Marvel, the purveyors of comics-based film franchises are at it again. The surprisingly long list of 2014 films based on Marvel Comics has just grown by one following today's premier of Guardians of the Galaxy (the earlier releases being Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past). And I have to say that Guardians stands tall amongst the seasoned franchises.
Guardians is a superhero movie capped with the cosmic adventure of Star Wars and the off-the-wall absurdity of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. It's a brilliant mixture that the audiences will love. The triumph of wills that's synonymous with superhero stories is not so much the basis of Guardians but the little that's needed is provided by the most unlikely bunch of superheroes you'll see since Kick-Ass.
Peter Quill/Star-Lord, played by Parks and Recreation star Chris Pratt finds himself the object of a manhunt after stealing an orb with the power to destroy entire planets. The orb is coveted by the villainous duo of Ronan and Yondu. Yondu issues a bounty for Quill's capture while Ronan sends Gamora (Zoe Saldana), an assassin, after the orb. Gamora's pursuit of Quill draws in more bounty hunters in the shape of a genetically-engineered raccoon (Rocket, who is voiced by Bradley Cooper) and a humanoid tree (Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel)…that's where the fun and farce ensues.
Half of the quality nature of the film is down to the stellar cast. The faces may not be fresh for a budding franchise and director James Gunn may be faulted for safe casting choices but the chemistry and experience for blockbusters among the actors definitely won out.
Chris Pratt takes up the lead role with absolute confidence. I was also impressed by the amazing and weathered Zoe Saldana who seems to be taking up any role featuring a weirdly colored alien woman. She never places a foot wrong and is carrying franchise after franchise (Avatar, Star Trek, Colombiana) to record-breaking box office numbers.
However, the star performers are the duo that don't appear in the flesh; Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. The pair who voice the two most intriguing characters in the movie provide the punch, comic relief and foil that this film needed to be a hit. Add names such as Djimon Hounsou, WWE's Dave Bautista and Benicio del Toro and I'd be hard-pressed to recall a better cast in a Marvel flick.
All in all, Guardians of the Galaxy is a worthy trip to take. It's fantastical, thrilling, delightfully loud with no shortage of laughs and most of all, charmingly retro. I give it a thumbs up. Remember, as is with every Marvel movie, there's a post-credit scene in this one as well, you don't want to miss it.
This review is courtesy of IMAX 20th Century