Marvel's 'Guardians of the Galaxy' finds space adventurer Peter Quill the object of a bounty hunt after stealing an orb coveted by a treacherous villain, but when Quill discovers the power it holds, he must find a way to rally the quartet of ragtag rivals
When you watch 'Guardians of the Galaxy', there will be a moment when you realise that this space-faring fantasy-comedy is quite unlike any of Marvel's other superhero movies to date. For me, that moment was when a walking, talking raccoon instructed a grown man to steal a prosthetic leg from a prison inmate so that a group of convicted criminals - including a sentient tree - could escape from a space station and fly off to safety (in this case, safety that happens to take the form of the gigantic severed head of a long-dead space-god, floating in the cosmos).
Silly? Yes. Nonsensical? Yes. Weird? Yes. But you'll have such a great time with this movie that those qualities will all become positives.
The movie tells the story of Peter Quill, a young boy from Earth in the 1980s who is bereaved at an early age when his mother dies of cancer, and who is immediately transported off to space by persons unknown. We catch up with Peter years later, while he's trying to forge a living as an intergalactic thief under the self-styled pseudonym "Star Lord". He's the movie's most central character, so it's a good job that actor Chris Pratt is charming and likeable enough to carry off Star Lord's combination of roguish charm and bumbling buffoonery in such a way that he's very easy to root for.
As his journey progresses - driven by the macguffin of a powerful and mysterious orb that Star Lord has stolen, with plans to sell it off for a tidy profit - we run into a host of other colourful characters who fill out the movie. These include Rocket, a talking raccoon-like creature with a love for huge guns and destruction; Groot, a walking tree with a benevolent nature who can only say his own name; Drax, an overly-literal strongman with a tragic backstory; Gamora, a bad-girl-turned-good who plans to get revenge on her adopted father; and Ronan, the film's big villain, who intends to use the orb's powers for his own evil ends.
They're the kind of characters that feel simultaneously fresh and familiar: for example, Star Lord is just like Indiana Jones (only maybe a bit more hapless) but transplanted to space, while Rocket and Groot are like Han Solo and Chewbacca if they were turned into cartoonish computer-generated creations. This easy sense of familiarity helps us to easily get the measure of the characters without too much fuss, allowing the film to entertain us with the details, and to dazzle us with its stunning, colourful design work and imaginative locales packed with distinctive supporting characters (I haven't even mentioned the roles played by Karen Gillan, Benicio Del Toro, John C Reilly or Josh Brolin - I'll leave you to discover them yourself).
This is the polar opposite of a grim, grey space-faring movie like Alien: here, everything is rainbow-coloured and bursting with life, and it helps to create the sense of a fully-realised, living and breathing universe for our heroes to traverse (the creation of which is explored in a satisfying amount of detail in this Blu-Ray's special features).
In many ways, the film is very conventional. The plot is a simple one (you can probably predict the ending almost as soon as the story is set up), but it's inflated with big action set-pieces and given extra life by a constant stream of humour that helps to keep it interesting and enjoyable even when there's not a huge amount of forward momentum. The real fun here is in the details, and it's very easy to fall in love with the wacky, strange, but ultimately warm and cosy world that director James Gunn has created here.
Silly? Yes! Nonsensical? Yes! Weird? Yes! Great fun? Yes!
That's Guardians of the Galaxy for you.
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Please note this is a region B Blu-ray and will require a region B or region free Blu-ray player in order to play. From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team – the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with an uneasy truce with a quarter of disparate misfits – Rocket, a gun-toting racoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Peter discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand – with the galaxy’s fate in the balance. Actors Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper Directors James Gunn Language English Classification 12 Run Time 121 minutes
James Gunn directs and co-writes this Academy Award-nominated sci-fi action adventure starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper as the Marvel Comics superhero team known as the Guardians of the Galaxy. When pilot Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Pratt) steals a mysterious orb he finds himself the target of the villainous Ronan (Lee Pace) and his allies. When Quill learns of the orb's powers and the danger it could bring to the galaxy, he teams up with alien Gamora (Saldana), warrior Drax the Destroyer (Bautista), tree-like humanoid Groot (voice of Diesel) and raccoon Rocket (voice of Cooper) in an attempt to prevent a disaster. Also among the cast are Karen Gillan, Josh Brolin, Djimon Hounsou, Benicio Del Toro, John C. Reilly and Glenn Close.