guardians of the galaxy

Editors note: I wrote this review months ago. I saw the film the day it came out. As usual I wanted it to marinate in my head for a while. Just not this long. I re-read the review and I still feel the same. I thought maybe Stormy had some valid points, but I couldn’t disagree more with his take on the movie. So read the reviews and if you are one of the few who have yet to see it, my only question is what the heck are you waiting for?! — Alan Yudman

Can Marvel do any wrong? Probably. Depends who you ask. But GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is not proof of that. The challenge for director and co-writer James Gunn was how to introduce characters that not everyone is familiar with. Everyone knows who Iron Man, Thor and Captain America are. We’re all familiar with The Avengers. But, Star Lord, Groot, Gemora, Rocket Racoon? No clue before seeing the first trailer. So Gunn had to introduce the characters and make the movie entertaining. Wow, did he succeed!! Let me get it out of the way early… This may be the second best Marvel movie ever! A close second to THE AVENGERS. The story, the characters, the drama, the action. Perfect. The pace? Perfect! I was totally into this from the beginning. The first strains of “Hooked on a Feeling” got me hooked. Jeff and Stormy detailed the plot, so no need to go too deep into it. But, wow! Chris Pratt was great. Vin Diesel as Groot had basically one line and a bunch of grunts but that totally worked. Dave Bautista’s Dax the Destroyer was a great straight man for the rest of the cast. Bradley Cooper’s voice work as  Rocket Racoon was perfect. There is nothing I did not like about this movie. Even the 3D worked perfectly for me. And the easter egg in the post credits sequence.. BEAUTIFUL!!! I could go into more detail, but why over analyze it? Just go and see it and enjoy!! — Alan Yudman

You know you’re in for something different in the movie’s first moment: when’s the last time you saw a major studio picture, a tentpole blockbuster no less, that did not begin with its studio and production company logos? Not for about ten minutes does the new, jazzed up and fleshed out Marvel header roll onscreen, and the title comes later still. What follows, in fact, only mildly upends the genre apple cart; it’s your standard superhero movie with laughs. But the wisecracking and even snarkiness at times never betray its story or characters. I’d call it pure fun, but the screenplay deftly inserts intensely felt human moments, some touching, others quite sad (and possibly disturbing to little kids). It is masterful at making us care so much about what could have been cartoonish. I mean, a talking raccoon? A lovable-lug tree come to life? And yet it works. Speaking of that raccoon, I don’t know who to credit more: Bradley Cooper for his spot-on line readings, or the animators who have given human-level subtlety of expression to the “hybrid animal”. And just as marvel-ous, the way Groot the tree is conceived, from his enveloping branches to the tenderness of his responses. (All credit to Vin Diesel for taking the only three words Groot knows and giving them so many inflections.) Plus, there’s a striking moment of spectral wonder when the group finds themselves in a dark place – and Groot opens his “hand” to release hundreds of firefly-like creatures. Maybe because the five Guardians are so distinctly drawn, I had trouble distinguishing the standard issue villains from one another — Ronan from Yondu from Korath — although Michael Rooker is vivid and menacing. So much has been written about how groundbreaking, even revolutionary this project was seen as from the get-go. Not quite. But who cares when you’re having such a good time? — Jeff Schultz

I was hoping to love “Guardians of the Galaxy”. I expected to like it. Nothing could prepare me for my actual reaction, which reminded me of a morning after a night of drinking cheap beer. Blech. This one tries waaaaaay to hard at everything. Overused special effects, story exposition that passes for dialogue, jokes that fall flat, no chemistry between the “characters”, an attempt to be both edgy and appeal to toddlers, predictable at every turn, I could clamor on and on….but then I would be just like this movie. I haven’t walked out of a movie in years and the only reason I didn’t this time was because of the “Marvel” brand. I kept thinking “this will get better”. Aside from the first five minutes which were incredible and Rocket Raccoon, this Galaxy blew. I am in the minority as far as my opinion goes and that’s okay. I was also alone in my thinking when a movie centered on a “Crystal Skull” came out and now most folks agree. Guess time will tell. — Stormy Curry

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