Guardians of the Galaxy triumphs this summer


Josh Axelrod

How did the wacky adventures of an obscure comic-book team, directed by a little-known, low-budget filmmaker and starring the unlikely movie-star Chris Pratt, become the smash hit of the summer? After shattering the box office, Guardians of the Galaxy created a memorable and original new franchise for comic book fans to celebrate.
First to thank is Chris Pratt. Who knew a colossal movie star was hiding underneath the skin of the goofy Parks and Recreation actor? Everyone knew he had comic chops, but Pratt carries this movie on his broad shoulders; Pratt shed nearly 60 pounds for the role of Star-Lord (and gained about 20 in charisma).

Pratt’s is far from the only noteworthy performance in the film. Guardians features a cast of wonderfully unique new characters whose chemistry and individual oddities make them captivating. Zoe Saldana as rough-edged space alieness Gamora and pro-wrestler Dave Bautista as the appropriately named Drax the Destroyer are equally excellent. However, the ensemble succeeds on account of its two unlikely break-out stars: a talking raccoon and a tree.
Bradley Cooper voices the audacious Rocket the Raccoon and breathes life and dimensions into this brazen little character. And Vin Diesel, who says only three words in the film, will make you laugh, cry and empathize with his anthropomorphic plant creation Groot.

Groot (Vin Diesel): “I am Groot.”

The fantastic cast along with the bouncing soundtrack, which is filled with nostalgic tunes, contribute to the staggering success of this film. Bolstered by the infectious tune “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede, an album containing songs from the ‘70s and the ‘80s entitled “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” was sold following the release of the movie. The album quickly reached number one on the Billboard charts and remained there for two weeks, an unprecedented feat for a movie soundtrack comprised entirely of pre-released tracks.
Marvel took a gamble on Guardians and it paid off remarkably, producing the highest-grossing summer movie in the U.S. It’s rare for a blockbuster to receive both the critical acclaim and commercial success that this film garnered. Starring a ragtag team of surprisingly-human characters, this film has helped redefine what it means to be a superhero movie. In the wake of abundant remakes, sequels and reboots, Guardians of the Galaxy left moviegoers hopeful for the future; this was the summer hit comic-book fans deserved.