Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

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Ever since Iron Man came out in 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has revolved around the Avengers.  From origin stories to questionable sequels, Marvel has made a mint from this group of superheroes and now, six years later, the studio has something new to offer.

Guardians of the Galaxy is based on the 2008 Marvel comic-book team by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.   The original team was created in 1969, but the film is based on the current line-up.

Abducted from Earth as a boy, Peter ‘Star-Lord’ Quill (Chris Pratt) has spent his life as a thief.  After stealing a seemingly ordinary orb, he finds himself in the middle of a manhunt against the evil Ronan (Lee Pace), who wants to use the orb to control the galaxy.  In order to stop Ronan and save the day, Quill has to reluctantly team up with a group of fellow misfits; assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), warrior Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), bounty hunter Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and his accomplice Groot (Vin Diesel) – forming the eponymous Guardians.

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As the last Marvel film before Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2016, there is an underlying feeling of whether it is ‘safe’ to bring in another team when a group of superheroes are bringing in the dollars.  But in their efforts in bringing something a little different to its cinematic universe, director James Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman have created something that was recently lacking in Marvel films – the simple notion of entertainment.

At first glance, it is essentially Star Wars for the modern generation.  There is a mixture of different personalties, who team up against a power threatening the galaxy.  Both the male and female leads have parental problems.  There are lots of ships, space battles, even a very tall sidekick with communication issues.  It may sound like déjà vu but the film moves quite quickly so any comparative thoughts are quickly thrown out of the window.  A handful of the supporting cast members seem wasted here, which is always a problem with an ensemble film.  Certain characters such as Karen Gillian’s Nebula and even Thanos, whose appearance was teased at the end of Avengers, don’t get much screen time and considering that the latter is going to be in Age of Ultron, it would have been cool to get to know him a little better.

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However, when it comes to being an enjoyable film, Guardians ticks all the boxes.  The cast effectively mix up their characters’ crazy, occasionally distrustful, personalities and what you get is pure, unadulterated entertainment.  Pratt and Cooper bring in the biggest laughs and Saldana and Bautista make the most of being cautious, untrusting killers with a minimal sense of humour.  Gunn and Perlman make the most of their script, incorporating small jokes that bring big laughs.  The action sequences are very impressive and fun to watch, with the added bonus of special effects and computer animation being used properly.

Guardians of the Galaxy has laughs, space battles and a mouthy racoon. You don’t need anything else in a summer blockbuster.

Guardians of the Galaxy is out in UK cinemas from 31st July.

Director: James Gunn
Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista,
Runtime: 121 min
Country; USA

Film Rating: ★★★★☆

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