Poster
For two months, Guardians of the Galaxy has completely dominated the box office. Without question, this is the best movie of the 2014 summer blockbuster season. If you haven’t already seen this movie, there’s nothing I can possibly write to convince you to get off your ass and go watch Guardians of the Galaxy.

While summer has come and gone, Guardians of the Galaxy has remained the constant.

For the record, I could not care less about the vast majority of the Marvel superhero movie stream. Iron Man was a very good, interesting movie, but the sequel sucked despite Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell attempting to save the franchise from itself. Thor was a bore, and I ignored the sequel. Captain America is not captivating even when channel surfing for something to watch on television.

And I still have not watched The Avengers. It does not interest me.

However, I was immediately on board when I heard James Gunn was directing Guardians of the Galaxy. Walking tree and talking raccoon be damned. This was my most anticipated movie of the summer, and James Gunn didn’t fail to deliver. Despite my absolute non-interest in most of the Marvel movie world, Guardians of the Galaxy serves as a fantastic film capable of standing alone on its own merit. In terms of sci-fi fantasy, this movie is right there with Star Wars—and even better in my mind.

James Gunn deserves so much credit. Throughout the two hour runtime, this movie remained entertaining and it transcended the typical trite comic book bullshit. Guardians of the Galaxy could have easily turned absurd, and I imagine this would have been a steaming pile of shit if not for Gunn’s deft guiding hand.

In 2008, there was a ridiculous Vh1 reality show called Scream Queens where mostly shitty actresses compete for a role in Saw VI—back when that was a thing. While I was already familiar with the Dawn of the Dead remake and Slither, I didn’t know James Gunn, but I soon would because he was the best thing about Scream Queens. That’s actually a lie, Gunn was the second-best (or third) thing—next to Lindsay Felton’s boobs. But seeing the incredibly genuine, professional way Gunn interacted with these mostly mediocre actresses was shocking. Despite an utter lack of talent, Gunn could coax an interesting performance out of someone—even if it was only for a scene with over-the-top campy material.

In a world where Michael Bay is wildly popular while making shitty action movies, I immensely appreciate the work James Gunn has given me to enjoy. As a director, Gunn has definitely blossomed the past few years with Super (considerably better than its counterpart, Kick-Ass) and now Guardians of the Galaxy.

Star-Lord

James Gunn simply has an eye for creating an entertaining product.

I could go through all the enjoyable moments peppered throughout Guardians of the Galaxy, but people really need to see this movie for themselves. This isn’t even a kids movie, but rather a movie for adults (in a stage of arrested development) masquerading as a kids movie. In terms of summer blockbusters and the comic book genre in general, Guardians of the Galaxy is the best of the best.

You could certainly argue for The Dark Knight, but that’s probably a bit unfair considering the phenomenal, career-defining performance from Heath Ledger as The Joker. If you remove Ledger from that role, then The Dark Knight would fail to have the same lasting impact. Most people forget about those long, boring scenes like the completely unnecessary Hong Kong kidnapping sequence.

If there’s a fault to find with Guardians of the Galaxy, the movie does not have a very memorable villain. Ronan and Thanos fill the villain roles opposite our ragtag group of miscast heroes. A singular villain would be ideal, but Thanos needed to be introduced since this movie will eventually intertwine with The Avengers.

The best compliment to James Gunn is that Guardians of the Galaxy rates astronomically high on the re-watchability scale. In a manner of two months, I have already watched this movie 3 times—3D, regular, and at a drive-in. Every time, I have been thoroughly entertained. I know the punchlines to the jokes, but the comedic timing is so fantastic that it’s still as funny through multiple viewings.

Rocket

Bradley Cooper was downright superb in his instrumental voiceover role bringing Rocket to life. Despite not being asked to do much, Vin Diesel’s array of “I am Groot” deliveries are spot-on each time. Zoe Saldana isn’t remarkable, but she hits her lines and serves her purpose while this is a breakout role for Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord—which should springboard him into stardom. But the most surprising performance came from Dave Bautista—a lumbering, muscle-bound former wrestler. Transforming into Drax the Destroyer, Bautista is perfect in this role and he owns the some of the best lines of the movie. I’ve seen Dave Bautista in other movies (notably Riddick, with Vin Diesel) so either he’s becoming a true actor or James Gunn deserves more praise for putting Bautista in the best position to succeed.

As a longtime fan of James Gunn, I cannot wait to see the direction of where he’s now allowed to travel thanks to the success of this movie. As evidenced with Slither, Super, and now Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn puts part of himself in his movies. This movie’s soundtrack that everyone loves comes from Gunn’s childhood memories. This movie’s infusion of comedy comes from Gunn’s uniquely twisted humor.

With movies becoming increasingly repetitive and watered down, everyone should appreciate what a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy gave us during a completely mundane summer slate. This is the rare epic blockbuster with a beating heart. We need more James Gunn in this world.

Groot

5 out of 5 stars

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