Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Glenn Close, Benicio Del-Toro (Rated M 121 min).
Audacious, clever story-telling enhances not your average superhero movie from the endless world from Marvel, a complete surprise and relief at the same time. Outrageous science-fiction subversive comedy is key, as is likable unfamiliar characters who are all a mixed bag of personalities who just make this movie work.
Chris Pratt is hilariously cynical as Peter Quill, or as he likes to be known, Star-Lord, the human unofficial leader of an improvised assault team of alien misfits who in extraordinary circumstances, are front and centre to save the universe. Quill was abducted from Earth as a child after a significant sadness in his life, growing up he becomes a thief and after a cool opening scene reminiscent of the classic, Raiders of the Lost Ark.
After taking a possession of a mysterious silver Orb, it sends out alarm bells to other thugs around the universe and indirectly sets up the meeting of these bunch of would-be heroes. Now calling themselves ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ to the bemusement of space-police, conflict from a variety outside intergalactic malignant villains are constantly on their trail, but from a fun perspective these Guardians are experts at escaping from their clutches by working together despite the bickering. Quill is the likable rogue similar to Indiana Jones. Groot, a talking walking tree is my favourite, however Rocket, a trigger happy, smart mouthed raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper gets the most laughs.
No stranger to massive blockbuster hit films having appeared in the biggest of them all (Avatar) and the Star Trek reboot, Zoe Saldana gives feminine power to Gamora, while rock and roll wrestler Dave Bautista shows superior comic timing as the verbally confused, Drax. Actually the odd casting choices are perfect all round, including Glenn Close (Dangerous Liaisons) sporting a bee-hive as Nova Prime. With its very own back-story, a mix-tape on cassette played by Quill on his precious walkman is a string of retro pop songs over the soundtrack and another part of the diverting nature director James Gunn has delivered.
Ironman or Thor may not make an appearance, however for wide-eyed fans of previous Marvel installments there is a plethora of references mostly in the background and of course a cameo from comic creator, Stan Lee. Stay on after the end credits for one of the most unusual extra scenes to date, unless you’re familiar with a certain box-office flop of 1986. Here is a clue. Quack.
Shane A. Bassett