Brace yourself for a hilarious and awesome intergalactic ride – Guardians Of The Galaxy is fun, funny and fantastic. This ridiculous “space-opera” meets “sci-fi western” is exactly the kind of movie you’d expect a summer blockbuster to be – entertaining and full of style and attitude.
Guardians Of The Galaxy is one of the more obscure of the Marvel titles – there’s no well-known superhero in tights or metal suit leading the charge – to be completely honest – I knew almost nothing about this Marvel title or its absolutely charming characters before plans for the film took shape. Marvel and Disney have paired to create a surprise for the late-summer box office – a winner that deserves all of its praise.
Earth, 1988. On the night that his mother passes away, young Peter Quill is abducted by aliens. 26 years later – armed with his Walkman (including his “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” mixtape of 70’s and 80’s hits) – Peter Quill becomes Star-Lord, a legendary (in his own mind, at least) outlaw who’s landed on the derelict planet Morag to avail himself of its hidden treasures. Quill has found himself in possession of a mysterious orb that certain ruthlessly villainous parties would like to have, and this compels him to team up with a ragtag crew of space adventurers in an effort to save the galaxy.
Thanks in large part to its cast, and what a truly stone cold group of weirdo characters they’re playing – Guardians Of The Galaxy is completely self-aware of its goofy premise. Just go with it – that’s where we have most of our fun.
The cast of characters is led by Peter Quill/Star-Lord, played by the charismatic Chris Pratt. Quill is a Han-Solo-esque rebel who carries the swagger of James T. Kirk and the job description of a down-on-his-luck Indiana Jones. Take all your cool guy 70’s and 80’s heroes and remix them to create the space-western hero known as Star-Lord. Be prepared for the coming of Chris Pratt – serial sidekick turned bonafide action hero… and stud. Get ready world – this guy is going to be a huge star. For us Parks and Recreation fans, Chris Pratt has played the loveable Andy Dwyer for six seasons (going into its 7th and final season) – a ridiculous goon who is so much fun – and its nice to see some of that cheek carry over to the big screen. Tumblr is already teeming with gifs and screen caps of this handsome and hilarious dude. He seems so genuinely overjoyed to have this opportunity. It’s so great to see nice things happen to nice people (BURT MACKLIN FOREVER!… I’ll stop now….).
Sci-fi queen Zoe Saldana plays the lethal Gamora, a deadly assassin seeking retribution. She’s so striking and graceful on screen – and carries green body paint better than almost anyone! WWE wrestler Dave Bautista plays Drax The Destroyer – a vengeance driven behemoth who takes everything literally – offering some really witty and hilarious banter. And finally, the team is rounded out by a genetically altered genius racoon called Rocket Racoon (voiced by an absolutely feral Bradley Cooper) and his giant tree-like muscle Groot (played by Vin Diesel, whose wooden acting is a plus here). The clichéd “rag-tag group of unlikely heroes” works so well with these outrageous characters.
The rest of the supporting cast is filled out by well-known and truly great character actors – with Michael Rooker, Benicio Del Toro (yes…THAT Benicio Del Toro), Glenn Close, and John C. Reilly playing bit parts that are sure to amuse. If anything, the only fault in the characterizations, are the somewhat one-note and super serious villains (played by almost unrecognizable Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, and Josh Brolin). We don’t really get a lot of background on the villains or they’re place in this rather large universe of characters. It’s a little fast – in that we don’t know a lot about the characters and the universe in which they reside – there’s a reliance on having seen a few of the other Marvel film entries (or at least a few end credits scenes) – but, it’s so much fun that I’d overlook all of these minor inconsistencies.
The writing is witty and full of irrelevant, but genuinely funny repartee. James Gunn (who also directs) and Nicole Perlman have done a great job of weaving 70’s and 80’s references, jokes (some groan worthy) and clever banter throughout a solid plot and startling action sequences. The film looks great – colourful, grand and a little over the top. The soundtrack is a character in itself – an infectious vintage-Earth-pop soundtrack. A soundtrack that the film’s characters appreciate as much as the audience will.
Guardians is a startlingly confident for a film featuring obscure characters – but it’s unapologetic in its swagger. So much so, that the film end credits boast that “the Guardians will return” – true enough, as Marvel has already announced the sequel slated for July 2017.
Marvel is capitalizing on the success and expectations from its Avengers superhero titles – in the best way – taking chances on cool flicks like Guardians Of The Galaxy and further expanding its cinematic universe.
Guardians Of The Galaxy is self-indulgent, self-aware and self-satisfied in the best way. The fate of a galaxy is entrusted to an absurd bunch who are hardly up to the job. In a moment of satire genius, the film spoofs the traditional superhero team slow-motion walk, with Rocket uncomfortably pulling at his costume’s crotch and Gamora yawning uncontrollably.
Guardians Of The Galaxy is exactly what I want in a summer blockbuster. Go on…get yourself hooked on a feeling – with Guardians Of The Galaxy.