Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Today's Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been coming along at a breakneck pace the last few years, churning out blockbuster after awesome blockbuster. But with well established super heroes like Thor, Iron Man and Hulk it was hard to go wrong. But when I heard about Guardians Of The Galaxy I wasn't sure what to think, because I'd never heard of Guardians Of The Galaxy. Unfortunately I don't have the time to delve into several decades of cross-over superhero groups and story lines. But this movie is made by Marvel, and they've been doing a lot of good, so I was certainly willing to give it a go.

Chris Pratt stars as Star-Lord, a man abducted from Earth as a child, who has since grown into a resourceful outlaw. While stealing a mysterious orb for an even more mysterious buyer, Star-Lord finds himself in a spot of trouble. Soon he is thrown in prison with green lady-alien  Gamora (Zoe Saldana), genetically modified rodent Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), hardened warrior Drax The Destroyer (Dave Bautista) and giant tree thing Groot (Vin Diesel). They all have a vested interest in the mysterious orb, or each other, but when a powerful war lord attempted to hunt them down, they have to learn to work together and save themselves, and indeed, the galaxy.

Yes, the plot sounds a little cliche. Unlikely band of ruffians must band together against an unspeakable evil, and yes, while there are a few twists and turns along the way, this is pretty much a formulaic blockbuster. But where Guardians Of The Galaxy shines is with its heart. While the villains are cookie cutter evil doers, the Guardians themselves are all fantastic. Cooper shines as a tiny raccoon who always has a plan, and a lot of firepower, while Diesel lends a lot of emotion to the singular phrase his character can utter: "I Am Groot". But Pratt really steals the show, taking his loveable goofball character that he built on Parks & Recreation and becoming a pretty bad-ass action hero, even if he does rely on a lot of dumb luck. He also comes equipped with a Walkman, which lends a whole lot of 70s-80s era music to the soundtrack of this galactic epic. It doesn't sound like it would work, but it does.

Of course, being based in the far reaches of space, and populated with a wide range of alien species, a lot has to be said about the special effects. As with other Marvel movies, this is top notch work. With two of our main five characters completely animated, they manage to fit in seamlessly with the rest. The gang fly in a variety of awesome looking ships, firing a wide array of guns, and blowing up pretty much everything in sight, and it all looks spectacular. In true blockbuster fashion the action scenes are wonderfully set up, and the quiet times in between are full of fantastic dialogue shared between the unique band of heroes, with a lot of clever one liners thrown in for good measure. The only hero I had some reservations about was Gamora, who really isn't all that fleshed out, but the rest have a pretty adequate amount of character development seeing as it's all squeezed into one movie. 

I may have had my reservations about this movie, but I certainly had a great time. It may not reach the dizzying heights of The Avengers, but it's a solid first entry into a franchise that I knew nothing about, but now can't wait to see more of.

My rating: 4/5

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