Release Date: May 1st, 2000 (Los Angeles premiere) Directed by: Ridely Scott Written by: David Franzoni, John Logan, William Nicholson Music by: Hans Zimmer, Lisa Gerrard Cast: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, Richard Harris, Tommy Flanagan, Ralf Moller, Omid Djalili
Scott Free Productions, Dreamworks Pictures, Universal Pictures, 155 Minutes
“[removes helmet and turns around to face Commodus] My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next. [Commodus trembles in disbelief]” – Maximus
I’m pretty disappointed in myself for having not seen this movie in twenty years. I saw it in the theater, when it came out, and I also saw it on DVD when that was first released. While I’ve seen segments of it, over the years, it’s been two decades since I’ve watched the film in its entirety. Granted, I can’t believe that this movie is now that old. In my mind, it still feels fairly recent but we’ve already passed the 20th anniversaries for the Harry Potter movies and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
As I write this, it also looks like it will be my final review on Talking Pulp, as I am now forced to use the Block Editor, which I loathe because it functions like a fucking redacted.
Any-fucking-way, this movie is a masterpiece. It’s pretty damn perfect.
It’s well acted, well directed, has wonderful cinematography, solid action, a story that hits any real man’s man in the gut and it’s meticulously crafted and superbly paced, even though it’s closer to three hours than two.
You’ve probably already seen this. You probably already love it. If you haven’t seen it, why? Get on it!
While I’d like to say a lot more about the film, I can’t stand using this fucking editor so I’m going to sign off.
Also known as: Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam! (script title), Franklin (working title) Release Date: March 25th, 2019 (Pathé Unlimited Night – Netherlands) Directed by: David F. Sandberg Written by: Henry Gayden, Darren Lemke Based on:Captain Marvel by Bill Parker, C. C. Beck Music by: Benjamin Wallfisch Cast: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou, Faithe Herman, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews, John Glover
DC Entertainment, DC Comics, Warner Bros., 132 Minutes
“[to Doctor Thaddeus Sivana] You’re like a bad guy, right?” – Shazam
I watched this back-to-back with the Birds of Prey movie that has a really long, dumb title. As much as that one rubbed me the wrong way, this one let me go to bed that night with a smile on my face. Reason being, unlike Birds of Prey, Shazam! is a movie that did just about everything right.
To start, I was impressed with Zachary Levi in the title role. He wasn’t just an adult acting like a kid, he really lived the part and was convincing, especially in regards to his enthusiasm, body language and facial expressions.
I also really enjoyed Mark Strong as the villainous Doctor Sivana. While he’s already been Sinestro and played big parts in other comic book movies, I thought that this was his best role yet in the genre.
Speaking of his character, the opening scene was a nice swerve where you expected it to be the origin of Captain Marvel… or Shazam as they are calling him now, in an effort to avoid confusion with Marvel’s Captain Marvel. But the opening origin was actually that of the villain, Doctor Sivana. We see him as a young kid almost acquire the Shazam power but he fails the test due to craving the dark magic that seven demons tried to influence him in taking.
Over the years, Sivana dedicated his life to finding a way back to that mystical place with the dark magic and he does achieve his goal.
To counteract that, the good wizard Shazam seeks out the right candidate to take his power in an effort to save the world from Sivana. He finds the young Billy Batson and this movie then turns into a heck of an entertaining adventure.
While origin movies have been done to death and origins can seem to make a first chapter in a superhero franchise feel somewhat stagnant and derivative, this origin story for both the hero and the villain is just so good and it feels fresh.
Ultimately, this was a great way to introduce this character to a new audience in a new medium and it really set the stage for some hopefully solid sequels. With Dwayne Johnson coming aboard as Black Adam in the second film, I’m really stoked to see the magic he and Zachary Levi can create together onscreen.
Rating: 8/10 Pairs well with: the better DC Comics pictures of the last few years.
Also known as: Obsesión (Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay) Release Date: January 24th, 2019 (Greece, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia) Directed by: Steven Knight Written by: Steven Knight Music by: Benjamin Wallfisch Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane, Jason Clarke, Djimon Hounsou
Blue Budgie Films Limited, Global Road Entertainment, IM Global, Starlings Entertainment, Nebulastar, Shoebox Films, Aviron Pictures, 106 Minutes
“Okay, Dill. Say fate gave you the choice: you can get the lady, or you could catch that tuna that’s in your head. Which one would you choose?” – Constance
What in the Pat Sajak fuck did I just watch?!
