We’re just a week away from the opening of Marvel’s big summer tentpole Guardians of the Galaxy — but is it actually any good?
Ahead of the Aug. 1 opening date, the review embargo has lifted and the Internet had been flooded with reviews over the past 24 hours. Good news, folks: The general consensus is overwhelmingly positive, with the film currently holding an unsustainably high 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. It don’t get much better than that.
Most of the reviews seem to really enjoy Chris Pratt’s performance as Star-Lord, as well as Zoe Saldana’s badass warrior Gamora. It also sounds like Rocket and Groot positively steal the show, which is great to hear. If you were on the fence about James Gunn's style working for a Marvel movie, stop worrying, because it looks like he might've just pulled it off.
While we scratch days off our calendar and impatiently wait until next weekend, check out some review highlights below to get a feel for what we can expect:
“Casting is key to the movie’s effectiveness, and while Pratt’s résumé may not immediately scream ‘action hero,’ he dons the mantle with obvious enthusiasm, rounding off Quill’s rough edges with an endearing comedic sensibility. Meanwhile, though Saldana doesn't clue us in on Gamora's inner motivations, the actress — who is no stranger to sci-fi after Avatar and Star Trek — possesses all the action chops required to persuasively portray a deadly assassin, and she makes for a resourceful heroine.” - Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter.
“The fun of it – and Guardians of the Galaxy specializes in fun, served by the sugar-sprinkled ice-cream-scoopload – is in seeing this odd quintet bluster through space battles and alien brawls that would have defeated anyone smarter and better-equipped. Just as the team makes do with the junk they find around them, the film feels like a mound of gems culled from decades of pop-culture scavenging: essentially, the Guardians are two Han Solos, two Chewbaccas and a Princess Leia, pitched against Ming the Merciless and his cronies, in spacecraft from the video games Star Fox and Galaga.” - Robbie Collin, The Telegraph.
“Battle Beyond The Stars, Flight Of The Navigator, Mike Hodges’ Flash Gordon, Back To The Future (2), Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Total Recall and a certain other space-based saga all donate their DNA, and Guardians isn’t about to apologise for replicating it. It’s proud of its heritage, dammit, right down its 1988-on-Earth prologue, “Awesome Mix” tape-cassette soundtrack, and scoundrel hero Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) describing the film’s spherical MacGuffin as having an ‘Ark Of The Covenant, Maltese Falcon vibe.’” - Dan Jolin, Empire.
“In many ways, they're the anti-Avengers and it works. The group's quirky personalities are a refreshing change that allows them to stand out in what is soon to become a very crowded Marvel cinematic universe. This is probably the single-most important film to watch in terms of knowing the trajectory for future Marvel movies.” - Kristen Acuna, Business Insider.
“With its large budget and crowd-pleasing ambitions, Guardians of the Galaxy can’t venture nearly as far out on a limb, but to Gunn’s credit, he’s delivered a movie that’s idiosyncratic enough to stand out from the crowd without ever crossing over into the full-tilt dadaism of a “Buckaroo Banzai.” The adventures here comprise a fairly standard set of Saturday-serial cliffhangers and hairsbreadth escapes, and Gunn puts them across with a B-movie savoir faire that keeps “Guardians” from ever getting too high on the hog or too bogged down in its own mythmaking” - Scott Foundas, Variety.
“The film in fact owes as much to the space-faring fun of Joss Whedon‘s Firefly and “erenity, with its blue-collar approach to traveling the cosmos in search of profit, than it does to the other Marvel movies, and that's a good thing: Unlike the stiff-jawed heroics of the other Marvel films, this feels a little looser and lighter, with Pratt as charming, amoral accidental leader Peter Quill, an earthling among the stars who, as he will tell you, is also known as the roving brigand ‘Starlord.’” - James Rocchi, The Wrap.
“But what really sets Guardians – which also features Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro and John C Reilly – apart from your standard blockbuster is the imagination that’s gone into it. Much like the Star Wars city of Mos Eisley, the planets contain a dizzying array of alien lifeforms while, in an inspired move, one sequence takes place in the giant, disembodied head of a celestial being floating through space. It all serves to give the impression of a fully-realised universe. Prepare to be blown away.” - David Edwards, The Mirror.
“The visual effects are as impressive as you would expect from a film with a reported budget of $170 million. The performances of Pratt, Saldana and co. are all very engaging. Even so, Guardians Of The Galaxy feels a little superficial and half-hearted by comparison with some of the other Marvel blockbusters. It’s a film that could have benefited from taking itself just a bit more seriously.” - Geoffrey MacNab, The Independent.