Dave Bautista had some trouble resurrecting his wrestling persona ‘Batista’ in the WWE earlier this year, but apparently, more general audiences are giving him glowing reviews for his work as Drax in “Guardians of the Galaxy.” New York Times critic Manohla Dargis even calls Bautista “terrific!” No wonder the movie grossed a record-setting $94 million on its opening weekend.
OK, maybe the rest of the cast, which includes Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Vin Diesel, helped, too, but Bautista’s blockbuster coming-out roll of the lovably dumb Drax made an impact on reviewers. Here’s what some are saying.
“Drax … provides a big chunk of the film’s humor with his propensity for making comments, delivered in an uncomprehending deadpan, that interpret everything anyone says literally.” — Michael O’Sullivan of The Washington Post
“Bautista is solid (in multiple senses of the word).” — Christopher Orr of The Atlantic
“Bautista’s soulful, humorous humorlessness might be the happiest surprise of all. I’ve seen him ‘act’ on TV’s ‘Raw’ and have wanted to call ‘timber.’ But here he’s something like a brute-comedian.” — Wesley Morris of Grantland
“Dave Bautista, the WWE’s Batista, has a wonderful turn as the Guardians’ behemoth, Drax the Destroyer.” — David Hiltbrand of The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Bautista’s Drax also is a hoot. A clunky literalist with an annoying inability to understand the simplest metaphor, he is responsible for some of the movie’s most winning wordplay.” — Claudia Puig of USA Today
“WWE wrestling champ Dave Bautista brings ferocity and feeling to Drax the Destroyer, the tattooed hulk who wants to crush Ronan for killing his wife and daughter.” — Peter Travers of Rolling Stone
“Bautista shows some unexpected comic timing in playing a member of a species that doesn’t understand metaphor, leading to him taking everything completely literally.” — Alison Willmore of BuzzFeed
“The final member of the crew is Drax, an alien played by Dave Bautista. The character seems a typical heavy for a while, but Bautista ends up offering nearly as many laughs as Pratt, as he leans into Drax’s inability to understand anything but the most literal meaning of what’s said.” — Todd VanDerWerff of Vox
“[O]ne stand-out element making the team work is Bautista’s excellent comedic timing coupled with a terrific moment of humility and self-realization. No offense intended to Bautista, but watching him in this role was sort of a ‘I didn’t know he had it in him’ revelation.” — Mark Hughes of Forbes
So, does this mean Bautista will have more movies on the way? Maybe, but don’t expect the origin story of Drax anytime soon. The ex-wrestler told Den of Geek:
“I have mixed feelings about it because I would love if they would do an origin for Drax. I think it would be really cool for people to see the background of Drax and see what he went through and the loss of his family. But at the same time I feel like, with Drax taking everything so literally and without him having Chris Pratt to play with, I mean, how entertaining would he be? How entertaining would it be to see a whole civilization of people who take everything literally? It would almost seem like it would be kind of boring and everybody would be like really stiff, very literal. I just don’t know if it would be as much fun, you know.”