Okay, I can’t talk about this movie and its weirdness without spoiling the plot, sorry. So, turn away now if you want to watch this shipwreck of biblical proportions.
You still here? Well, that’s on you.
Anyway, I seriously don’t know what I just watched. I wanted to check this out because the cast seemed decent and this was marketed as a modern noir thriller that takes place in a beautiful tropical setting. It kind of gave me Key Largo, To Have and Have Not and His Kind of Woman vibes.
But then, from the opening scene, I knew something was weird and off about this movie.
It starts with Matthew McConaughey trying to catch an unrealistically large CGI tuna. This whole sequence was bizarrely shot and presented. But as the film goes on and the big twist happens, this all makes sense. But that doesn’t mean that it had to be utterly fucking strange and the type of moldy cheese that makes one cringe just from the thought of the diarrhea it most assuredly will bring.
The next big red flag happened when Anne Hathaway shows up. Her entrance was done in an overly dramatic and goofy way that wrecked whatever solid acting might have been happening. To be clear, I don’t blame any of the actors for the failure of this film, I blame the script, the direction, the editing and the bad stylistic choices made to try and plant seeds for the eventual twist.
To top it off, the dialogue sounded like the screenwriter listened to a book about writing for noir fiction that he downloaded for free on Audible.
The plot is pretty simple, or at least it is until the awful twist.
Hathaway shows up, asks her ex-hubby McConaughey to kill her current hubby, Jason Clarke playing an absolute scumfuck, by taking him out on a fishing charter and then feeding him to the sharks. Cool, sounds like a solid film-noir setup.
Of course, ex-hubby is apprehensive about committing murder for the femme fatale bitch that left him but then she throws in the part about how Scumfuck abuses their son. One awkward sex scene later reveals the Femme Fatale’s scars and McConaughey decides to maybe kill Scumfuck.
So they go out on the boat where Scumfuck lives up to his namesake but nothing really happens.
But then a weird dude that has been oddly following McConaughey around, conveniently just missing him, gives him a special fish finder to catch the giant CGI tuna and he guarantees he will catch the fish with the aid of this MacGuffin device. And this is where shit gets really, really goddamned weird.
DrunkConaughey demands to know what this weasely weirdo knows, as shit seems off. We then discover that DrunkConaughey is a character in a video game created by his son to escape into. As long as he catches the fish as his digital dad, he won’t kill his stepdad Scumfuck in the real world.
Yes, this is the big twist and where the real plot comes in, more than halfway into what I thought was a typical neo-noir thriller.
Everything goes completely off the rails; the movie becomes batshit insane. DrunkConaughey kills Scumfuck by letting giant CGI tuna drag him to the bottom of the ocean and then in the real world, the abused kid gets up from his video game, grabs a butcher knife and goes to stab Scumfuck to death.
The end is then a news report about a super genius kid killing his abusive stepdad while we see DrunkConaughey’s video game world evaporate into CGI shards, presumably killing him too because he wasn’t real in the first place. The real DrunkConaughey died in a war over a decade ago according to the voice-over of the newscaster.
Despite its f’n oddness, I was at least pulled into the story up until the shocking and baffling twist. It wasn’t great noir but it was an interesting setup. The acting was competent, as was the cinematography and overall look of the film despite the CGI weirdness with the fish.
But this is a shipwreck, totally and utterly.
Now I get that the filmmakers wanted to do something different and thought that they had an interesting idea but this felt like an idea for a Black Mirror episode that was left on the cutting room floor while planning out the next season.
The idea didn’t feel like it was fully realized and that this kernel of a cool thought wasn’t developed and refined, it was just rushed into production and actually found funding, is insane.
I kind of feel like they were in such a rush they gave McConaughey half the script, omitting the twist, and told him they didn’t have the kinks worked out. He was intrigued by the setup and then later came to realize that he was trapped in a total dud that his agent couldn’t get him out of.
The filmmakers lied to their audience in how this movie was marketed. Had I paid to see this in the theater, I would’ve been pretty pissed. Now, in their defense, I realize that alluding to anything regarding the twist would’ve wrecked the surprise but let’s be honest here and point out that the surprise wrecked the whole movie.
