“A welcome fresh side to Marvel’s already huge cinematic scope!”
Marvel takes to the stars as their cinematic universe widens to incorporate their new team of superheroes that make X-Men, the Avengers and Fantastic Four seem as wild and spontaneous as anything you’ve seen. With an idea on paper that seems to be a huge gamble following on an already steady ship of phase two sequels, producer Kevin Feige and the studio have turned to director James Gunn to delve into a new and unexplored chapter of the Marvel world on screen. Post Avengers, we’ve had enemies defeated in New York, heroes saved in Greenwich and explosive action in Washington, now we’re heading out to the furthest corner of the galaxy.
After risking himself to capture a mysterious orb, Peter Quill (played by Chris Pratt) is eventually banged up in galactic prison. But as the dastardly Ronan (played by Lee Pace) makes a deal with higher powers to use the orb as a fearsome weapon, Quill bands together a team of inmates in the form of an alien fighter Gamora (Zoe Saldana), warrior Drax (Dave Baustista), tree humanoid Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and genetically engineered raccoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) to form our titular heroes and stop the enemy destroying worlds in the farthest reaches of the galaxy.
While it’s certainly new territory for Marvel to venture, it’s hard not to look at this film’s aesthetic and design to not be reminded of the sci-fi spectacles of George Lucas or James Cameron. Swirling aerial battles reminiscent of Star Wars, Zoe Saldana mirroring Neytiri from Avatar, Lee Pace evoking Darth Vader, the bustling settings of Total Recall and pod flying from Thor: The Dark World. But while it’s design leads heavily to sci-fi we’ve seen and recognised before, it still feels pitched right in the grand tapestry Marvel are branching out into.
Mainly due to Marvel’s knack of ensuring all members of an ensemble piece are well played, drawn out characters that come with their own traits, personalities and share of the spotlight. Just as The Avengers achieved, Guardians bounce their characters off of each other in an even more crazed, off beat, zany and often times hilarious way. Non more so than the group’s lynchpin of Quill, or ‘Starlord’ as he would like you to call him, Chris Pratt plays his part really well in being the human in the story we go along with. Yes, he has grew up into this world from a young boy and yearns for his boyhood days, but he’s also our plucky hero whose intuitive mind gets him both in and out of sticky situations. Nevertheless, he has a confidence and leadership that is played out brilliantly.
You also have the pairing of Groot and Rocket, fighting tree and gun-toting raccoon respectively. Powered by the voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper who steals scenes and audiences affection with their pairing, to the point you want more of their interaction. Also, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista provide the control and strength to the group with Gamora and Drax, hell-bent on revenge and putting families first and foremost, yet still kicking enemy butt. Together, all their banter and bickering make the film work on a level of complete lunacy, playful fun and establish themselves just as endearing to fans of an already grand superhero saga, as those Marvel have produced previously.
But that theme of playing up the lunacy and craziness throughout does make it more of an enjoyable popcorn action blockbuster and it becomes a welcome fresh side to Marvel’s already huge cinematic scope. There is peril, danger and touching moments that carry throughout but there’s also dance offs, 80’s power ballads, one liners and array of crazy aliens that almost give the sense of allowing yourself to kick back, take a break from the Avengers narrative and open up to a new group of heroes.
It’s flowing and timely paced ride of action, comedy and vibrancy makes this a welcome and surprisingly entertaining treat from Marvel. It’s simply crazy, funny, bonkers, spectacular and massively endearing all at once.