Phase two 0f Marvel’s Cinematic Universe sees a move away from the Avengers gang and into the cosmos. Guardians of the Galaxy, the highly anticipated blockbuster from Super director James Gunn, is a tale of the anti-hero. Move over Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, there is a new group of even less conventional heroes in town… Well, technically, space.
Led by Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), the womanising, earth-born thief, the universe is in the hands of a bunch of crooks and no gooders. Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the green assassin, Drax (Dave Bautista), the vengeful convict, and Rocket and Groot (voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel), a pair of pretty unique bounty hunters, make up the fivesome who join forces in order to keep a powerful orb out of the hands of the villain of the piece, Ronan (Lee Pace), who is assisted by the very blue (in colour), Nebula, played by Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan.
Five minutes into Gunn’s action-packed epic, it felt very much like watching some sort of Star Wars meets Doctor Who mash-up, with added Gillan for good measure. The setting, the strange looking creatures, and high-flying spaceships; you could forgive me for thinking that JJ’s surprised us all and released Episode VII early. Bar from its similarities to other successful franchises, what is most striking about Guardians is just how funny it is. Whether it be Quill’s whimsical early opening dance sequence, or Drax’s very (very) literal attitude to life, it consistently brings the laughs, and more so than any other Marvel film to date. Pratt is superb – a strong, charismatic screen presence – and delivers the performance we had been promised, but he was supported well by a group of very interesting characters. The films personality – its charm, wit and silliness – can not be questioned, nor can the strength of its heroes, but there is still a looming sense that it has tried to bite off more than it can chew.
Fun loving, action packed, but extremely crowded: with so many central characters to involve, along with con men, bad guys and crooks seemingly coming from every corner over the universe to cause havoc, at times you sense the movie drowns under its own weight of epicness. It becomes hard to keep ones concentration when you lose track of what exactly is going on – with Guardians getting lost in its own hectic world – and fails to grab you, in regards to the dramatics, as other comic book flicks do.
As an introduction to the Marvel Cosmos, Gunn, Pratt and company should be pleased with their work. It is a a pretty enjoyable start – accompanied by one awesome soundtrack – and with a sequel already announced, Guardians of the Galaxy have built a solid platform to grow from, in terms of both its exciting characters and storyline, that you hope will be developed more extensively as time moves on.