Sometimes a mindfuck is just a clusterfuck. This usually happens when filmmakers sniff too many of their own farts.
Serenity thought of itself as a smart film. In reality, it’s one of the dumbest new pictures I’ve seen in quite awhile.
Rating: 3.75/10 Pairs well with: cheap rum, really bad cocaine and Sega Bass Fishing.
Release Date: February 27th, 2019 (London premiere) Directed by: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck Written by: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Nicole Perlman, Meg LeFauve Based on:Captain Marvel by Stan Lee, Gene Colan, Carol Danvers by Roy Thomas, Gene Colan Music by: Pinar Toprak Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Jude Law, Mckenna Grace, Kelly Sue DeConnick (cameo)
Marvel Studios, Walt Disney, 124 Minutes
“You are Carol Danvers. You were the woman on that black box risking her life to do the right thing. My best friend. Who supported me as a mother and a pilot when no one else did. You were smart, and funny, and a huge pain in the ass. And you were the most powerful person I knew, way before you could shoot fire through your fists.” – Maria Rambeau
This was the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that I didn’t see in the theater. Frankly, it looked boring and unimaginative and it really has nothing to do with the controversies surrounding the film regardless of what side of the argument your fanboy/girl heart lies on.
Seeing it now, I wasn’t wrong.
This is a drab, mostly pretty boring film. Also, it looks cheap compared to other Marvel movies. This looks more like an episode of a CW superhero show than a film produced by Disney and Marvel. And it’s kind of underwhelming and depressing, really. Especially since this had its fair share of outer space stuff, which Marvel has handled exceedingly well with Thor: Ragnarok and both Guardians of the Galaxy outings.
I think part of the problem is that this film had too many creatives trying to steer the ship. It had two directors and five writers. Fuck, guys… just pick a team of a few people like your best movies and let them make the magic happen. Films made by committees rarely wow anyone.
In regards to Brie Larson, she is, as I’ve said in reviews of other films, a charisma vacuum. She makes charismatic actors around here give uncharismatic performances. Sam Jackson and Jude Law are typically very charismatic and fun to watch. Here, they’re about as entertaining as sleeping dogs.
Throughout this entire film, Brie was told that she’s too emotional yet she barely shows any actual emotion and just delivers her lines with a blank face in monotone. She also does this juvenile smirk all the time that just makes her look like a middle aged soccer mom thinking that she’s still youthful, cute and wishes she was still in high school so she could cozy up to the mean girls.
If this film wasn’t part of the larger MCU canon, it would have come and gone and been completely forgotten already. It’s not even bad to where people can talk for years about how much of a shitshow it was like Catwoman. But this is the future that Disney apparently wants and between this dead on arrival, boring ass film and the slapped together, clusterfuck that Avengers: Endgame was, makes me think that the MCU‘s expiration date was 2019, just a year after it celebrated it’s 10th anniversary.
Usually for a film of this caliber, I’d have a lot more to say. But there isn’t much to talk about with this one. It’s a waste of time, it carries an obvious agenda with it and like things that are trying to be political statements, it fails at conveying that message in a meaningful or genuine way.
Plus, everyone and their mother has torn this film apart already. I don’t think it’s as bad as many people do but it’s certainly a soulless, unemotional, pointless film more concerned with its place in history and trying to challenge societal ideals in the laziest way possible than it is trying to be a fun, escapist piece of entertainment.
But hey, this isn’t as bad as Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, which still takes the cake as Marvel’s worst. I would put this in my bottom two or three though.
Rating: 5/10 Pairs well with: Everything else in the MCU, I guess.
Release Date: November 26th, 2018 (London premiere) Directed by: James Wan Written by: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Will Beall, Geoff Johns, James Wan Based on:Aquaman by Paul Norris, Mort Weisinger Music by: Rupert Gregson-Williams Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman, Temuera Morrison, Djimon Hounsou, Julie Andrews (voice), John Rhys-Davies (voice)
Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Films, The Safran Company, Cruel and Unusual Films, Mad Ghost Productions, 143 Minutes
“You think you’re unworthy to lead because you’re of two different worlds? But that is exactly why you are worthy!” – Mera
People talked this movie up quite a bit when it came out but I didn’t see it in the theater because the holidays are busy for me and this is not a Tolkien movie.
