News

REVIEW: ‘Guardians’ among year’s most entertaining

REVIEW: ‘Guardians’ among year’s most entertaining

Photo: YouTube

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | Run Time: 121 min | Rated: PG-13
Director: James Gunn | Starring: Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, John C. Reilly, Benicio Del Toro, Djimon Hounsou

By: George Wolf of Maddwolf.com

As a rule, August – like January – is the month studios sweep out their bin of movies that weren’t quite good enough to make the prime time cut. Usually we can expect little more than dregs until mid-autumn, when both holiday and awards season begins in earnest and studios once again proudly populate cinemas.

And yet, in what has been the summer of SciFi, James Gunn elevates our August with one of the most entertaining films of 2014, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

An uneasy bond connects five interstellar losers, each needing another to 1) avenge, 2) cash in, 3) survive, and 4) save the galaxy. It has to do with an orb, is all very cosmic bounty hunter-y, and includes a raccoon that sounds remarkably like 2011’s Sexiest Man Alive.

Right there – casting Bradley Cooper as the raccoon – Gunn zigs when you expect him to zag. Cooper excels as the very angry varmint, joining an entirely inspired cast.

Chris Pratt, who beefcaked up a bit for the gig, shoulders the leading role in his second relentlessly enjoyable film this year, after January’s joyous The Lego Movie, here playing the American intergalactic scavenger and adventurer, and lover of easy listening jams.

Pratt’s endearing combination of humility and confidence charms, and with a casual goofiness he elevates every line of the admittedly clever dialog, all of it brimming with crisp pop culture humor made funnier by the context (in that no one but Pratt’s Peter Quill could possibly get the earth references). He makes a hero of Kevin Bacon in his dramatic retelling of Footloose, which only gets funnier from Zoe Saldana’s callback in the final act.

Saldana joins WWE’s Dave Bautista and the voice of Vin Diesel (as a tree) to fill out Peter Quill’s band of misfits, and together the crew offers endless amounts of ruffian charm

As important, all evil doers – from Lee Pace’s zealot Ronan to Benicio del Toro’s creepy Collector to Michael Rooker’s dangerous Yondu – are delightfully diabolical.

Gunn nicely articulates the galaxy and its characters, keeps the humor light, the action quick and the palette colorful.

Verdict 4 Stars

Read more reviews by George Wolf and Hope Madden on Maddwolf.com.

Recent Headlines

in Viral Videos

Watch this reporter confront the woman accused of stealing his identity

Fresh
14-overlay19

An accused credit card thief picked the wrong guy when she used a credit card number belonging to Texas consumer affairs reporter Steve Noviello.

in Music

Travis Tritt unharmed as fire breaks out at Georgia home

travistritt

The singer was at his Powder Springs estate on Wednesday, when his mother-in-law discovered the backyard had gone up in flames.

in Music

Luke Bryan wants a duet partner

25-overlay18

The country star admits he wasn't initially thinking of Karen Fairchild as a duet partner on his new album, "Kill The Lights."

in Entertainment

‘Partridge Family’ star David Cassidy discusses bankruptcy auction

20-overlay9

The '70s star is putting his Florida mansion up for auction in September.

in Entertainment

Stallone puts ‘Rocky,’ ‘Rambo’ memorabilia up for auction

sylvesterstallone

"Rambo" and "Rocky" fans no longer have to fight Sylvester Stallone for a piece of those movies' memorabilia.