Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Django Unchained (94)

So where do I begin with Guardians of the Galaxy? Perhaps by saying this is certainly Marvel Studios’ best film to date. That’s a tough statement to make, because The Avengers is probably the studio’s most legendary film – it is, after all, the third highest grossing film of all time. There are a whole bunch of reasons why I believe Guardians of the Galaxy to be an absolutely amazing film, and one of the best comic books adaptations we have.

First of all, superheroes do tackle serious subjects, and very often are more about crime and punishment than anything else. However, they are rooted in a very camp, colorful world of comic books, and while some superhero films have been notoriously dark and gritty (looking at you, The Dark Knight Trilogy), comedy just blends well with superheroes. Perhaps it was Robert Downey Jr.’s iconic performance as Iron Man – a performance more about charm, wit and sarcastic humor than being an actual superhero – that allowed these types of films to have some very funny moments and a lighter atmosphere, combined with the action and epic storytelling. Guardians of the Galaxy is different to this – instead of being a superhero action film with comedic moments, this was a superhero comedy. It was actually incredibly exciting to see this serendipitous marriage between comedy and action in such a way.

Chris Pratt brought so much to the role – it was a strange choice at the time to cast him, but it proved to be the best choice. Pratt has the exact personality to come across as a lovable dork who deep down is a conflicted hero. Bradley Cooper steals the show as Rocket Raccoon, being a rodent version of a Woody Allen character, tossing off cynical one-liners and hilarious sarcasm. He ultimately just says three words repeatedly throughout the film, but Vin Diesel is actually very moving as Groot – he is the stereotypical gentle giant who can really do some damage, but his performance is so touching. Dave Bautista really tries hard here – although it was a very flawed performance, you have to give the man some credit. He made his career in pro-wrestling, where the sincere emotions needed for a film like this are never in demand, so I think he does a great job here.

It is very exciting to find new talents like James Gunn – people whose careers started off in independent cinema and proved themselves to be able to handle such an epic film like Guardians of the Galaxy. Blockbusters are becoming smarter, and therefore we need to have brains behind the camera to be able to mould smart, yet still action-packed, stories and present them in such a way that it will draw everyone out to see it, fans and casual viewers alike. I am very excited for Gunn’s iminent return to the franchise in 2017. He is definitely talented and I hope we can see more of his talent in the coming years.

Smart, funny, moving and incredibly epic – it is the perfect superhero film. It tells an entire saga in two hours, and thus never overstays its welcome. It is beatifully made and boasts some great performances. I could nitpick here, but the fact is that Guardians of the Galaxy is definitely a perfect superhero film.

Best film of the year (so far)

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