But I had high hopes as several people I tend to trust told me that I’d like it. Well, they were wrong. I mean, I didn’t hate it and if you are comparing this to the other DCEU films, it’s actually the second best. However, that’s not a high threshold to try and beat.
First off, I like Jason Mamoa and I like Jason Mamoa in this movie. However, he’s basically playing Jason Mamoa and not Arthur Curry a.k.a. Aquaman. Well, at least not how Aquaman has been written for decades. And couldn’t he have gone blonde? He could’ve kept the long hair and beard, as Aquaman has had that look before but I guess Arnold Schwarzenegger did a good job of once playing Conan without brunette locks.
But the thing is, he doesn’t feel like Aquaman and he really just feels like a badass buff dude with similar powers to Aquaman.
I thought that Amber Heard was pretty on point as Mera, though. She needs a bit more confidence if she’s to be the tough as nails future queen but this was a good start, assuming they make more of these, which they probably will.
Most importantly, though, Mamoa and Heard had damn good chemistry and that’s what had to carry this movie and it was certainly a strength when everything else around it felt like aquatic Candyland.
Other than a handful of good actors, mainly Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Patrick Wilson and Temuera Morrison, the rest of the film was pretty lackluster and underwhelming.
It had action, it was fun for the most part, but a lot of the film felt too dragged out once you got to the middle. It had really good pacing for about 45 minutes but then the plot just seemed to be a mixture of different genres and this didn’t have a clear identity as to what it was. Some of these genre twists seemed like they were more in conflict with the film as a whole than being a collection of interesting ingredients there to make the dish taste better.
I didn’t like how Black Manta was handled and he’s just sort of a henchman and an afterthought in this film. He’s much more badass than that. Read Dan Abnett’s first few story arcs on his run of the Aquman comic. There, Black Manta was a dangerous terrorist that had Aquaman and Atlantis in the palm of his hand. I know that they introduced him in this film to build him up for later but I just don’t feel like they did it effectively and it’ll be hard to take him seriously as the big baddie when he was just portrayed as Mr. Laserface and then get knocked down a cliff. Plus, with his helmet on, the effect they used on his voice mixed with the actor’s line delivery, reminded me of Dark Helmet from Spaceballs.
Patrick Wilson was pretty good as the Ocean Master but the way he was written was confusing. He’s willing to do pure evil to maintain his throne but he doesn’t seem to commit to the bit and he just sort of accepts his fate when his mom shows up and tells him to love his brother.
This film is an example of something being fun and entertaining but not being good and not being something that I particularly like. I don’t think I’ll ever watch it again and that goes for all the films in the DCEU. But that also doesn’t mean that I won’t watch the sequel, I probably will but I doubt I’ll see that one in the theater either.
Rating: 5.75/10 Pairs well with: other recent DC Comics movies within the same shared universe.
Release Date: October 28th, 1994 Directed by: Roland Emmerich Written by: Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin Music by: David Arnold Cast: Kurt Russell, James Spader, Jaye Davidson, Viveca Lindfors, Erick Avari, John Diehl, French Stewart, Richard Kind, Djimon Hounsou
Centropolis Film Productions, Carolco Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 121 Minutes
“Give my regards to King Tut, asshole.” – Colonel Jonathan “Jack” O’Neil
This is the first time that I have watched Stargate since the movie theater in 1994. I was a sophomore in high school when it came out and while I wasn’t blown away by it, at the time, I still thought it was a fun blockbuster that probably should have been a summer movie.
I think that other people had a much stronger impression of it than I did, as it would go on to spawn three sequel television series: Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe, as well as two other movies related to the TV shows: Stargate: The Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum. Not to mention a web series, an animated series and lots of books and comics.
Because of how big this franchise has gotten and because I do enjoy Roland Emmerich’s work before 1998’s Godzilla, I figured I’d give this a watch again with the possibility of me finally giving the television shows a shot in the near future (assuming I can stream them for free somewhere).
Stargate was really enjoyable. While it does feel a bit dated, it’s a solid ’90s sci-fi action flick. It had a decent story that was interesting and really set the stage for something that needed to be much larger than this self-contained film. I guess it’s a good thing for the hardcore fans of this movie that it was expanded out into other forms of media.
Kurt Russell is a true man’s man and James Spader is always great to watch. Seeing them come together and having a big contrast in personalities here was a lot of fun. Spader didn’t play his typical role and was pretty much just a very brave scientist that often times jumped into the water without checking for sharks. Russell usually had to pull Spader’s ass out of trouble but it was a treat to watch.
