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Guardians of the Galaxy

By JAY HORTON
From the beginning, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was plagued by questions about a largely untested director and wholly unknown characters. It hardly helped that the initial trailer seemed like a “Hooked on a Feeling” video. As it turns out, it’s not so easy to ignore the soundtrack in this strangely wonderful, thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi romp. It centers on Peter “Star-Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt), who was taken from Earth as a boy. How does he learn to embrace his half-human lineage? Via a cherished collection of soft-rock hits. As bounty hunters and assassins trail Quill through the cosmos, the wall-to-wall music feels bonkers yet perfectly apropos. Director James Gunn, who previously helmed a pair of clever indie genre pastiches, ignores the Marvel house style that’s quickly calcifying into brooding solemnity. Instead, he kicks up the summer jams of yesteryear as our ragtag menagerie follows an all-powerful orb, from a space-prison breakout to alien-cantina brawls, and he never surrenders the lightness of tone or the dark humor. As Quill, Pratt throws himself so bodily into self-effacing gags that it’s easily to overlook the real depths of his performance. After all, his character must forge bonhomie with a wrestler (WWE mainstay Dave Bautista), a cosplay icon (Avatar star Zoe Saldana), and two figments of post-production wizardry (Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, voicing the cybernetically augmented Rocket Raccoon and sentient arboreal creature Groot, respectively). We see Quill’s singular neediness, and Pratt manages to make that unenviable premise—defending the universe out of fears of abandonment—funny, endearing and more or less believable.
 
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Science fiction
  • Release Date: Friday, August 1, 2014
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13
  • Critic's Score: A-
  • Starring: Chris Pratt [Peter Quill/Star-Lord], Zoe Saldana [Gamora], Dave Bautista [Drax the Destroyer], Vin Diesel [Voice of Groot], Bradley Cooper [Voice of Rocket], Lee Pace [Ronan the Accuser], Michael Rooker [Yondu], Karen Gillan [Nebula], Djimon Hounsou [Korath], Benicio Del Toro [The Collector], John C. Reilly [Rhomann Dey], Glenn Close [Nova Prime Rael]
  • Directed by: James Gunn [Director], James Gunn [Screenwriter], Kevin Feige [Producer], Louis D'Esposito [Executive Producer], Victoria Alonso [Executive Producer], Jeremy Latcham [Executive Producer], Alan Fine [Executive Producer], Stan Lee [Executive Producer], Ben Davis [Cinematographer], Charles Wood [Production Design], Fred Raskin [Film Editor], Hughes Winborne [Film Editor], Alexandra Byrne [Costume Designer]
  • Watch the trailer
 

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