Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Directed by James Gunn. Starring: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper. IMDB says: “In the far reaches of space, an American pilot named Peter Quill finds himself the object of a manhunt after stealing an orb coveted by the villainous Ronan..”

Before seeing the film, Guardians of the Galaxy was a property I knew nothing about. Despite the huge wave of online chatter surrounding the film, I was hanging somewhere off the edge, scanning the Guardians Wikipedia page and reading through comments on Slashfilm to try and sort out what to expect from a superhero movie full of total unknowns. My interest in the project grew with each production development but I was completely unprepared for what lay ahead. Guardians of the Galaxy is a total blast.

Yes, the movie is full of a big group of superheroes and villains that I’m willing to bet a large majority of us have never heard of before but that barely matters here. Guardians is an origin story, partly for lead hero Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) but largely for the group itself which also includes daughter of super-villain Thanos and super assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), muscle clad pounder Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), lovable giant tree “muscle” Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and the “What in the hell is that” loud mouth raccoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper). The less than morally sound group assembles thanks to their individual pursuits of money – some are after a valuable artifact stolen by Quill and the rest are after Quill himself who now has a bounty on his head. Once they are together however, the group quickly forms a bond and bands together to fight a stronger evil force. Story-wise, the movie plays like classic comic book panels but what makes this one so engaging are of course the characters. Even though every member of the group has a few evil deeds on their resumes, each character gets his/her moment to shine and become massively likeable. The cast is so great here, too. Anyone familiar with Pratt before this will not be surprised that he is super charming. And while Vin Diesel basically only speaks three words the entire film, Bradley Cooper makes up for his lack of dialogue by constantly spewing hilarious trash talk. Saldana & Bautista are both funny in their own right but mainly stand to balance the others out as more believable badasses.

Other shining stars of the film come by way of the music and visuals. Quill is deeply attached to his cassette tape called “Awesome Mix”, a gift from his dying mother that contains, well you know, just the most awesome jams from the 70s. Thankfully, we get to hear lots of tunes from the mix and it’s one of the most endearing qualities of the film, simultaneously attaching you to Quill’s backstory while also making you just want to get up and boogie. Then switching from the adorable to the admirable, Guardians of the Galaxy is a visual stunner to boot. I should mention that I did see this in 3D but as usual, I feel like a 2D screening would still work out just as well for you eyeball’s pleasure.

Maybe it should have been clear from the start that Guardians of the Galaxy had potential for greatness. For one, it’s a Marvel movie, and while I may not be their # 1 fan, the studio has made it abundantly clear with each addition to their catalog that they are striving to make blockbusters that stand a cut above the rest. Also, Guardians’ plot is essentially a misfit Avengers story featuring a walking talking Tree and genetically modified gun-toting raccoon. Throw in a cultish director like James Gunn (known for very different films like Slither and Super) and this project does sound very interesting. I guess I’ve just become so accustomed to being disappointed by franchise-y type films that come this far down the pipe. But it’s cool you guys, we can all rejoice! Guardians is so much fucking fun that you shouldn’t worry about spending you cash to catch it in the theater. It’s that summer blockbusters are all about!