As one of the most anticipated film releases of the year, Marvel’s latest blockbuster had a lot to live up to. I’m not normally a huge lover of sci-fi and superhero films but the trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy did draw me in. A star-studded cast and a huge following before its release meant that it was always going to sell a lot of popcorn but does it live up to all the hype?
The story follows Peter Quill or Star Lord (Chris Pratt) who is kidnapped by space pirates headed up by Yondu (Michael Rooker) just after the death of his mother. Years later, he steals a mysterious orb and is ambushed by Gamora (Zoe Saldana), adopted daughter of the titan Thanos. Their fight attracts two bounty hunters -a genetically engineered raccoon Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and tree-like humanoid Groot (Vin Diesel) but the group are arrested. Imprisoned in the Kyln, Quill reluctantly joins forces with his fellow captives to escape. Gamora is accosted by the powerful Drax (Dave Bautista) who threatens to kill her due to her connection to the evil Ronan who killed his family. After explaining of her disassociation with Ronan, Drax insists on accompanying the group as they escape. Gamora takes the group to Knowhere to Tivan the Collector who is interested in the orb. He reveals an Infinity Stone inside the orb which can harness enough power to destroy everything but the beings who hold it. As Gamora’s sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) joins Ronan in the hunt for Gamora and the orb, the film hurtles towards a dramatic emotional ending.
Guardians of the Galaxy has some of the best characters in sci-fi. The special relationship between Rocket and Groot was a bizarre but beautiful thing to watch. Both characters provided the bulk of the humour with Quill also chiming in every so often but they were also at the heart of some of the more emotional scenes. Saldana played Gamora as a no nonsense assassin, which was great to see in an all-action space drama. So many films set in this genre depict women as either minor characters or as frail beings who need saving. Quill is a very normal guy in a world where he doesn’t belong but in which he has to be the hero, which gave him a definite likeability factor. Even the initially frightening intimidating Drax became a loveable character who came up with some very funny lines.
It is a fast-paced action film that gets the balance between comedy and emotion just right. Not many dramatic films like this feature the level of comedy that it did but as a result, I felt more invested in the characters than I normally would do with a sci-fi. The sad moments resonated more with me because the characters involved had already made me laugh profusely. As a result, it was easily the best film of its kind that I’ve seen in a long time. The plot wasn’t the best in the world and it was definitely the characters that I came away from the film with. In fact, I had to remind myself of the actual plot before reviewing!
The twist at the end got me excited for the sequel and I’m disappointed to discover that it isn’t due for release for another couple of years yet. If you love your comic book films then it is a must-see, however there are plenty of elements in there for non-comic geeks too. Don’t be afraid that it won’t live up to all the stellar reviews that it’s getting because believe me, it does!