|Good cast and great representation of Rocket Raccoon and Groot|
Apparently, everyone is raving about the "guardians of the galaxy". Strange thing, this comic book and film geek will not. For some reason, I felt that GOTG was an effort to recapture what made the "Avengers" such a huge hit with pretty much the same jokes, spectacular special effects and a decent cast. There are many problems with GOTG that although some of them do appear in other Marvel films, here are more evident and literally do not immerse you the way previous installments did.
Firstly, there is a tremendous amount of weak characterization. Starlord has some emotional development but his introduction scene on Earth is ludicrous as we do not get to see why he does the (rather miserable) thing that he does. Then all of a sudden an out of the blue romance blossoms it is getting now pretty annoying in each Marvel chapter to have characters fall in love through peculiar circumstances (see Thor).
In the antagonist department (my favourite), Ronan the accuser is a joke. While Lee Pace tries desperately to make Ronan creepy and badass (the make up is spot on), he does not have enough material to work with. The same thing occured for Red Skull and Malekith, both amazing visually villains with lack of dramatic depth (see Loki) and motivations. So Ronan is the typical "I want to destroy my enemies and perform genocide" for whatever the hell he wants to do that for. And to my biggest disappointment, we do not know what he can do and what he can't. Is he a god? Is a superpowered dude? Why people fear him? We never get to see him shining in an action sequence and it is really embarassing the way he goes out of the picture.
|Pleasantly surprised by Chris Pratt's performance. He has enough charisma to make Starlord role his own.|
James Gunn has tried to inject humour in the vibe of Firefly/Serenity and although it is a welcome addition, some of the jokes fall flat - as there is a joke every 3 minutes adding a childish layer in the proceedings. The script is moving at a fast pace with lots of satellite characters (Benicio Del Toro, John C. Reily, Glenn Close totally wasted) that have minimal or zero effect to the plot and although it is admirable that the guardians decide to save the galaxy as a group of misfits, the plan still lacks conviction. There is not even a dramatic moment - this is a movie where a guy wants to wipe out an entire planet. The heroes are invicible, there are no real stakes with everyone surviving explosions, spaceship crashes, fights and even bazooka blasts! And the biggest disappointment though was the reveal of Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin). This is a CGI monstrocity that looked so fake and felt it was inserted last minute to perform fun boy service.
The action is servicable but there is nothing that is totally memorable or outstanding. One of the biggest problems I have so far with Marvel is that they are terribly weak in the fight department. So far, only "The winter soldier" has revealed proper (outstanding) choreography. I feel like that Kevin Feige and Co are mostly interested to showcase brilliant special effects and technicalities rather than a breathtaking fighting sequence (still waiting for my Thor vs Loki epic clash). Ronan as I mentioned above pretty much is wasted in the entire film and does not have a single action scene!!!
Having said everything that I was annoyed with the GOTG, do not lose hope despite my whining. Technically - with the aforementioned Thanos - the film is superb. The production design values are beyond exceptional as they bring a Star Wars vibe and the make up is truly outstanding - particularly on Drax and Ronan. The effects are spectacular and everything else from the designs to the cinematography serve the film really well. It is always good to see a film set in space as these days, let's be honest sci-fi is kinda a dull field to attract investements.
The cast is surprisingly good with Groot and Rocket Racoon - brilliant vocal performance by Bradley Cooper - stealing the show. Chris Pratt makes the role of Starlord his own and is charismatic enough to generate likability and Zoe Zaldana establishes herself as a proper badass. Certain laughs are guaranteed and some of the action is well staged, particularly a humourous prison escape that involves a prosthetic leg.
But the Marvel formula starts here to wear thin. If you liked the previous films, you will like this one. There is nothing tremedously bad here (except that stupid CGI Thanos) but nothing memorable either besides...Rocket Raccoon and Groot. This is point A to point B Marvel flick - laughs, effects, weak villain, big cast, wasted acting opportunities, happy ending.
+ good cast
+ Rocket Raccoon and Groot
+ production design
+ make up values - truly outstanding
+ spectacular special effects
- ... and then you have Thanos
- most of the humour falls flat
- wasted talented cast in the supporting roles
- one dimensional villain
- ... who has not a single shining scene
- formulaic film