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This movie was a risk.
Marvel Studios has found success in its major superhero films, such as Iron Man, Captain America and The Avengers. These movies center on popular characters. The Thor and Hulk movies made returns as well, but their lackluster quality (at least, compared to the other films) showed.
Other Marvel heroes, the X-Men and Spider-Man, also bring in large grosses, even though the two film franchises were licensed to other studios. Still, the lower-quality installments brought in the lesser revenue.
With Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel has taken a gamble, bringing lesser-known stories to the big screen. This time, the focus on making a good film seemed to over-ride the studio’s desire to make money.
This move has paid off.
This is a good, fun film; I give it a 9 out of 10. The story is emotional, the pacing is tight and the humor is solid.
The most crucial element of Guardians’ success is the cast. Each of the characters is relatable, without being cliché. Their chemistry is as natural as this reviewer’s group of friends.
Star Chris Pratt brings his happy-go-lucky side to the main role of Star-Lord. Pratt delivers a performance that rivals Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark.
Bradley Cooper, the voice of Rocket Raccoon, and Vin Diesel, the voice of Groot, steal the show. Lee Pace gives the film a memorable villain as the radical Ronan the Accuser.
Another key aspect of Guardians’ breakout was the soundtrack. A major plot point revolves around the movie’s soundtrack, a cassette Star-Lord’s mother gave him.
In a recent interview with Billboard magazine, director James Gunn said that he went through 1970s pop songs to craft Star-Lord’s mixtape. The tracks not only fit their respective scenes perfectly, but they are also catchy.
For example, Blue Swede’s 1974 cover of “Hooked on a Feeling” has been stuck in this reviewer’s head for the last two weeks.
This soundtrack enabled Gunn to reach beyond the movie’s target demographic. Its familiarity also eases the audience into this strange universe.
Guardians is rated PG-13 and for good reason. While children will love Groot and Drax, some of the jokes and violence are definitely not for them.
Ultimately, the pieces fall together to make this both an entertaining film and a smash hit. Guardians will likely top the end-of-the-year best lists.
This reviewer is slow to make the obvious comparison to Disney’s other science fiction franchise. When movies such as Green Lantern and Ghost Rider fail, Guardians proves that a really good movie is worth more than a familiar face.
Maybe Hollywood should take more risks.