Here we are once again with another Marvel film. Does Guardians of the Galaxy live up to its consistent expectations? In the words of Rocket Raccoon – “Ohh, yeah!”
Guardians of the Galaxy tells the story of Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) who discovers a mysterious orb in the far reaches of space. It turns out he’s not the only one who wants the orb and Peter becomes the object of a space manhunt, lead by Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). Discovering what power the orb contains, Peter bands together a female assassin called Gomora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) to become the Guardians of the Galaxy, to stop Ronan from destroying the world.
I wasn’t going to watch this film for like another week but managed to make an impromptu visit to the cinema on Friday night – and it was worth it!
As the movie opens up with Peter Quill seeing his dying mother in hospital and then suddenly gets kidnapped by intergalactic space pirates, you would have thought that the film would have adopted a dark, vengeful undertone. Yet as soon as Peter turns up with his awesome mix vol.1 cassette tape and starts dancing in the tombs, you quickly realise that this is no ordinary Marvel film. When I think about this film (especially as I write this review), this film does have a Star Wars vibe about it and it’s the good version of Star Wars! With plenty of action and humour, Guardians of the Galaxy is a good old-fashioned sci-fi romp offering a perfect balance and support to the rest of the Marvel films. When the cast are on the top of their game, watching this latest addition in the Marvel collection is too good to turn down.
Gamora: “I’m a warrior, an assassin. I don’t dance.”
Peter Quill: “Really? Well, on my planet, we have a legend about people like you. It’s called Footloose. And in it, a great hero, named Kevin Bacon, teaches an entire city full of people with sticks up their butts that, dancing, well, is the greatest thing there is.”
Gamora: “…Who put the sticks up their butts?”
Chris Pratt – yes the same Chris Pratt off Parks and Recreation. This sudden rise to beefcake stardom may surprise you, but if you watch Parks and Rec like I do – it’s not 🙂 . His charm and persona is a perfect fit for Peter Quill as the Han Solo/Indiana Jones style adventurer. When you first meet him he’s not really heroic, he pretty much is in it for himself, especially if the job he’s doing comes for a nice fee. He walks around like a big kid with his Earth mannerisms that often gets lost in translation when speaking to other alien races such as the Kevin Bacon joke (BTW – does this joke qualify as another degree of Kevin Bacon?) When it comes to taking advantage of a situation, he’s not afraid of using everything in his arsenal, especially his unexpected dance off at the end. When he’s not acting like an opportunistic kid, the only recognisable human feature about him is his cassette player which plays a mix-tape of 80s tracks (or tracks regularly played on Magic FM for our UK readers!) As a child of the 80s, this cassette tape resembles the last solid connection from Earth and to his mother who made the mix-tape for him.
Rhomann Dey: “They call themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Nova Corps Officer: “What a bunch of a-holes.”
Guardians of the Galaxy is like the anti-version of The Avengers. With characters like Iron Man and Captain America, despite their differences there is always something heroic about them. The Guardians crew are the most self-absorbed bunch of people you will see on screen! Along with Peter they all have their issues and because of their personal self-interest, it jeopardises the mission to save the galaxy. But when these oddball characters get together, the combination just works.
Gamora is the adopted daughter of Thanos (played by Josh Brolin) and sister to Nebula (Karen Gillan). She’s an assassin but she has her principles and refuses to take part in Thanos’s plan for destruction. But because of her association, proving her intentions falls on death ears to others.
Drax lost his wife and daughter because of Ronan and spends the entire film talking about revenge. What’s cool about Drax is that even though he’s very much a brute, he talks like a Thespian! He takes things very literally and metaphors go over his head…and nothing goes over his head because he has quick reflexes.
Vin Diesel must have got paid! His voice work is simple although I’m sure he recorded many different versions of the line. He says only three words throughout the entire film. “I” followed by “am” followed by “Groot” – in that order. You would think it would be repetitive or boring but actually Groot’s reactions are very funny and charming. It won’t surprise me if some toy manufacturer makes a dancing Groot toy, just in time for Christmas.
But I’m saving the best character till last and that belongs to Rocket Raccoon voiced by the excellent Bradley Cooper. Rocket’s sense of humour is hysterical and while I won’t spoil what he says/does or the games he plays but his no-nonsense, straight to the point character makes this film worthwhile. His partnership with Groot is like the R2-D2/C-3PO relationship from the Star Wars films. Despite his comedic turn, there’s a lot of sympathy for the character as displayed in one scene where he reacts to being called “vermin”. He had no choice in the matter regarding his form, so you could argue that a lot of his comments are just to stand up for himself and show defiance to anyone who questions his legitimacy, hence the words “ain’t no thing like me, except me”.
Rocket Raccoon: “That’s for if you wanna blow up moons.”
Gamora: “No one’s blowing up moons.”
Rocket Raccoon: “You just wanna suck the joy out of everything.”
That’s what makes Guardians of the Galaxy so good. The film is a bold risk and Marvel managed to pull it off. They may not be well known to the general comic book audience but their differentiation from the other Marvel Universe characters has already been cemented.
We get a great introduction into this new, expanded universe as well as a first look at Thanos. We get to look at Lee Pace being a badass on screen along with Karen Gillan and of course, the hilarious Michael Rooker as Yondu is present, carrying on his great form from The Walking Dead. Every time Rooker was on screen (as this Jabba the Hut style character) he was always mentioning to Peter how he saved his life and prevented his space crew from eating him! Guardians of the Galaxy has an addictive pop soundtrack thanks to Peter’s mix-tape and it also has the funniest and weirdest post credit cut scene I’ve seen in a Marvel film! It’s so random but the Marvel connections are clear but I’m pretty sure everyone was expecting a little tease for the next Marvel instalment.
Does the film have much depth? Not really. In terms of all the characters we only get presented with the ‘need to knows’ because it could have easily lost itself with so much happening in the galaxy world. Yes the clichéd Marvel formula is still present but it’s not enough to dampen your enjoyment. Not once was I bored or found myself looking at my watch.
Guardians of the Galaxy is great reminder that not all superhero comic book films have to be dark and moody – it can be light hearted, entertaining and fun. Marvel once again maintains it’s consistency and further builds up the intrigue of how all these characters are going to integrate once The Avengers: Age of Ultron finally lands on screen.
I mean…I can’t be the only one thinking about the potential conversation between Tony Stark and Rocket Raccoon right?