Director: James Gunn Starring: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper & Zoe Saldana Synopsis: “In the far reaches of space, an American pilot named Peter Quill finds himself the object of a manhunt after stealing an orb coveted by the villainous Ronan.” Rating: 12A Runtime: 121 minutes
“Are you telling me that the fate of thirty million inhabitants is in the hands of these criminals?”
There is a moment very early on in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy where you realise exactly what kind of film this is going to be. A moment that harks back to the fun adventure films of the 70’s and 80’s and sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the film. It is in that moment that you realise that Guardians of the Galaxy is quite unlike any other Marvel film to date and is more like a cross between Serenity and Star Wars, with a bit of Raiders of the Lost Ark thrown in. Now tell me that doesn’t sound like the best thing ever!
Guardians of the Galaxy starts off with a brief introduction to our hero, Peter Quill aka Star Lord (Chris Pratt), as he visits his dying mother in hospital, only to then be abducted by aliens. If that sounds bonkers, that’s because it is, and things only get more ludicrous as the film moves through its 121 minute runtime.
The film then jettisons us 26 years into the future as we find an adult Quill on the hunt for a mysterious orb that will make him incredibly rich. Of course, Quill isn’t the only person in the galaxy who is after this mysterious orb. Lee Pace’s big bad, Ronan the Accuser has sent out Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to do his dirty work for him and obtain the orb. While Quill’s old mentor Yondu (Michael Rooker) also desires the object, and possibly wants to kill Quill, unless he becomes useful to him again.
The plot gets a little muddled at one point. With the swift moving of locations and the introduction of lots of new characters to keep up with, the film has a bit too much going on at times. The film eventually finds its rhythm though, and creates a space opera that may be worthy of standing up there with the classics in a few years time.
Director James Gunn handles the various elements of the film with aplomb. The film is visually stunning, and is probably the best looking film this year. He also gets the balance right between comedy and drama spot on, without either feeling forced or rushed. His ability to make us care for these characters also deserves special mention. The Avengers took five years to make it onto the big screen together, but the Guardians needed just one attempt to make an impact with its audience.
Of course some people may still have their doubts over whether a film featuring a talking racoon, a walking tree, a green assassin and a former wrestler who is playing a psychopath can really work. I may have had some doubts myself, but there can no misgivings now about Marvel and James Gunn’s casting choices here. Zoe Saldana is ruthlessly efficient as the assassin Gamora, and brings heart to the ferocious character she plays here. Vin Diesel’s Groot says but three words throughout the film, but is quite possibly the most loveable walking tree you will ever come across.
Bradley Cooper’s Rocket is an angry little furball, who has been dissected and put back together in the most painstaking way. Then we have Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a psychopath whose family were murdered at the hands of Ronan the Accuser, but his performance was the biggest surprise for me.
Guardians of the Galaxy is the perfect mix of action, comedy and space opera and leaves you in no doubt how far the Marvel universe can go now. While the studio has seemed to have been in a spot of bother lately, Guardians of the Galaxy has shown that not every film has to start with an origin story or be hyper connected in some way and that these types of films can still be, you know, fun.
In summary: Guardians of the Galaxy has a cocky swagger about it, that echoes some of the best films of the 80’s, and features one of the greatest soundtracks ever and is sure to be a contender for the most entertaining films of the year.