Director: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Gunn, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, John C. Reilly, Peter Serafinowicz, Laura Haddock, Christopher Fairbank, Gregg Henry, Stan Lee, Mikaela Hoover, Ophelia Lovibond, Josh Brolin, Seth Green, Nathan Fillion.
Do you remember watching that grotesque horror slash comedy where Michael Rooker turns into a hideous, putrid, alien blob that starts munching on the rest of the townsfolk? You know, the film with those red slug like leeches that invade that lady's bathtub, sure you do. Slither, James Gunn's main feature directorial debut that paid homage to all those gory, nasty and often silly horror films that bled from the screens during the eighties. There isn't much else he's done apart from a few TV movies 2010's Super and a segment from Movie 43; and he's probably best known for his writing and screenplay abilities. So, is it fair to say that plonking Gunn at the helm is a bold and daring choice.
We should faith in Marvel Studios when casting and picking directors, especially for the Marvel Cinematic Universe but it already seems Gunn has enough weight and creative attitude to take charge, doing it his way, casting Pratt, his brother and friends from Slither; and even filming to both score and music, an unconventional method. But more about the soundtrack later. In fact, when looking over the rest of the MCU's franchise, Gunn is the only other director, other than Avengers Joss Whedon, to write, screenplay and direct.
We're now well into the second phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with this being the ninth film of the franchise and unlike all the previous ones, this is a new entry starting far, far away across the universe. Now it's not the original 1969 publication of Guardians of the Galaxy but the reinvented Guardians of 2008, a fairly young comic by Marvel standards, that saw a team-up of some preexisting Marvel characters. Star-Lord, Rocket Racoon, Groot, Drax and Gamora had all previously appeared in comics, mostly independently of one another during the 70s. Apart from Groot, who's first appearance dates back to 1960!
Chris Pratt was born to play Peter Quill aka Star-Lord who's loaded with what every intergalactic outlaw must have in abundance, sarcasm and egotistical arrogance, having that carefree confidence but actually having a deeper compassionate side. He should remind you very much of Han Solo and Firefly's Mal but with a bit more immaturity, that of a man-child that apparently only cares about his next pay check, his ship and his Sony Walkman.
Saldana plays the gorgeous green Zen-whoberis, the last of her species and adopted daughter of space tyrant Thanos. She's also known as the most dangerous woman in the Galaxy and Saldana does a great job of bringing the stern, ferocious femme fatale to life. Bautista plays Drax the Destroyer superbly, for what he lacks in sense of humour, he makes up for determination and strength. Cooper voices one of my favourite Marvel characters, Rocket Racoon, the cybernetic modified experiment, one of kind, mischievous, furry MacGyver that can make explosives with Rubik's cube precision. And finally Diesel voicing the walking, slightly talking tree trunk that isn't anything like LotR's Ents but is so damn handy to have about.
It's double cross after double cross as each of them have their own agenda, but the bunch of misfits serve a common goal of actually doing the right thing, for a change. And that's stopping the intergalactic despot, Ronan the Accuser who's hell bent on cleansing the universe of anything not Kree. Lee Pace plays him brilliantly actually making him one of my favourite MCU villains. He's ruthless, cold, unforgiving and all the perfect traits that make up a super villain evil.
The action is lucid with some excellent and creative space dog fights, and like everything else to do with the film, it's vivid, captivating and simply awesome to watch. It's like all my favourite wacky sci-fi adventures rolled into one, reminding me of Titan A.E., Critters, Roger Corman's Battle Beyond The Stars and Firefly/Serenity. Nathan Fillion actually has an unrecognisable cameo as an alien in this film, having his nose picked by Groot.
The soundtrack is something to boast about here, actually being a massive part of the film. Gunn decided to have Tyler Bates compose the score before filming began which is usually done after, so he could film to the music and help the characters get into character. Gunn compiled a huge list of hit songs from the 70's and 80's and again played the chosen tracks whilst filming, tracks that actually helped ground the character of Star-Lord bringing him down the Earth, reminding the viewers he's an Earthling like the rest of us, making him a more relatable character. The soundtrack actually reached the number one slot on the US billboards boosting sells of classics such as Blue Swede's "Hooked on a Feeling" and Redbone's "Come Get Your Love".
It's such great fun, well paced and perfectly balanced proving that it is possibly to introduce a small team of new characters without it getting to complicated or messy, unlike the other Marvel films from the other studios. It's certainly one of the favourite Marvel films and definitely one of the best geeky, science fiction films in recent times that doesn't take itself too seriously but actually has some great heroics and quite a bit of heart.
Next up: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2
Running Time: 9
The Cast: 9
Job Description: 10
The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for it's overall awesomeness and soundtrack.
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Already got it!
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