Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Review: Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana & Bradley Cooper

Marvel’s newest film Guardians of the Galaxy is pure awesomeness. There is no other way to put it. Not only is Guardians one of the best superhero films released from Marvel Studios, its one of the funniest films of the year and one of the best “star wars” films we have seen in years. Director James Gunn (2006’s Slither) brings his love for the comic book heroes to life on the big screen, filming it both in regular cinemascope and glorious IMAX, while each actors brings their own unique flair to the wild bunch of unexpected superheroes.

Set in a galaxy far away, Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), finds himself in trouble after he steals a magical orb that is desired by the evil Ronan (Lee Pace). When Peter gets thrown in prison, he meets a few other misfits that have something in common with him: they’ve all lost something. There’s the green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) who has betrayed her once-boss Ronan, Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) whose family was killed by Ronan, Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a small, but ambitious raccoon eager to make a chunk of change any way he can and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), an alien tree who can branch out in more ways than one and says “I Am Groot” in response to everything.

When Peter suggests that the five strangers team up in order to bring Ronan down and save the Galaxy, they all agree, though getting along was never part of the plan.

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Chris Pratt. Ohhh where do I begin with the amazing Chris Pratt? Pratt is the perfect Peter Quill/Star-Lord. Coming from a place knowing little to nothing about the Guardians of the Galaxy, I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing our lead when the film concluded. Pratt gives Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord) the perfect balance of nerdy wannabe superhero and major badass-ness. We can’t even talk about that shirtless scene before he goes to prison.

Zoe Saldana is fierce as green goddess Gamora, Dave Bautista is electric as Drax the Destroyer and though Benicio Del Toro has maybe five minutes of screen time, he’s perfectly quirky as The Collector, who collects everything from animals to artifacts across the galaxy. Vin Diesel is great as he voices the gigantic, yet gentle alien tree named Groot, but the biggest surprise of Guardians is Bradley Cooper who voices the no nonsense raccoon Rocket. Cooper is completely unrecognizable as the wild Rocket, who loves big guns and his best pal Groot. Groot and Rocket make an especially fun team, especially since Rocket seems to be the only one that can understand Groot’s language.

James Gunn and cinematographer Ben Davis (2012’s Seven Psychopaths) give us gorgeous visuals in full IMAX glory. The 3D, which was converted works well in a few scenes, but could definitely have been left out, but the price of an IMAX ticket is well worth it. A blue, orange and silver galaxy in the background as Pratt and Saldana’s characters listen to music; glowing gold lights released from Groot’s hand capture the entire scenery; Rocket whizzing through space in his mini space capsule; and Chris Pratt’s abs….there is a lot of wondrous sights presented in full screen IMAX in the film.

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The action scenes are pure joy and keep you on the edge of your seat, while the characters spout their witty dialogue throughout the film, perfectly balancing the action with the emotional core of the characters. The film has an electric soundtrack, featuring several classic hits including Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling,” The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb” and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” By the end of the film, you’ll be in such a chipper mood that you’ll want to dance your socks off right with Peter Quill, Footloose style. And stay all the way through the end of the credits for a little bonus scene featuring Benicio Del Toro.

If Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t put you in the best mood, I don’t know what film will. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel all give stellar performances, while James Gunn directs the best film of his career to date.

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