Let me start out by saying that this summer has been a great one for big tentpole movies and blockbusters. The great Captain America: Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Edge of Tomorrow. It’s been an amazing summer for these huge budget action movies, and the best one yet has just arrived via Guardians of the Galaxy. Not only the best of the summer, but honestly the best movie of the year so far, in my opinion. From beginning to end, Guardians is what movie-making and summer blockbusters are all about. James Gunn has made a hilarious, action-packed space opera filled with heart and imagination, and the best Marvel movie yet, in the process.

The movie begins on Earth, in 1988. We see a young Peter Quill, and without spoiling anything, how and under what circumstances he leaves his home planet. The movie picks up 20-something years later on a deserter planet, and Quill is a scavenger/Indiana Jones-type, looking for a rare artifact worth a ton of units (cosmic Marvels’ currency). He quickly learns that this item is of extreme value to some rather powerful and dangerous people, one of which is named Ronan. Back on Xandar, as he is trying to sell the item, he clashes with a few other interested parties. Gamora, Groot, and Rocket are all either out to get this high-value MacGuffin of his. When the Nova corp (essentially the space police in the Marvel universe) put an end to their brawl, they’re all sent to Kyln, a large prison space-station. From there, the team plans their escape so that they can recapture this powerful item from the hands of Ronan. I won’t say anymore as the movie just came out, and the more blind you go into this movie, the better.

Like I was saying above, this is what a summer movie is meant to be. From the very beginning scene, I was having a blast and it didn’t stop until well after the credits rolled. Hell, even today I’m still high off this movie. In the first 10 minutes, writer/director James Gunn sets the tones for Guardians. Emotional, action-packed, with a very modern and wacky sense of humor, this movie covers all the bases. It also never takes itself too seriously, which after all of these dark reboots and gritty movies is such a relief. I don’t want to give any specific examples as it’s best left for you to see for yourself, but Guardians has such a light tone and a sense of brevity, that even when it gets dark in certain places, it bounces right back with a witty, self-deprecating joke or a great character moment. The whole thing is a breath of fresh air.

What really makes the movie though, are the guardians themselves. Chris Pratt plays Peter Quill almost like a modern-day Indiana Jones with an acerbic, self-aware wit. This guy was born to play leading men, and after this movie, will definitely get his chance again. Zoe Saldana is great as Gamora, the ‘deadliest woman in the galaxy’, and Bautista really blew me away with his portrayal of Drax. Comprehending everything literally, it’s comic gold every time Peter throws a metaphor his way, and his confused reactions afterwards. The real stars of the show for Guardians however, at least for me, were Groot and Rocket. Groot, able only to say “I am Groot” plays kind of like a mix between Chewbacca (to Rockets Han Solo-type character) and Hodor. He has some of the best scenes in the film. However, Rocket was the character I really couldn’t get enough of. Bradley Cooper channels his ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ accent for Rocket, a tech-wizard and weapons-enthusiast ‘raccoon’ with a painful, dark past that comes up in one of the best and emotional scenes of the movie. He always feels like a real character the entire time, despite his size and looks, likely due to the great VFX team and solid work on Coopers part.

I could keep talking about this movie all damn day, but the bottom line is JUST GO SEE IT. I know I sure will, at least one more time, and probably in IMAX. I think this movie has a good chance of being Star Wars to a new generation, with truly great characters, an imaginative and gorgeous world, and a story that leaves plenty of room for more adventures (Quill’s dad and Spartax in the sequel please!). Also, don’t duck out before the credits are over, there’s a nice little surprise for fans of the comics at the very end. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more write-ups!

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