Guardians of the Galaxy

Directed by James Gunn. Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper.

I must confess that when Marvel first announced a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, I was incredulous. How could they possibly make an obscure team operating in outer space work? However, from the moment I saw the first proper trailer, I just knew that GOTG might well be the best comic book movie ever. I loved the way James Gunn approached the movie – as a fun, light-hearted romp of epic proportions. Using classic pop songs also did not hurt its appeal as its soundtrack (eg. 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love”, The Raspberries’ “Go All the Way” and Rupert Holmes’ “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)).

The plot is simple. Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, Groot and Drax the Destroyer become unlikely allies in a bid to stop Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) from destroying the planet Xander. Of course, there are obstacles galore in the way of this quest but in overcoming these difficulties, the quintet bond and become an actual group of friends. Each character is given time to shine but the chemistry between Rocket and Groot is rather hypnotic. Despite both being CGI characters, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper do an amazing job bringing them to life with their voices and by the end of the movie, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the duo.

Despite the high stakes – the destruction of an entire planet – the script is filled with humour and pathos – all in the right amount. Unlike previous Marvel films, which attempt to put super-heroes in a realistic context, GOTG never pretends that it’s anything more than space fantasy. If you complain about the fact that all the alien characters act like human beings, then you are simply not getting the punchline. I mean, how different is this characterization different from that seen from wizards, elves, dwarves and hobbits in The Lord of the Rings trilogy?

Peter Quill/Star-Lord is a wonderful character – a combination of Han Solo, Indiana Jones and Captain Kirk – and Chris Pratt gives Star-Lord the requisite humanity and relatability to allow the audience to identify with him easily. Zoe Saldana’s Gamora is both dangerous and sultry, with a decidedly alien visage whilst Bautista’s Drax is a complex hybrid of wordsmith and warrior!

But surely, the bonus is Ronan’s meeting with Thanos (finally!) who looks magnificient in a performance capture sequence (played by Josh Brolin). The special effects are consistently good throughout and nothing looked awkward. The two hour whizzed past in a flash and I personally cannot wait for the sequel. Together with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy raises the bar again for Marvel films (after the relatively weak Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World) and one cannot help but have great expectations for Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015! But in the meantime, do not miss this entertaining movie!

Guardians of the Galaxy is now streaming on Disney+.