Ranking The Guardians Of The Galaxy

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Very few films in 2014 – let alone superhero/Marvel films – can claim to have brought something refreshing and unique to the table. Guardians Of The Galaxy is one that can, and it’s all thanks to how director James Gunn brings some of the most idiosyncratic and flat-out weird characters to life in a two hour space opera.

These characters are so off-beat and strange that many moviegoers and comic book fans alike felt that a big-budget adaptation of Guardians Of The Galaxy would result in Marvel’s first box office flop, denting the seemingly indestructible armor of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Clearly James Gunn was aware that this would be the biggest hurdle in getting mainstream audiences to come out in droves to see the film – like every other Marvel film out there – but the filmmaker took that potential issue and spun it into the film’s greatest strength.

If you have seen Guardians Of The Galaxy, then you are probably in agreement that James Gunn accomplished this. Whether it was through CGI special effects, extensive make-up effects, or the outstanding acting from everyone across the board, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the titular Guardians Of The Galaxy. They are simply some of the most endearing and infectiously fun characters to ever grace the big screen.

With that said, just who is the most awesome “Guardian of the Galaxy?” It certainly isn’t something that is easy to pick apart and rank, but that’s half the fun in writing something like this. So, read on and find out who our favorite Guardians are.

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW

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5) Gamora

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In this case, just because a character is last, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they were a bad character. In fact, Gamora was actually a great character, it’s just that unfortunately for her, someone has to be last on the list.

Starting off with the positives, she is a very deadly assassin capable of getting right into the thick of combat, similar to Black Widow. She also has an uneasy upbringing being the adopted daughter of Thanos, but a brutal sibling rivalry with her sister Nebula allows for some semi-important action scenes during the film’s more climactic battles.

The problem is that a lot of the plot surrounding her feels undercooked in comparison to the other Guardians. The fact that Ronan – the villain of the film and partner to Thanos – is about as generic as they come didn’t help matters, either. Gamora betrays Ronan because he’s obviously a lunatic fixated on destroying the galaxy, but she simply doesn’t do much throughout the film besides wind up as the love interest to Star-Lord. She does have some interesting dialogue with Drax The Destroyer in regards to her association with Ronan, as Ronan murdered his family, but that’s really it in terms of character development.

Her character is also far more serious than the rest, which isn’t something that detracts from being likable, but does make her come across as less memorable. Still though, Zoe Saldana made it all work and makes up for it by being arguably the best fighter of the bunch.

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4) Groot

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Give Vin Diesel a lot of credit; in live-action roles his performances are very hit or miss (mostly miss), but when he’s providing the voice over for a character, he effortlessly makes him endearing. Prior to voicing Groot, Vin Diesel voiced the titular Iron Giant in an animated film from the 90s, and elicited a great deal of emotion solely with noises and grunts.

Diesel’s role here as an anthropomorphic tree that serves as the muscle to Rocket Raccoon is no different. “I am Groot” is his only line in the movie, but he delivers it with enough conviction that every time it’s said you can’t help but just say “Awwwww” to yourself. In a superhero film where the superheroes are a bunch of A-holes, Groot is the saintly member of the group that is only capable of kindness.

Sorry, let me rephrase that, “Groot is the saintly member of the group that is only capable of kindness…unless you are his enemy.” If the latter is the case, he’ll stab you with one of his branches – that he can control the growth of at will – and bounce you between the walls of a hallway like a ping-pong ball. And even then, he’ll just playfully smile at you after he’s done kicking your ass.

Overall, Groot is a character with multiple layers that had to be nailed. The CGI had to be on point with animations and movements that instantly allowed viewers to become attached, while Vin Diesel had to bring out an innocent voice capable of reaffirming a pet-like love time and time again.

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3) Drax The Destroyer

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Drax is the true muscle of the film, but there is actually a lot more to his character than being an extraterrestrial badass filled to the brim with anger and seeking revenge on those that murdered his family. Furthermore, if that was really all Drax was about, then he would come across as nothing more than a part-time WWE wrestler only cast because of his intimidating stature.

