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Cooper's Vocal Work Saves the Day in Guardians of the Galaxy

  • Christa Banister Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2014 8 Aug
  • COMMENTS
Cooper's Vocal Work Saves the Day in <i>Guardians of the Galaxy</i>

Release Date: August 1, 2014
Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language)
Genre: Action/Adventure/Science Fiction/Comic Book
Run Time: 121 min.
Director: James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro

In terms of pure popcorn entertainment, summer 2014 has been a decidedly mixed bag. And in the wrong hands, Guardians of the Galaxy, like Transformers: Age of Extinction, could've been destined for a trophy case full of Razzies, too. Despite everything working against it, including a motley crew of characters not as well known as, say, Spider-Man or Iron Man, and the usually undesirable August release date, this tale from the outer fringes of the Marvel universe actually winds up being one of the year's biggest surprises.

Superhero movies are usually oh-so-serious business, but what makes Guardian of the Galaxy work so well is a funny, fast-and-loose style. While The Avengers may have the brawn, Guardians of the Galaxy is memorable in an entirely unexpected way. In an odd twist, what helps the cause most is that the casting department seems to have everyone starring in the wrong roles; opting for the less-than-obvious Chris Pratt (Delivery Man) as the leading man and Bradley Cooper (American Hustle) as the voice of a scene-stealing raccoon rather than the requisite eye-candy is nothing short of inspired. Even Vin Diesel (Riddick) seems to be having the time of his life, and he doesn't have a fast car or his muscles to fall back on.

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Since this isn't your average superhero fare, it wouldn’t work without a truly atypical hero, and Pratt more than fits the bill. With a compelling mix of clumsiness, charm and underlying decency despite his bravado, Pratt is the perfect match to play Peter Quill, a 'hero' whose journey begins as a young boy abducted from Earth on the night his mother died back in 1988.

After Peter's mom passes, he deals with his pain by not really dealing with it. While he is something of the ultimate loner destined for a quiet, less-than-memorable life, his peers are dead-set on it being anything but. Having grown up amongst a pack of total weirdos, gypsies and thieves, Quill thrives in very strange surroundings and becomes something of an ace pilot.

It's during one of his many adventures when Quill's life takes another unexpected turn. After discovering a very valuable and powerful orb that's wanted by everyone, particularly the despicable Ronan (Lee Pace, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), Quill becomes the most wanted man in the galaxy. With an army hot on his heels and a massive price on his head, Quill could definitely use a few good allies.

Naturally, the people / ragtag group of creatures who accompany Quill for the duration are also dead-set on claiming the glory. Whether it's Cooper's aforementioned Rocket, Groot (Diesel) or the feisty and beautiful Gamora (Zoe Saldana, Star Trek Into Darkness), Quill is never sure whether to trust them—or send them packing. But despite his feelings waffling between friendship and total disgust, one thing's for sure, Quill's life is never, ever boring.

While most comic book fare features supporting players who ultimately steal the show (Loki from Thor and The Avengers immediately springs to mind), there isn't a more unforgettable second fiddle than the rascally Rocket. Making up for his slight stature with a larger-than-life wisecrack for every one of life's little inconveniences, Rocket allows Cooper to prove he doesn't need Hangover-level shenanigans for big laughs.

Even when the plot lags a little (it could've benefitted from a little editing), the madcap sense of humor keeps Guardians of the Galaxy humming along. With a smart script that should impress the nerd contingency and newbies alike, Guardians of the Galaxy proves that fun can be found in the unlikeliest of places, even superhero movies that don't follow a predictable course.

CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):

  • Drugs/Alcohol: It's implied that a game between Drax and Rocket may have involved a lot of alcohol.
  • Language/Profanity: Not excessive, but bit--, bast---, da--, he-- and sh—show up occasionally in conversation. "Frickin" stands in for its harsher counterpart, while God's name is exclaimed on occasion, too. An obscene gesture and some scatological humor.
  • Sex/Nudity: Gamora, who is often shown in tight, form-fitting outfits, is referred to as a "whore." Peter, a self-proclaimed lady charmer, tries to make a few moves on Gamora (he's unsuccessful).
  • Violence: While there are a few intense scenes, most of the film’s violence is relegated to the usual comic book variety. Gamora nearly dies in prison. A powerful weapon obliterates an entire planet in particularly grotesque fashion. Aliens and humans suffer through a variety of painful acts including choking, stabbing, getting hit with bullets, magic arrows and a taser. There are also scenes where ships collide, buildings are crushed and cute little animals are treated in ways that PETA would certainly find objectionable.

Publication date: August 1, 2014