Film Review: Guardians of the Galaxy


Guardians of the Galaxy

Do you remember when the first Guardians of the Galaxy trailer was released to the masses and the masses balked? This isn’t a Marvel comic book film, were the cries. There was space, and spaceships and people with green skin. Ohh… people.

That trailer totally got me. My knowledge of the Marvel universe is limited. Did not have the remotest clue about Guardians of the Galaxy. Nothing. It was new. It looked different. And after the disappointment of Man of Steel, Thor: The Dark World and, to a lesser extent, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I really needed to see a comic book film that would restore my faith in the genre.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Peter Quill – sly devil.

James Gunn’s Gaurdians of the Galaxy did just that. Guardians takes us out of the well-known universe and plonks us somewhere completely alien, while still building a universe and arc that’s going to be pivotal in Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s funny, witty, dry and sarcastic. It’s a mainstream James Gunn film. And a good one. A GREAT one.

Guardians of the Galaxy felt very much like The Avengers – putting the band together. But with Guardians the band of misfits really felt like a proper band of misfits. Misfits, outcasts and those who don’t fit in. None of these guys can be classed as “genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist” – somewhere Peter, Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket just fell of a wagon and carved their own paths.

Thoroughly enjoyed the action in the film. It just feels like it’s been forever since there was a good space based film. (Just as I typed that, my brain went to Interstellar. What I mean is a space sci-fi pulp feeling film. K?) The final battle was incredible. It was perfectly done with some actually very emotional moments alongside Gamora and Nebula slogging it out and epic air battle going on around it all.

Guardians of the Galaxy

I am Groot.

The score disappointed. Tyler Bates’ score didn’t shine in the film. It didn’t bring anything to the moments it was backing. Then on listening to it as a standalone album, I can’t remember much of it. Perhaps I’m moving on from the “soundtrack-y” sounding scores. BUT the actual movie soundtrack is fantastic – the awesome mix vol. 1 was the oddly perfect selection of songs for the film.

Chris Pratt knocked it out of the park as Peter. Funny, intelligent, witty – completely sold on Star Lord. Was surprised how attached I got to both Rocket and Groot. Especially Rocket – the film did a brilliant job at not over sentimentalising the shitty situations each of the Guardians were previously in. Or saw themselves as.

Guardians of the Galaxy

An utterly magical moment in the film.

And it’s that that made the film for me. Despite all the glorious space opera going on and the action – the Guardians of the Galaxy themselves were each incredibly relatable characters. At one point in our lives, we’ve all felt some of what these characters have portrayed. And look at them – they’re fucking heroes who still have a long way to go.

120+ Movies: Summer Blockbuster season is here!

120+ Movies of 2011

The InternationalThe International (23/04/11)

An Interpol agent attempts to expose a high-profile financial institution’s role in an international arms dealing ring.

What have I learnt from watching this film? The world’s banks are lethal corporate machines and rule the world with an iron fist. Or something like that. What else have I learnt? The subject of banks don’t necessarily make for an interesting thriller. I got lost in a lot of the details.

Plotting was pretty slow. I admit I did get very bored and woke up somewhat just as the excellent scene at the Guggenheim museum played out. Loved that scene and the use of the structure of the museum was brilliant.

Can’t remember the outcome of the film, but by the end I didn’t care too much. None too thrilling characters and heavy dialog meant I got lost along the way!
Rating: 2/5

ThorThor (25/04/11)

The powerful but arrogant warrior Thor is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard and sent to live amongst humans on Earth, where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.

The first time I saw the trailer for the film I was a little scared. It looked like it could be a major car crash of a comic book film and not at all paving the way for The Avengers film. The look of Asgard looked so absolutely over the top. I couldn’t imagine that playing alongside the very normal Earthbound scenes.

The film was anything but a car crash. It was brilliant! Loved it. Chris Hemsworth made a fantastic Thor. Going from an arrogant, cock-sure god to a much more human god. Asgard looked absolutely stunning as did all the very elaborate Asgard-ian outfits. Great storyline – simple but there was no need for it to be any more complicated for the sake of it. Loved the cameo from a certain Avenger and the post-credits scene just made me excited about The Avengers movie.

Natalie Portman didn’t have a whole lot to do. Shame, but that’s what the role called for. All of the attention was firmly on Thor and his journey. As an origin film for a comic book character, that’s what the film needed to be.

Having the film in 3D is utterly pointless. Some of the action sequences were so frenetic that it all looked like a blur in 3D. Though that’s more the studio and marketing people’s insistence on making films 3D when there’s absolutely no need for it.

