Fans have had high hopes for Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy” since the first teaser dropped in February and, according to most critics, moviegoers will not be disappointed.
Rotten Tomatoes already collected 161 critics’ reviews of the James Gunn-helmed Disney release — which opened Thursday night — and 90 percent of them are positive.
Chris Pratt stars in “Guardians” as a goofy, space brigand named Peter Quill (who prefers the moniker “Star-Lord.”) He heads up an unlikely band of heroes which includes Bradley Cooper (a feisty, well-armed raccoon), Vin Diesel (an adorable tree monster), Dave Bautista (a knife expert with awful skin) and Zoe Saldana (a sexy green assassin). Together they kick-ass and make jokes while trying to, well, guard the galaxy from nefarious forces.
“‘Guardians’ has a little more space for irony, goofiness and sarcasm than the other Marvel movies,” writes TheWrap’s own James Rocchi, “which Gunn and co-screenwriter Nicole Perlman relish in exploring with great one-liners and running gags.”
He doesn’t think it’s perfect, however. “The film also has many of the structural flaws of the other Marvel movies,” Rocchi writes. “All the Marvel films look clean, are shot relatively well, and are, to a one, both overstuffed and underwritten, full of too many characters in search of too many McGuffins.”
TheWrap’s lead film critic Alonso Duralde doesn’t see the problem. “I think there’s a danger that this movie’s going to be kind of oversold, it’s just sort of fun and ridiculous,” he said.
“This is almost a comedy more so than anything else,” agrees TheWrap’s soon-to-be former film reporter Lucas Shaw.
“‘Guardians of the Galaxy‘ does the impossible,” adds Peter Travers of Rolling Stone. “Through dazzle and dumb luck, it turns the clichés of comic-book films on their idiot heads and hits you like an exhilarating blast of fun-fun-fun. It’s insanely, shamelessly silly — just one reason to love it.”
He wasn’t the only critic to praise the movie for not taking itself very seriously. Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal calls the film a “likable lightweight.” “The people who made this movie must have had a swell time in the process, and it’s nice to see a summer epic that takes itself so unseriously,” he continues.
The special effects in “Guardians” are generally lauded, too, which is good considering so much of it is CGI.
“There are some fantastic effects here, from the photo-realistic talking raccoon to a wonderful scene in which hundreds of small fighter ships align themselves wingtip to wingtip to form a giant net to trap a larger spacecraft,” says Miami Herald‘s Rene Rodriguez.
But not everyone loved the film.
“Writer-director James Gunn keeps pulling the rug out without first bothering to trick anyone into standing on it,” wrote Kyle Smith in his New York Post critique.
“Gunn has to juggle so many plot elements in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ — so many booming galactic battles, so many whisker-close brushes with death, so many almost-poignant moments of epiphany — that it’s little wonder he loses his grip on the thing,” adds the Village Voice’s Stephanie Zacharek.
While the quality of any film is always up for debate, the early box-office success of this one in particular is not.
As TheWrap reported, “GotG” blasted off to an $11.2 million Thursday night opening.