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guardians-of-the-galaxy-poster2014

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Directed by: James Gunn

Starring: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace

Guardians of the Galaxy is the first step in a new direction for comic book movies. It is a movie that dares to make fun of stereotypical, romantic leading man and lady plots, without being too obvious about it, and features a mash-up of characters that are all unbelievably strange yet likeable in their own ways. Guardians is a great summer movie with a stellar 80s soundtrack. It is one of the best films Marvel Studios has ever produced.

Guardians steps away for the movie-length single character origin story that we’re used to seeing in Iron Man and Captain America: The First Avenger. In fact, for most of the movie they aren’t the team they end up becoming. The team is, through spoiler plot points, forced to work together.

By uniting this rag tag group of space-pirates, who really ought not to be a team, the film has the distinct feel of a comic book. You pick up established characters in a new setting but never feel lost about who is who and why you should care. This movie has action, comedy and a unique blend of surprise, awe and sweet moments.

Leading you into the wild world of the Guardians of the Galaxy is self-titled Star-Lord, aka Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). This is an example of the film’s superb casting as Pratt balances the action hero – hence the bulking up – with the smooth charms of a kid who grew up to be a swashbuckling sweet-talker. Granted there are common elements of the womanizer in his character but it wasn’t his biggest character trait, thankfully.

Next you have the two voice stars of the movie, Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel); both fan favourites from the comics and audience favourites now that the movie is out. Cooper is vocally unrecognizable as the sassy snarl of Rocket. He even manages to convey heartfelt emotions alongside the beautifully rendered CGI raccoon.
Guardians of the Galaxy

Groot, as most people know, doesn’t have a huge vocabulary but his emphasis and timing when speaking coveys something of his meaning. The wow factor hits home when it comes to the animation. From the semi-realistic, smooth wood styled body, to his perfectly on point expression conveying the accidentally smart and loyal sidekick he is. You can’t fail to fall in love with Groot.

Drax the Destroyer (Arthur Douglas) is surprisingly funny, adding another dimension to the overall humour of the film. Being from a harsh, battle background, Drax is a powerful warrior who takes everything said literally, leading to some decent laughs. He’s not quite the star of the show but an integral part of the Guardians team who will likely come to the forefront in the announced sequel.

Lastly, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is the daughter/step-daughter/slave of Thanos (Josh Brolin). Her role in the story is largely to ignite the moral side of the other Guardians to help them save a world. Disappointingly she isn’t portrayed as being quite as tough as she is in the comic books and falls into a pseudo-love interest role. Saldana – a top actor in Hollywood at the moment – makes for a very good Gamora, balancing strength with kindness to good effect.

The villains of Guardians, Nebula (Karen Gillen) and Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), are simple villains who sweep dramatically through scenes exuding selfishness and evil intentions. They are fun villains but not noteworthy, perhaps because of their voices – Nebula in particular is so robotic and un-human. Thanos is left as a side villain. He orchestrates the events of the story but isn’t directly involved in them because his shining moments will be future Marvel movies such The Avengers: Age of Ultron/Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

If IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes are to be believed, this movie is as much a hit with the fans as it is with the critics and rightly so. It’s a superb action/comedy movie with a stellar cast and an outstanding soundtrack that perfectly frames the movie. In other words, you’ll love it.

★★★★★

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