I think the bar has been raised very high for the rest of the comic book movies that are due to be released this year. It also has bonus points from me for using Foo Fighters.
Rating: 5/5

Fast & Furious 5: Rio HeistFast & Furious 5: Rio Heist (28/04/11)

Dominic and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a relentless federal agent.

This film doesn’t claim to be anything other than what it is – a balls out ridiculously large action film with some of the most beautiful cars seen onscreen since Gone in 60 Seconds. And for that I absolutely loved it.

The plot’s simple, even with a couple of hiccups along the way, the film goes from A to B with few deviations from the course. You’ve got some fantastic action sequences set in the favelas of Rio. Those really were fantastic to watch. I think I caught a little bit of CG when Brian and Mia went crashing through a rusted roof – they suddenly looked very plastic-y! Other than that, the action sequences looked refreshingly real – something a lot of action films lack these days.

Same with the car chase sequences. All were done with real cars and some skilled stunt drivers. That’s another reason to applause the film. I still think my favourite car chase sequence of all time is shared between Ronin, The Bourne Identity and Supremacy. However the final car chase with the bank vault was so ridiculously audacious and just plain massive, it’s got a special place on my favourite car chase list.

The car themselves? Can I just say wow? The 2002 Porsche GT3, 1966 Ford GT40, Koenigsegg CCX, 1972 Nissan Skyline, I could go on! Too many pretty cars for me to list them all, but those are my favourites. I think. The list is sure to change the next time I see the film, when I buy it on blu-ray!

Brian Tyler’s back with the scoring duties and he’s pulled it off again. Fantastic action movie score to add that little bit more to the film. It’s hard not to love it.

Fast & Furious wasn’t a movie franchise I thought I’d be a fan of. I just ignore films 2 and 3 in the franchise. 1 and 4 were fantastic films and Rio Heist is a great addition to the franchise.
Rating: 5/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far:

100 movies: Action is good for the soul

100 movies of 2010

I really do love my action movies. Brainless action, not so brainless, love them all. Here’s, what I think, are some good ones that I’ve seen recently:

Kick Ass (01/04/10)
It was funny going to see this at the cinema and hearing reactions from people sitting in the cinema who, presumably, had no idea about what the movie was about and the characters, other than comic book movie. Hearing the gasps and snorts of laughter when Hit Girl swore and got into action was funny. Now I haven’t read the comic book, but I do know enough about it to have expected some of the things I saw.

What I saw I absolutely loved. This will easily be in amongst my favourite movies of the year. It was just so good on all levels! I loved the action – Hit Girl’s action sequences were amazingly choreographed. Just amazing. It had plenty of funnies in it too. Plenty of giggles. But it made me cry – now I do cry at nearly anything, but there were some really touching scenes which got to me! Nicholas Cage got to do his crazy thing. Aaron Johnson was a brilliant lead and I am shocked to find out how young he is. Chloe Moretz was a big highlight of the film. Can I see the film again? Now? That was my reaction when the movie ended.
Rating: 5/5

Clash of the Titans (02/04/10)
I really resent Vue Cinemas. Why? All of my local cinemas are Vue Cinemas and NONE of them were showing Titans in 2D. I knew I wanted to see this film in 2D because after Alice in Wonderland I made the decision to not see a 3D film unless it was filmed in 3D and not treated after filming. As what was done with Titans. Sadly, I wasn’t able to. Bloody Vue! Maybe I could have waited to see if they’d eventually show it in 2D, but I just really wanted to see the film. The original was a childhood favourite, even though Medussa seriously creeped me out, and well, it’s just a lot of crazy action.

I wasn’t disappointed. Well maybe with the 3D, but I was expecting that. I kept flicking my glasses off and seeing, despite a bit of blurry-ness, there was nothing different. The film itself did what I thought it would – big monsters, lots of action, Sam Worthington being pretty awesome. All boxes ticked. I wasn’t expecting anything huge in the way of a storyline. The scenes with the gods felt a little cheap. But I did learn something. Stick a beard and long hair on Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes and they look almost identical.
Rating: 3/5

Fast & Furious (02/04/10)
Right, some of you are going to look at me differently after you read what I have to say about this film. I’m sorry if you do. I like these kind of films. A vague plot line. A lot of action. Really good action score. AND LOTS of pretty cars all going really fast, or seemingly going fast, and racing and just being awesome. I liked the first FF film. The second one was a bit of a joke and I didn’t even see Tokyo Drift. Neither Vin Diesel nor Paul Walker are the best calibre of actors but they suit this genre of film. And in its category, this is a damn good film. I REALLY enjoyed it. Far more than I thought I would. It’s good fun to watch. I really wish I could drive like some of the driving that was done in this film. In a muscle car. No wait … yeah, muscle car.
Rating: 4/5

Read more to see the full list of movies I’ve seen so far this year.