Instead, Drax has the character trait of taking everything another character says 100% literally, and it results in some of the funniest scenes in the movie. Additionally, Dave Bautista expresses an untapped and unknown knack for delivering deadpan comedic lines with excellent timing. None of the jokes feel forced at all, regardless of who Drax is interacting with.

It’s simply refreshing to see a character that has a dark and tormented past, but rather than bogging the movie done with too much depression, said character actually provides a personalized sense of comedy. I suppose it could just be an over-exaggerated take on the concept of all brawn and no brain, but Drax feels identifiably different. He wields a mountain of strength but isn’t flat out stupid, he just can’t understand the simplest metaphor.

On a related note, Guardians Of The Galaxy could be the breakout role for the WWE superstar. Director James Gunn has plucked from Bautista the skill of deadpan comedy that the actor probably never knew resided within him. Here’s hoping that Bautista continues to find success out there in Hollywood.

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2) Rocket Raccoon

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It’s no surprise that Rocket Raccoon is fairly high on this list. Let’s face it, a trash talking, gun toting, roguish raccoon is probably the very thing that sold the film to mainstream audiences. Seriously, who the hell WOULDN’T have their interest piqued from such a thing?

Underneath the surface though, Rocket Raccoon is an emotionally charged character full of insecurities and a bleak back-story. He isn’t just some raccoon that was born with the ability to talk, but rather a creature born from an experiment. As such, you begin to understand why he’s such a d*** to pretty much every other character in the movie.

Coming into Guardians Of The Galaxy, one of the things viewers probably least expected was to walk away a bit saddened by his upbringing. The juxtaposition between the scene where he’s drunk – just another reason to go see the movie – spilling out his heartfelt sober thoughts, and an action sequence where he’s riding Groot while shooting a machine gun is pretty jarring, but that’s the magic of having a director like James Gunn. He knows how to put those together without coming across as stupid.

Bradley Cooper also deserves credit for being the perfect casting choice. Over the years Cooper has diversified into an actor capable of pulling off both comedy (The Hangover) and drama (The Place Beyond The Pines); clearly a necessity when bringing Rocket Raccoon to life.

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1) Star-Lord/Peter Quill

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There’s a reason James Gunn cast Chris Pratt 30 seconds into his audition, and it’s his organic ability to provide off-the-cuff improvisational dialogue. That personality matches Star-Lord/Peter Quill to a tee, but it also enhances all of the actors around him.

Chris Pratt is kind of like a rug that ties your living room together, except he’s the backbone to the Guardians Of The Galaxy. It’s abundantly clear that a lot of the comedic touches to the film work due to his seemingly natural camaraderie with all of his fellow Guardians. There is an infectiously witty presence to him that you just can’t get enough of.

He is also the viewer’s link to the galaxy. It’s not just a style choice to have Peter sentimentally listening to 80s music that remind him of his mother, it’s something that we the audience can use to connect themselves to his world up in space. Deep down, Star-Lord is Peter Quill, a dude from earth just like us, except he’s caught up in a cosmic adventure. And through him, we are able to relate to the rest of the insanity.

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  • Razorsfury

    “Give Vin Diesel a lot of credit; in live-action roles his performances are very hit or miss (mostly miss)” How so? Vin Diesel action roles have been pretty good in my opinion.

  • Branr

    70′s music, not 80′s, but a good review.

  • SWEAR TO ME!

    Better than “Days of future past”, but not as good as Captain America 2.

    • Spongebob Squarepants

      It’s impossible for me to rank Cap 2 against GofG simply because one is so grounded and real and the other is a fantastical space faring adventure. They are both really good im their own ways.

      • Gary

        Which makes the smash up in Avengers 3 that much more exciting.

      • Earych

        Agree with you. I hate to compare or say one is better than the other as the themes are entirely different.

        • Spongebob Squarepants

          I feel like Cap 2 should be ranked against Bourne, MI and Bond rather than other superhero movies. Its such a good espionage spy thriller it doesnt even feel like a CMB