Review Roundup - Marvel's Epic Space Adventure GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

Review Roundup - Marvel's Epic Space Adventure GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

Marvel Studios Guardians of the Galaxy from director James Gunn hits theaters today, August 1st. The action-packed, epic space adventure, the movie expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe.

To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits-Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand-with the galaxy's fate in the balance.

The film stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Michael Rooker, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro.

Let's see what the critics have to say:

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times: don't need to be held hostage by the Marvel Weltanschauung to enjoy "Guardians." The story may be confusing and generic by turns, but if you shake off the bonds of narrative coherency it's liberating letting the weird words - Yondu, Necrocraft, Sakkaran - just slide right past you, much like the zigzagging, exploding 3-D spaceships. What sticks are the fantastical landscapes, the beautiful creature designs and the actors delivering lively performances, even with strata of makeup and digital wizardry.

Mick LaSalle, SF Gate's: "Guardians of the Galaxy" is pretty much where action movies are these days - a combination of comedy without wit, action without drama and elaborate visuals that are nothing much to look at. That just this little is enough to take "Guardians" into the realm of "not bad" says more about the state of action than it does about the movie itself.

Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times: Blessed with a loose, anarchic B-picture soul that encourages you to enjoy yourself even when you're not quite sure what's going on, the scruffy "Guardians" is irreverent in a way that can bring the first "Star Wars" to mind, in part because it has some of the most unconventional heroes - would you believe a raccoon and a tree? - this side of the Mos Eisley cantina.

Tom Russo, The Boston Globe: The motley crew's repartee makes for comedy that's surprisingly consistent, yet freewheeling and sharp enough to pinball from Kevin Bacon to Jackson Pollock and back. There are some cut-above visuals, like a long-range Taser that amusingly ends the group's initial run-in with one another, and Rocket's irked expressiveness, and a darkly lyrical shot of Gamora fatally floating in space. But boredom would likely set in by the second or third laser shootout if Gunn, Pratt, Cooper, and the gang weren't having such a blast.

Chris Nashawaty,EW: 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 moreStarcrash 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.

Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter: Ultimately, Gunn's immersive interpretation of the Guardians' universe succeeds in large part because of his integration of top-shelf visual effects. Superior execution by cinematographer Ben Davis, production designer Charles Wood and the editorial team of Fred Raskin, Craig Wood andHughes Winborne dynamically underlines Gunn's vision. Despite occasional disregard for the laws of physics, much of the imagery displayed onscreen is so realistic and thrill-inducing that sometimes even the plot becomes almost secondary during the more intensely visual sequences.