And so we are introduced to Marvel studio’s latest blockbuster offering, Guardians of the Galaxy. Directed by James Gunn (Slither, Super), and adapted from mastermind Stan Lee’s series of comics launched in 1968 and again in 2008. Revolving around an unusual band of characters – even by Marvel standards – our guardians of the title are the losers and the weird; the ones too insignificant to trigger SHIELD’s interest (for now at least!). But banded together, this diverse team bunch together to produce, in my eyes, the best film of 2014 so far!
After a sombre bit of scene setting, we are one-by-one introduced to our unlikely heroes. Here’s the line-up: Peter ‘Star Lord’ Quill, the loveable treasure-hunting rogue (think interplanetary Indiana Jones), Gamora; the lovely-yet-lethal, green-skinned adopted daughter of the enemy. Drax; muscular convict and eloquent poet in one, Rocket the Racoon; gun-wielding, foul mouthed and furry. And last but not least, the ent-esque Groot; he is Groot.
Now for readers unfamiliar with these characters, I know what you’re thinking. “More wrathful green aliens? A talking Racoon? A walking tree?!” Eclectic they may be, but the dynamic between these characters born planets apart is utterly fantastic. Whilst, no doubt, their introductions are swift – Gunn having no luxury of multiple solo films to establish a back story here – Guardians does a brilliant job of familiarising audiences with a plethora of characters in just a handful of scenes and some helpful prison guard dialogue.
The star-studded cast behind these personalities can only further oil an already slick machine. Starring Chris Pratt, Zoey Saldana, Dave Bautista and the voice talents of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel to form the big five, plus appearances from Glenn Close, John C. Reilly, Lee Pace, and Michael Rooker; there’s no lack of star power in this galactic quest. With this fantastic casting of both major and minor characters, you can’t help but be enthralled by these familiar faces amongst such exotic backdrops. Futuristic cities, mining communities afloat organic matter in space, beautiful swirling cosmic dust – this film is truly a treat for the eyes amid all the action.
And talking of senses; the soundtrack. Wonderful, wonderful music. It’s been a long time since I have emerged from watching a film with such a mighty need for the soundtrack there and then to drive home to. Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” makes for one instantly superb and definitely unforgettable character intro for the scoundrel Peter Quill. His ‘Awesome Mix’ of popular 70s hits sets a wonderfully mischievous tone for the film, whilst somehow anchoring a little bit of normality to his character amidst all the (teasingly self-aware) absurdity around him!
Our heroes are brought literally kicking and biting together by their discovery of a mysterious orb, and the mutual lure of fortune and glory. Their quest transforms into a mission to prevent the relic from falling into the dangerous hands of villain Ronan, the menacing blue-skinned Kree alien, brought to life by Lee Pace. Can our guardians overcome their differences and learn to work as a team? I think we all know the answer. But what captivates here isn’t the where or the when. The interactions between these bizarre outcasts, along with Quill’s charismatic Average Joe persona amongst the weirdness, is what makes this film so special, and a really refreshing entry to the comic book adaptation arena.
Fantastical? Yes. Daft? Maybe. But we all need a bit of escapism, and this is the perfect film to achieve that; whilst also partaking in one adrenaline-fuelled, laugh-laden and furiously charming adventure.
Guardians of the Galaxy is in cinemas now.