I loved how this gives a sci-fi explanation for ancient Egyptian culture and the Egyptian styled aliens were just badass. The backstory was pretty simple but awesome and I really liked how this was just a simple tale with a lot of emphasis on action.
Emmerich did a great job of writing this alongside Dean Devlin. But his eye for style and his execution of action, while he sat behind the camera, was terrific. I really wish that Emmerich’s mojo didn’t get sucked out of him after Independence Day.
I also really enjoyed the film’s score. It was heavy handed but in the right way and frankly, I miss powerful scores like this in my blockbusters.
This is just a rollercoaster ride of a bunch of guys having fun in an alien desert, fighting stylish aliens with cool technology. What’s not to love? There’s even a bit of a love story but I was too captivated by the testosterone and the Egyptians with lasers to care about that.
Rating: 7.75/10 Pairs well with:Independence Day, The Mummy and the various Stargate TV shows and related films.
Release Date: May 8th, 2017 (TCL Chinese Theatre) Directed by: Guy Ritchie Written by: Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram, Joby Harold, David Dobkin Music by: Daniel Pemberton Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Jude Law, Eric Bana
Warner Bros., Safehouse Pictures, Ritchie/Wigram Productions, Village Roadshow Pictures,Weed Road Pictures, 126 Minutes
Initially, I was not excited about this movie, as I am not a fan of Charlie Hunnam. I also wasn’t aware that this was directed by Guy Ritchie until the credits on the film started rolling. However, I saw a lot of positive reviews about the movie, so I figured that I’d check it out. I’m really glad I did.
To start, this is the first time that I liked Charlie Hunnam in something. While I adored Pacific Rim, when it came out, I thought he was the weakest part of the picture. I also hated Sons of Anarchy even though it did feature some great actors. Hunnam’s Jax Teller was just an awful character with a fake American accent that was trying too hard to sound cool. Now that isn’t necessarily Hunnam’s fault, it’s the directors’, producers’ and creator’s, but he’s the face of that character. A stupid character that I grew to hate and be annoyed by.
In King Arthur we have Hunnam talking in his real voice and it is refreshing, since I’ve really only seen him play Americans. He also feels at home in this role and maybe that is because Guy Ritchie is just an awesome director to work for. Whatever the reason, I would follow Hunnam’s King Arthur into battle. Granted, he has a kaiju-sized snake in his army and that’s just friggin’ cool.
Yeah, a giant snake! There are also a lot of other fantastic beasts, which I really wasn’t expecting. You see, I didn’t check out the trailers and I only heard it mentioned on television, in the background, when I was cooking or writing or doing something else.
This is lightyears ahead of that uber boring King Arthur picture with Clive Owen and Keira Knightley from a decade or so ago. It has bigger balls, more style and certainly isn’t an Ambien party.
The Ritchie touch in this picture was an awesome flourish added into this tale that has been told more times than the “guy walks into a bar…” joke. The editing, the music, the action style was all great and set this film apart from other similar stuff.
The only complaint, really, is that sometimes the CGI looked a bit clunky and cheap. It isn’t something that is noticeable throughout the picture but some action sequences almost turn into video game boss battles. While I like the approach and how it is executed, the CGI just takes it down a notch. I’m sure the budget was somewhat reserved but I hope Ritchie has more money to work with if he does make this into the planned six-part film series.
Jude Law was pretty damn amazing as the villain in this. He’s worked with Ritchie before and the two know how to make magic happen when they collaborate. Law is pretty great in most things but seeing him as the embodiment of evil was really cool. The monster he transforms into is bad ass as hell, by the way.
It was also good seeing Eric Bana, who I feel should be in everything.
For a picture I had no hopes for, I left feeling really happy. The movie is balls to the wall bad ass in every regard. This is how fantasy epics should be. Got that, Game of Thrones? In fact, this is superior to Game of Thrones because people actually STFU and go Ginsu City. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is to Game of Thrones what a bone-in cowboy ribeye is to a saltine cracker. It’s like what old school Spike TV (when it still had testosterone-fueled entertainment) is to C-SPAN 3.
