Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper.

Warning: Spoilers!

Guardians was the biggest risk Marvel studios made since Iron Man – (which before the Downey Jr. films wasn’t the most well known character). But while I’d heard of Iron Man and his nemesis the Mandarin, I’d never even heard of Guardians of the Galaxy. So it was hence slightly surprising that Guardians surpassed all but Iron Man 3 and The Avengers in box office revenue. It’s also unusual in the way it’s got far more comedy than other superhero films – only the Incredibles springs to mind as a superhero film which went down that route. The humour is mainly derived from how the 5 main characters interact with each other – and as it’s the best ensemble since the Avengers teamed up, it works really, really well.

Chris Pratt takes on the role of the leading man, Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, a roguish adventurer who was abducted from Earth after his mother’s death by Yondou, leader of the Ravagers, a group of space pirates/rogues/thieves. His introduction as an adult is unlike anything else you will see in a hero (dancing to 80’s music in a cavern while kicking and terrorizing some space rat creatures – no you did read that correctly – it’s surreal, it’s weird or hilarious depending on your point of view). Also – was this the quickest superhero parent death ever? – i know it’s a cliche but his mum died in the first scene! A scene far darker than the rest of the film’s tone. One of the best things about the film though is it’s soundtrack – I’m not talking about the score by Tyler Bates, good though that is, but the 80’s songs in Quill’s ‘awesome mix’ which play throughout – Hooked on a Feeling, Cherry Bomb, The Pina Colada Song etc. – they’re all great and fit surprisingly well in the film.

As for the rest of the ensemble – you have Thanos’ adopted daughter Gamora (Saldana) who is trying to escape her past and start afresh, Drax the Destroyer (Bautista) a murderous brute seeking revenge for the death of his family, Groot (Voiced by Diesel) a tree-like life form only capable of saying the words ‘I am Groot’ and Rocket (Voiced by Cooper) – a genetically engineered raccoon with a taste for destruction and as many credits as he can get his paws on. Which is your favourite is normally difficult to decide (i rarely hear Gamora’s name mentioned – though she is undeniably bad-ass, and Quill actually gets outshined by how brilliant Drax, Rocket and Groot are – so it’ll probably be one of those three you love most). For anyone wondering: I am Groot!

The group are thrown together after Quill steals an orb from Ronan, a Kree fanatic intent on destroying the planet Xandar. After a confrontation for the orb (and the bounty on Quill’s head) they end up thrown in prison and have to work together to escape. They eventually discover the orb contains an ‘infinity stone’ (The Tesseract, The Aether and Loki’s staff all are or contain similar stones – which play a major part in Avenger’s 3: Infinity War) which Ronan recaptures, intending to use it to destroy Xandar and make himself the most powerful man in the galaxy. The plot is pretty similar to Malekith’s attempt to seize the Aether in Thor 2.

Problems? The villains don’t get enough screen time (but then the film isn’t really about them) and Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) while a believable physical threat and galactic terrorist, isn’t really very interesting – he’s no Loki and like most of the Marvel villains is very 1-dimensional. It’s the one thing they really struggle with (Iron Monger, Whiplash, Red Skull, Malekith, Ronan – none have been that memorable have they?) and it’s the one area where DC always beats them. Hopefully his sidekick Nebula (Karen Gillian) and her father Thanos (Josh Brolin) will get a bit more fleshed out in the sequel as well. The other problem? Don’t lose concentration or have conversations during the dialogue scenes – as some people i watched it with proved – if you haven’t read the comics you will get totally lost if you don’t pay attention to the plot. It is good ‘popcorn cinema’ and you can watch it casually, but if you want to get the full experience, watch on a widescreen with the volume up.

Overall a brilliant mesh of characters, some engaging battle scenes and great one-liners make this a cut above most of the Marvel films. For those of you longing for another Loki though, you might have to wait for Age of Ultron.

Rating:4 out of 5

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