The time to leave Earth is finally upon us.
"Guardians of the Galaxy," Marvel's first movie set (almost) entirely away from our home world, is now in theaters, promising to bring a new spin to the comic book movie genre that can sometimes feel a little too familiar. But there's nothing familiar about seeing Chris Pratt run around battling bad guys alongside a gun-toting raccoon and a talking tree creature — and yet, that weirdness works all too well, based on what critics are saying.
Having said that, "Guardians" is not for everyone. There are a few critics who do not seem pleased to visit the "Galaxy" of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But those negative reviews are few and far between; more often than not, people are responding to "Guardians" in a big way.
Read on for a quick selection of "Guardians" reviews:
The Big Risk Pays Off
"Directed with an effortlessly light touch by James Gunn, a low-budget maestro of genre films such as 2006's 'Slither' and 2010's 'Super,' 'Guardians of the Galaxy' represents a risky proposition for Marvel on several levels: a director who's never grappled with a project of this scale before, a menagerie of comic-book characters who are hardly household names (even to fanboys), and a tongue-in-cheek B-movie vibe that's more 'Starcrash' than 'Star Wars.' But give Marvel props, even with all of its mega-success; the studio's still willing to take chances. Here, that risk pays off big-time. The film's a giddily subversive space opera that runs on self-aware smart-assery." — Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
The "Ghostbusters" Connection
"There are three things that make 'Ghostbusters' work: it’s funny, it functions as an actual movie outside of the comedy and the characters are great. These three things are apparently very hard to stuff into one movie, because it is so rare to find a film that pulls them all off. But without all three a funny adventure movie is lopsided, off-balance and ultimately not that good.
"'Guardians of the Galaxy' pulls off all three, and with such adroit surety that it makes you wonder why almost nobody else has been doing the same for the last thirty years. There’s a central structure — a MacGuffin chase predicated on reversals and betrayals — that keeps the story moving like a freight train, and there are plenty of laughs and jokes along the way. But what makes 'Guardians of the Galaxy' a film that is in the same league as 'Ghostbusters' are the characters; these are characters with real heart and soul, fully formed people who are exciting and funny and wounded in equal measure." — Devin Faraci, Badass Digest
The Voices of the "Galaxy"
"I hope Bradley Cooper won’t take it amiss when I say that he gives one of his best performances to date as the voice of a trash-talking space raccoon. Rocket — who’s adorably rendered in a style that suggests, but isn’t, stop-motion animation — at first struck me as overly cute, one of those cloying smartass animals inserted to pander to young children in the audience. But I’ll be damned if Cooper didn’t give this ring-tailed creature some layers. …
"Rocket's crabby exchanges with his vegetal sidekick Groot, beautifully voiced by Vin Diesel, are among the movie’s highlights. Groot can only speak a single phrase — 'I am Groot' — but he utters it with so many different intonations that it comes to constitute a language of its own, one which only his pal the raccoon can accurately interpret." — Dana Stevens, Slate
When Silliness Becomes a Serious Problem
"It's like the silly, superhero-loving kids goofing off in the back of the classroom looked at 'The Avengers' and 'X-Men' and declared, 'Hey, how hard can it be to save the world? Let's do it too!' That's how slapdash this kitschy comic-book flick plays on screen. And while it can be a refreshing twist when a film doesn't take itself seriously, the lack of quality blockbusters this summer is no laughing matter." — Mara Reinstein, Us Weekly
The Final Word
"Maybe you never heard of 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' the Marvel comic franchise that wilts in the shadows while Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Avengers get all the love. Maybe you think a big-ass movie about wanna-be Marvel icons isn't worth your time.
"Snap out of it. 'Guardians of the Galaxy' does the impossible. Through dazzle and dumb luck, it turns the clichés of comic-book films on their idiot heads and hits you like an exhilarating blast of fun-fun-fun. It's insanely, shamelessly silly — just one reason to love it." — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"Guardians of the Galaxy" is in theaters now.