Release Date: July 21st, 2014 (Dolby Theatre premiere) Directed by: James Gunn Written by: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman Based on:Guardians of the Galaxy by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning Music by: Tyler Bates Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro, Peter Serafinowicz, Seth Green
Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Studios, 122 Minutes
*Written in 2014.
I’ve been anticipating Guardians of the Galaxy since it was announced, as I knew it would be incredibly unique and very different from all the Marvel Avengers-related films. I was right.
Out of everything that Marvel has done, this right here, is the cream of the crop. Yes, that is a bold statement and yes, I raved about Captain America: The Winter Solider but this is the magnum opus out of all their films, which started with the first Iron Man in 2008.
Director James Gunn (Slither, Super) did an insanely amazing job with this film. I’d actually like to see him direct every Marvel picture going forward but that would probably drive anyone mad as we get two-to-three of these things per year now. Also, as great as this film is, that doesn’t mean that it can be replicated over and over again. And frankly, that’s probably why this is so good, because it stands above everything Marvel has done to this point and I don’t just mean Disney’s Marvel franchise, I am including Sony – who has Spider-Man, Fox – who has X-Men and the Fantastic Four, as well as Lion’s Gate – who had Daredevil and The Punisher.
The cast in this film is pretty great and they really feel like a solid unit. Chris Pratt (Parks & Recreation, Zero Dark Thirty) is bad ass and charismatic as the group’s leader Peter Quill a.k.a. Star Lord. Then you have the girl who seems to be in every sci-fi franchise now, Zoe Saldana (Star Trek, Avatar) as Gamora. The only other human actor on the team is Drax the Destroyer, who is played by the wrestler Batista (The Man With the Iron Fists, Riddick) and contrary to what people think about wrestlers acting, Batista owns this role, is tough as shit, menacing and more often than not, hilarious. I’d rather watch a string of Drax movies than another one of those horrible Riddick films.
Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, The Hangover) voices the coolest character, Rocket. Rocket is a talking, fighting raccoon that was created in a lab. His sidekick is a humanoid tree named Groot, who is voiced by Vin Diesel (Fast & Furious, Riddick). Both of these characters came off extraordinarily well on screen. Truthfully, when first hearing about this film, I was most concerned with how they were going to pull of a talking raccoon and a humanoid tree. What they gave us was nothing short of exceptional. If you don’t fall in love with these two characters, you have no soul.
The cast also includes Lee Pace (Halt & Catch Fire, Pushing Daisies) as Ronan the Accuser, the film’s main antagonist. Pace had a very strong and powerful presence in this film. There is also Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead, Cliffhanger) who plays Yondu, a pirate and father figure to Peter Quill. Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Selfie) plays Nebula – Ronan’s right hand. Benecio Del Toro (Traffic, The Usual Suspects) plays the Collector, who we first saw in Thor: The Dark World. Josh Brolin (Goonies, No Country For Old Men) provided the voice and motion capture for the character of Thanos, who will become the biggest villain in Marvel’s film franchise; he was first glimpsed at in The Avengers. You also have Glenn Close, John C. Reilly, Djimon Hounsou and an actor who doesn’t get as much recognition as he should, Peter Serafinowicz. There are also cameos from Lloyd Kaufman – the top dog at Troma, Stan Lee and Nathan Fillion. Rob Zombie even voices a computer.
Moving on, the visual style of this film was mesmerizing. It was colorful yet dark and each location our heroes visited felt entirely different and unique. The action was superb, the CGI effects were beautiful and well-developed and everything just flowed pretty seamlessly. The most powerful x-factor with this film however, was how it maintained a balance between lightheartedness and seriousness. Chris Pratt, with his experience on Parks & Recreation, was the perfect guy to pull this off and he exceeded my expectations. If he doesn’t become a huge star after this, something is wrong with the world. Luckily for us, we get to see him star in Jurassic World next summer, as well as the next Guardians of the Galaxy film in 2017 (one could also assume Avengers 3 in 2018).
I’ll be honest, I haven’t had this much fun at the movies in a long time. I’ve seen better films, sure. However, this picture is a big overflowing barrel of fun and awesomeness. It is the space adventure I have always wanted since being let down again and again since Return of the Jedi blew my 4 year-old little mind. In fact, Guardians of the Galaxy is what I wanted out of The Phantom Menace 15 years ago but never got.
Oh, and if you want to see the reboot of the title character of a little Marvel related movie that George Lucas produced in 1986, stay until the end of the credits.
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