'Guardians of the Galaxy': What are early reviews saying?

'Guardians of the Galaxy' early reviews are mainly positive so far, with one critic calling it 'wonderful and wildly surprising.' 'Guardians of the Galaxy' will be released on Aug. 1.

Disney – Marvel/AP
'Guardians of the Galaxy' stars Chris Pratt.

Guardians of the Galaxy is coming whether you’re ready or not, and Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper are all dressed up and ready to go, but does Guardians of the Galaxyactually deserve all the hype it’s been generating? 

If the swathe of overwhelmingly positive early reviews are any indication, the answer to that question is decidedly a “Yes.” Despite featuring a relatively obscure team of heroes that the average moviegoer (and probably quite a few comic book fans) might not have been aware of prior to the first trailers being released, it has the potential to be one of Marvel’s biggest hits.

Variety – Scott Foundas:

“An unusually prankish and playful Marvel Studios vehicle, director James Gunn’s presumptive franchise-starter is overlong, overstuffed and sometimes too eager to please, but the cheeky comic tone keeps things buoyant… 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 bogged down in its own mythmaking.”

The Wrap – James Rocchi:

“The film… owes as much to the space-faring fun of Joss Whedon‘s ‘Firefly’ and ‘Serenity,’ 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.”

Total Film – Matt Risley

“A weird, wonderful and wildly surprising sci-fi that if not the year’s best blockbuster, could at least end up being 2014’s most fun… As indebted to ‘Serenity’ as it is ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Avengers Assemble,’ GOTG reboots the space opera in the most surprising, entertaining and emotionally satisfying of ways. It’s your move, ‘Episode VII.’ “

Coming Soon – Edward Douglas

“Possibly one of the funniest (and strangest) Marvel movies yet, James Gunn and his cast deliver an infinitely entertaining space opera that’s really something quite special. J.J. Abrams’ ‘Star Wars’ movie now has even more to live up to.”

The Playlist – Oliver Lyttelton

“The film feels, even more so than this spring’s ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier,’ a deviation from the Marvel formula, a gloriously, defiant weird movie that nevertheless proves to be an enormous crowd-pleaser. The final credits promise that “Guardians Of The Galaxy Will Return,” and for once, you’re actively looking forward to it.”

Digital Spy – Simon Reynolds

“This is not the superhero movie you were expecting; dark and brooding internal angst gets traded in for a breezy cosmic adventure and crackling comedy quips. Marvel Studios has never been one to embrace the idiosyncratic or eccentric, but director James Gunn brings a fresh point of view to a genre that’s fast becoming to sag with predictability.”

The Guardian - Steve Rose

“Pratt carries the show marvelously, it must be said. Gym-toned and scrubbed up, he’s come a long way from his dim-bulb shoeshine boy in ‘Parks and Recreation,’ but he retains that puppyish everydude charm. An action hero with expressive comic timing, he could become the Harrison Ford of our age.”

Screen Daily - Mark Adams

“A fabulously freewheeling space adventure brimming with action, humor and spectacular special effects… The little-and-large pairing of Rocket Raccoon and Groot could well be the film’s secret weapon. Rocket, with his feisty sarcasm and very large gun is a real cult hero, while the lumbering tree creature Groot is sweet but deadly, and often offers the film’s funniest moments.”

IndieWire – Eric Kohn

“When the Guardians engage in large scale combat, particularly during the explosive (and explosively dull) giant spaceship-set battle in the final half hour, the whole enterprise sags, only regaining some ground when the banter returns… It’s just dumb enough to please complaisant viewers, but finds inspiration in a sarcastic attitude that transcends its factory-mandated conventions.”

Guardians of the Galaxy currently has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 74% rating on Metacritic, and even reviewers who had gripes about the movie agreed with the consensus that it’s a lot of fun. In particular what stands out are the comments that it doesn’t feel like a Marvel movie, which is interesting in light of fan speculation that Edgar Wright departed Ant-Man due to his vision for the movie being too far outside of Marvel’s prescribed style.

One of the main challenges facing Guardians of the Galaxy was to take a group of characters that are predominantly very weird and to make them accessible to wider audiences who aren’t familiar with the comics and might have been put off by a straight-faced movie about a talking raccoon and a sentient tree that can only say, “I am Groot.” Giving the movie a heavy dose of comedy mixed in with its sci-fi action and weirdness definitely sounds like it worked out well.

H. Shaw-Williams blogs at Screen Rant.

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