Marvel take a risk in adapting one of their lesser known comics, Guardians of the Galaxy (12A), for the big screen. Bringing us five brand new superheroes to love with a whole new universe to protect, do the Guardians live up to the previous Marvel successes?
What’s It About? In space, five misfit criminals unite to protect the galaxy when they realise that the villainous Ronan (Lee Pace) intends to destroy it once he gets hold of a powerful orb. Together wise-cracking Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Ronan’s former prisoner Gamora (Zoe Saldana), vengeful convict Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), and his tree sidekick Groot (Vin Diesel) must do everything that it takes to ensure the safety of the galaxy and its inhabitants.
Verdict? There was much apprehension when it was revealed that Guardians of the Galaxy was to be Marvel’s next big adaptation; in a world with Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, and Wolverine (to name a few) there was doubt if Marvel’s most unknown comic book characters would be up to scratch. Despite this, Guardians of the Galaxy ends up being a pleasant surprise from start to finish in one of the funniest and most entertaining Marvel movies to date.
Set to the soundtrack of a 1970s-80s mix tape, the film consistently oozes with tongue-in-cheek charm with a constant self-aware humour that balances out the occasionally-cheesy superhero conventions to create a smart, cheeky and well-rounded summer blockbuster without skimping on the comic book tone.
The five characters that make up the Guardians are a refreshing change to the usual superhero line-up. All five have their own personal motives and are mostly carrying out the mission with the hope of personal gain. Instead of being the usual savvy heroes who want to spread goodness and make the world a better place, the Guardians are incredibly flawed; they are selfish, self-motivated, gritty and a little bit stupid… And this is exactly what makes them so lovable and the storyline so enjoyable – they just seem real and this ensures that the plot isn’t just another recycled comic book story that we have already seen dozens of times before.
The strong mix of characters is greatly aided by the strong cast that bring them to life; although far from the usual A-List that you may expect from Marvel, the cast are second to none with leading man Chris Pratt especially excelling in the role of Peter Quill. It can be difficult to get a character right who’s constantly cracking jokes and goofing around without making the film look as though it is desperate to be funny, however Pratt brings a charisma to the character that makes the wise-cracking appear genuine and the vast majority of his plentiful one-liners generate big laughs from the audience with none falling flat and, most importantly, never getting tiresome.
On top of that, the visuals are flawless and mesmerizing. Setting the film in space really opens the door to some mind-blowing graphics which the VFX teams working with Marvel and director James Gunn really went all out on; the galaxy truly comes to life and is fascinating to watch with the 3D effects enhancing an already beautiful backdrop as well as throwing you into the midst of the action.
Final Words: It is clear to see that any apprehension following the film’s announcement was completely misguided and there were no better men for the job than James Gunn and Chris Pratt as together they pave the way for the most dynamic and original superheroes to date. The combination of a great cast, amazing visuals, strong characters and a brilliant, consistently hilarious script together creates what can only be described as the summer blockbuster of 2014!
Guardians of the Galaxy (12A) is in UK cinemas from 31 July 2014.