Could anyone have really predicted that a moderately well-known television actor (Parks and Rec’s Chris Pratt) could lead a gang of misfits consisting of a renegade rival (Star Trek’s Zoe Saldana), a wise-cracking grifter of a raccoon (voiced by A-list heart-throb Bradley Cooper), a temperamental behemoth (SmackDown wrestling star Dave Bautista?), and a tree (“I am Groot” uttered repeatedly by Vin Diesel) to a box office hit?
My guess is the deep thinkers at Disney and Marvel Studios are pleasantly scratching their collective coconuts over this one – and working like mad to crank out the inevitable sequel(s) while locking up the necessary stars before they back up the Brink truck. Although it’s probably too late on that last one.
Guardians of the Galaxy (written and directed by James Gunn) is definitely a crowd-pleaser. The “Awesome hits” throwback soundtrack is big fun with well-placed feel-good songs. Pratt is undeniably likable and surprisingly capable of carrying the story on his shoulders. Even more surprisingly, the light comedic elements roll easily here and strike just the right tone. This is where so many of these pictures slam their fingers in the car door.
For my money, I could have used a little less of the chaotic special fx that these Marvel films feel compelled to deliver, but I get it. It comes with the territory.
Just hoping that they spend twice as much time on the next script and half the money on the bells and whistles, because what works in this film is the charm of the casting chemistry. And when you get that kind of lightning in a bottle, you should water it daily and keep it out of asteroid showers.