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Guardians of the Galaxy is a remarkable summer blockbuster that is equally charming, hilarious, and action packed. Director James Gunn does a great job at creating a unique visual style and allowing the unique characters to have equal character development and screen time. It’s a wonderful film that manages to be both constantly entertaining and still well directed and written.

T he new cast of characters is welcomed with a great team of actors to handle the material. Chris Pratt gives a hilarious performance as Peter Quill, managing to be relatable but not generic. Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista mostly do a great job, though there characters do have a few predictable moments. Vin Diesel is given little voice work to do as Groot, though the character is completely enjoyable throughout the film. But the show stealer is Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon; Cooper and the animation artists do a great job at creating a completely unique character who adds a large amount of humor and heart to the film.

The supporting cast is also good. Benicio del Toro, the acclaimed actor behind The Usual Suspects and his Academy Award winning role in Traffic, is good in this film, though he is given little to do. John C. Reilly, also an Oscar nominee for Chicago is very good in his limited scenes, but could use more development. Unfortunately, all the villains in the film fail to be memorable and never add any suspense to the film, instead drawing suspense from the plot and situations. Many of the politics involving the villains feel a bit tedious, but these scenes are usually cut short to spend time with our five memorable leads.

One of the film’s major strengths is its dialogue. The screenplay gives all the characters unique personalities that make for many interesting conversations throughout the film. Though some of the character development feels a little forced, everything works out by the end. The very beginning contains exposition that feels like it could’ve been dealt with later on in the film, but the scenes after setting up characters are all excellent. There are also many heartfelt moments, but still many hilarious scenes that make the film all the more entertaining. There is a wide variety of humor, especially involving Rocket Raccoon and it all pays off. The film also does a great job at being goofily entertaining without descending into campiness.

Also great are the film’s visual effects. As previously mentioned, the character realization involving Groot and Rocket Raccoon are fantastic and manage to make the CGI characters three dimensional and even manage to be quite emotional and funny. The action sequences are also very great (although some of the hand-on-hand combat feels too choreographed) and do a great job at making the audience feel for the characters despite all the extreme action. Another great element is the soundtrack, which is edited together very well with the score.

Guardians of the Galaxy is an extremely fun action film that ranks as one of 2014’s best action films. The great cast, fantastic humor, witty dialogue, and wonderful emotion make for one of the most unique movie experiences in quite some time. It’s everything a Marvel movie should be, and then some. Grade: +B

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