Having been a fan of the comics and the retro- pop culture feel of the trailers, I’ve been excited about Guardians of the Galaxy for a long time. The fact Marvel have become so formulaic of late and so tedious in setting up the Avengers movies only serves to make this instalment by James Gunn an even more impressive success.
Peter Quill aka Star Lord (Chris Pratt) is drawn to a group of rag tags, Gamora (Zoey Saldana), Drax (Dave Batista), Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) by a mysterious artefact known as the Orb. They must work together to keep the dangerous weapon from the hands of the vengeful Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) who intends to use its power to exact revenge upon an enemy planet whilst bringing new super being, Thanos, into the Marvel universe.
This is one funny film. As said, it breaks the tedium of Marvel formula in many ways, but mainly by its immense wit. Every single character steals every single scene, when character development is this good and emotions run so deep, it’s a joy to watch and at points, hilarious. Batista’s deadpan and literal attitude, Quill’s Han Solo persona and, perhaps most brilliant, Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon, the fast talking ‘rodent’ with attitude and A LOT of fire power. Their quips, mixed with a fantastically retro soundtrack “Hooked on a Feeling, Blue Swede, that is MY song!” screams Star Lord at one point, separates Guardians of the Galaxy from the recent monotony of Marvel’s offerings.
As touched on, the film is really propelled by character development. ‘We all got dead people’ says Rocket as it becomes evident this group of heroes team up as a family as well as guardians; Quill in particular is relatable with his ties to Earth and his beautiful Walkman that reminds him of his home and mother. The cinematography is also beautiful, the title scene is a particular favourite of mine as ‘Come and Get your Love’ plays with the small figure of dancing Quill dwarfed by the huge ‘Guardians’ title, setting the tone of unlikely heroes and beautiful shots instantly within the movie.
The story is nothing special, but is so well executed in the perfect directing of Gunn and the wit and likability of the characters that it delivers one hell of a time. A lot of people have suggested Ronan, the villain, is one of the weaker features of the movie. Certainly a weaker aspect of a great movie, but not really a weak villain. Perhaps he would have been stronger had his motives been shown rather than crammed in with exposition, but he serves as a welcome addition to the universe, a decent devise that moves the story on and a great introduction to Thanos who looks like he’s going to give the Avengers a hard time.
Finally, what cannot be overlooked is, ironically for a film largely about aliens, how human it is. Gunn, and some fantastic CGI even manage to make Groot, a anthropomorphic tree, be undeniably cute yet terrifying at the same time. Rocket and Quill and both cheekily loveable. Gamora is powerful yet naive and Drax is just all around hilarious. We feel their pain and we long for their success. Amplified by a moving soundtrack by Bates, several scenes in the movie shift the tone from comedy to heart seamlessly, adding dimensions to the characters and making them the true definition of heroes.
This is the best movie of the new Marvel universe.
Hilarious, heartfelt and uniquely fresh, Guardians of the Galaxy exceeds expectations and revitalises the Marvel Universe. I’m hooked on a good feeling for this one.