So we’ve had Iron Man, Thor and co in their solo films and together in the mighty Avengers movie, now Marvel brings out the newcomers. But as one of their lesser-known properties can Marvel work their magic on this band of heroes.
Abducted from Earth as boy Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), otherwise known as Star-Lord was brought up among thieves. As an adult he finds himself in trouble when he steals a sphere shaped artifact with unknown powers, which everyone seems to want. He soon crosses the path of an array of aliens including Gamora (Zoe Saldana) a remorseful assassin, Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) whose looking for revenge, Groot (Vin Diesel) a tree-like humanoid who can only say “I am Groot”, and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) a genetically engineered talking raccoon. These strangers soon have to work together when an enemy bigger then themselves start looking for the artifact, hoping to use it to cause as much death and destruction as possible.
The basic plot may not be original-a ragtag bunch of misfits must overcome their differences to work together against a common enemy. It could basically be the Avengers-in space! But what marks out Guardians of the Galaxy is the sense of pure fun and weirdness that ensures that this superhero movie is anything but a bog standard adventure.
James Gunn was considered quite the risk as a director having directed mostly indie films such as the body-alien horror Slither. But just like Joss Whedon before him Marvel have proven that the risk has payed off. Gunn clearly enjoys the sense of anarchy and wackiness that is embodied in this film. When your main characters include a talking raccoon you must have a director that has the balls to run with the weirdness and make it into something that is funny, exciting and at times quite touching without diluting all the oddness that comes with it.
It helps that our guardians are all equally as engaging as each other. There is no weak link here and everyone has a chance to shine. Chris Pratt has had quite the year being the lead in the mega hit The Lego Movie (another film that was a lot better than everyone expected it to be), and as Peter he’s the everyman that the audience can identify with. He’s not a squeaky clean goodie-goodie and is all the better for it. Peter is funny, likeable and probably gone a bit mad having listen to the same music (Awesome Mixtape 1) for the past 26 years. Saldana gets a lot of excellent fight scenes as the remorseful Gamora and has good chemistry with Pratt. Burista is surprisingly funny and has a sad back story that drives his anger. Vin Diesel as Groot is sweet and conveys a lot for someone whose character has a limited vocabulary. Rocket will probably be a lot of people’s favourite character and Cooper manages to make this talking raccoon as twisted and hilarious as you imagine he would be but also more than just a one joke character that could have been very annoying.
As for the villains we get Lee Pace as the main baddie, the psychotic Ronan The Accuser, and former Doctor Who assistant Karen Gillian as Nebula his right hand woman. Between them they don’t make things easy for the Guardians and get lots of good fight scenes and plenty of boo-hiss moments to get you rooting for their comeuppance. Also one of my favourite bits of the movie is Ronan’s reaction to Peter’s interesting attempts at distraction. How Pace did not crack up during filming I don’t know.
It’s a movie which on paper probably looks mad, and it is but that doesn’t make Guardians any less enjoyable. In fact it’s to be commended for being a bit different to its other Marvel siblings. Plus any film that mentions the awesomeness of Footloose and Kevin Bacon has my vote.
Rating 4/5 – give the crazy lesser known heroes a try and I guarantee you’ll be hooked, and if nothing else it’s the best movie featuring a talking raccoon this year!