Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

When someone mentions Marvel, what do you think of? Iron Man? Hulk? Thor? I bet very few of you would think of Rocket, Groot, Drax, Gamora or Star Lord. But these are the characters Marvel have chosen to bring to the silver screen in this year’s summer blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy.

Peter Quill aka Star Lord is taken from Earth after the death of his mother. 26 years later, Quill has grown into an intergalactic treasure hunter who stumbles upon an orb wanted by Ronan the Accuser. To help fight Ronan, Quill forms his own band of misfits: Rocket, the genetically modified Raccoon; Groot, the humanoid tree; Gamora, one of the deadliest assassins in the universe and Drax, the destroyer. Together they must stop Ronan from destroying Xander, home of the Nova Corps.

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When the first Iron Man came out in 2008, I doubt anyone thought a film which included a potty-mouthed Raccoon that went round with a walking, talking tree would have worked. Now, Guardians has surpassed the $200 million mark at the box office. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Guardians of the Galaxy is The Avengers in Space. In some ways it is quite similar – over-confident male leads band of misfits, including a female assassin, to stop scary space man with a large staff from destroying a planet for the fun of it. However, in some ways it is miles better.

Why does it work? Because it’s different. It’s a comedic space opera with a catchy 70s/80s pop soundtrack, quirky characters and a great script. The soundtrack, all tracks from a cassette Quill’s mother gave him, is a great addition to the film. The juxtaposition between the space age setting and catchy pop works. Though how Quill found a cassette player in such a technologically advance world is beyond me!

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It’s great to see Chris Pratt in a lead role, sticking to his comedic roots. His change in appearance makes him look like the perfect fantasy hero – until he opens his mouth, that is! Zoë Saldana is a good addition to the cast as the ass-kicking Gamora, though I was left cold by Karen Gillan’s Nebula who appeared a little stilted and wooden. It was the CGi characters, however, that stole the show. One of the greatest parts of this film is how two completely CGi characters fit so seamlessly into the cast. They act so humanoid that you almost forget that they’re not actually real. Bradley Cooper adds great character to Rocket through his voice acting while Vine Diesel’s motion capture and (limited) voice acting really brought Groot to life. If you leave the filming without loving Groot – in one form or another – then there’s something wrong with you!

For the Marvel fanciers there is plenty to nerdgasm over, while for the casual Marvel viewers there’s still plenty to enjoy. It’s nice to be introduced to new characters after sticking with the Earth bound ones for so long.

Like usual there is an end credits scene, however, I don’t think it’s really worth staying for.

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