Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

I've mentioned before that when growing up I wasn't really into comics. I'd enjoy the odd Spider-Man and X-Men comic here and there, but never really saw it as a hobby. Still though, even without reading comics regularly, I at least knew about the big dogs in the comic-book world. From Green Lantern to Aquaman I had a general sense of who everyone was. However, one group of heroes I never heard of up until around two years ago were the Guardians of the Galaxy. First appearing in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 in 1969, they never really reached the status of being a household name, like Superman, Batman or Wolverine. This latest Marvel film offering bases itself on the second iteration of the team that was formed in 2008. But unlike most other reviews, the question shouldn't be “is it any good?”. Instead the question should be, “Which is the best Marvel film to date, Captain America: The Winter Soldier or this?”.

Directed by James Gunn and out now on Blu-Ray and DVD comes Guardians of the Galaxy, one of, if not the best, Marvel films to date. Instead of focusing on a lone rich/troubled man/woman who finds/is given a powerful gift like every other superhero film out there, Guardians of the Galaxy is essentially about a ragtag bunch of misfits that find a hero inside themselves. Though the group as a whole is the focal point of the film, our main hero is Peter Quill, a human who was taken by aliens when he was a young boy. Growing up in space isn't all Apollo 13 here though, as Quill is more Han Solo than Jim Lovell. The rest of the group comprises of Drax, a massive badass warrior, Gamora, personal assassin of Thanos (the big bad of Marvel's Phase Two film series), Rocket, a genetically altered raccoon that can speak, fight and dish out jokes and finally Groot, a large tree-like creature that can only say one sentence- “I am Groot”. This film basically brings our heroes together as they make a stand against Ronan the Accuser, a Kree fanatic that plans to obliterate the world of Xander. Compared to all the other Marvel films, on paper Guardians of the Galaxy sounds confusing, but it's all done so well that by the end you'll not only know who everyone is in this new unusual series, but you'll be dying to see more.

There are so many things I loved about Guardians of the Galaxy. From the cast, visuals, music and humour, it's just insanely fun from start to finish. The first thing that strikes you is that it looks completely different than every other Marvel film so far. There's no cameo by Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk or Hawkeye. There's no references as to what went down in The Avengers. Apart from hinting at the upcoming “Infinity War” storyline in The Avengers 3, Guardians of the Galaxy is pretty much a self contained story. This instantly makes it very interesting, as away from the Earth setting of The Avengers, there are copious amounts of weird aliens, space ships that look like they're from Star Wars, a wise cracking talking raccoon with the voice of Bradley Cooper, and an overall sense of a well constructed new, interesting universe. From the many real sets used to the CGI laden space battles, Guardians of the Galaxy just oozes slick style.

That said though, the true centrepiece of Guardians of the Galaxy are the cast and script. The guardians themselves are comprised of Chris Pratt, Zoe Salanda, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel and Dave Batista, and they all fit together so well. Almost every single character within the group plays extremely well off each other, and that's also thanks to the hilarious, cheesy and often sweet and moving script set in place here. From the opening scenes in which a young Quill watches his mothers final moments as she succumbs to cancer, the fantastic scene in which the group break out of a space-station jail and the many funny scenes when characters rub each other the wrong way, Guardians of the Galaxy juggles a lot of different moods and emotions. However, whereas most summer blockbusters might fail in doing that, Guardians of the Galaxy succeeds in leaps and bounds. 

Overall Guardians of the Galaxy is pretty much shoulder to shoulder with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, personally. It has action, heart, humour, excellent dialogue and a fantastic feeling of friendship and comradeship between its main cast. Buy it.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a must-see marvel and gets 5/5.


Denis Murphy

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