book stories. It didn’t get one laugh from me, but far worse is the fact that the script never allowed me to care about whether any of the characters lived or died; of course, this is the Marvel world and no one can really die.

 ​Peter Quill (Pratt) was abducted into space as a child and has made the galaxy his wrecking room. Now he is unwillingly part of a misfit group that must keep a dangerous and powerful weapon out of the wrong hands. His partners in saving the galaxy include a genetically manufactured but highly skilled raccoon named Rocket (Cooper) and his protector, a giant transformative tree named Groot (Diesel). The fourth in their company is a green humanoid-looking alien named Gamora (Saldana), who has until now been under the protection of Ronan (Pace) the conqueror, who wants the weapon to enslave everyone.

 ​ Guardians of the Galaxy is Marvel’s version of a superhero sitcom. As special effects oversaturate every corner of the screen, there is very little organic material for the actors to interact with, very unlike Lord of the Rings or Planet of the Apes where everything blends so seamlessly; it purposefully stands out here. Even in the few serious moments of the film, 80’s pop music dilutes the seriousness of the situation or Quill breaks into dance. The music and all its irony does have significance in the script's backstory, but it’s the lack of seriousness it causes in nearly all the otherwise intense moments.

 ​It’s true that I am not a fan of most comic book films; I prefer them dark, serious and tragic (The Dark Knight, X-Men). This film (funded by Disney mind you) has an adolescent male in mind with the jokes and the entertainment. Guardians of the Galaxy nearly put me to sleep with Pratt bragging on how much he loved working on this film and his excitement for the sequels, you already know his character is never in serious peril. Pace (The Hobbit) does make for a great villain, although his fascinating face is hidden under makeup and shadow. This film is just the beginning of an endless series to fill our cinemas with more mindless entertainment, which will no doubt appeal to the masses and the teenage boy in everyone.

 Final Thought – Marvels comic book movie sitcom.

Grade C-

By: Dustin Chase

 If these characters were the guardians of our galaxy…well, I don’t know!  But they do make for a fun evening with a clever mixture of fiery battles, high jinks, bickering, humor, love, and stellar special effects.  The film opens on a somber note, telling the story of the hero Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) early life and how he came to be “Star Lord.”  I am not a comic book fan, so I was a bit lost for a while, but the characters are so well drawn, it didn’t take long for me to be oriented, and to get used to humor mixed in so seamlessly with the drama.

 Peter’s close allies are Rocket Raccoon (voice of Bradley Cooper), Groot (a talking tree played by Vin Diesel), and the impulsive brute who runs off at the mouth, Drax (Dave Bautista).   Ronan (Lee Pace) is from another planet, and he desperately wants a mysterious orb that Peter has found on an abandoned planet, so he sends one of the two daughters of Thanos in his court, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), to get it for him.  Gamora, with other intentions up her sleeve, heads straight to Peter, and they have some fearsome battles.  To complicate matters, there is a collector, Taneleer (Benecio del Toro) who wants to buy the orb as well, so he enters the competition.  Another main character is Yondu Odanta (Michael Rooker), who abducted Peter into his Ravagers (space bandit) clan when he was a child (a fact he is constantly reminding Peter about); he had instructed Peter to fetch the orb originally.  Peter goes to warn him that Ronan is likely to attack him for the orb, but Yondu takes a bit of convincing.  And as things go from bad to worse for the universe, Peter enlists the aid of Nova Prime (Glenn Close), head of Xander, which Ronan is threatening to destroy; and a huge battle breaks out.

 James Gunn wrote the script with the help of Nicole Perlman, and the film is one of the more successful attempts to transform a Marvel comic book story into a movie.  All kinds of outrageous, impossible things happen, but because of the nature of the genre, reality can easily be suspended, and Gunn and Perlman have inserted many cheeky moments to keep the viewer engaged and entertained.  The film makes it easy to see how so many people have gotten caught up in the comic book fantasy world.

 Chris Pratt plays the role of a rather quiet, modest hero well, and he and Zoe Saldana make a good acting team.  In fact, the entire group of actors is well cast, and in addition to those mentioned above, they include Josh Brolin (Thanos), Djimon Hounsou (The Pursuer), and John C. Reilly (Rhomann Dey).  Music by Tyler Bates has great songs that sync well with the action, and he even gets in some funny jokes along with with the music.  Beautiful special effects are thanks to cinematographer Ben Davis, Ray Chan (art direction), Richard Roberts (set direction), and Alexandra Byrne (costume design), and their colleagues.

 A stylish, highly entertaining production.

Grade:  A