“Not another Marvel movie!” “There’s no way it can be better than Avengers Assemble!” “Who even are the Guardians of the Galaxy, anyway?”
Allow me to stop you right there. These are some phrases that have unsurprisingly been chucked around amidst a sea of anticipation for Marvel’s latest cinematic venture; Guardians of the Galaxy. But before you begin to ask yourself whether anything can top the last ‘team of superheroes’ movie (or indeed re-enact a hulk/Loki throw-down to signify that your preferred Marvel movie will always reign supreme), I ask you to discard all preconceptions and delve into a film where fun can truly be had, and the sarcastic and witty rule with an iron fist (and silly dancing). Guardians of the Galaxy may be the best Marvel film to date that features character that most non-comic book lovers will have never heard of.
Sufficed to say, the casting is suitably epic, and although the film doesn’t have the draw of more well-known action stars like other Marvel films, they actors involved give surprisingly accurate performances as their comic-book-turned-film characters. Pratt is every inch the ‘Star Lord’ and his dancing sequences are some of the funniest in the entire film, whilst Zoe Saldana proves she has a real talent for out-of-this-world characters, with her portrayal of the enigmatic Gamora being suitably ferocious and calculated at any given time. The comic element takes the shape of a racoon in the film, as Rocket is brash, sarcastic and witty with plenty of one-liners to keep an audience entertained; it would appear Bradley Cooper has found his calling. An especially notable performance comes in the form of the blue, robotic Nebula, who is portrayed by Doctor Who’s favourite companion Karen Gillan. In a villainous role, Gillan unexpectedly shines – with a little help from the CGI department, Gillan is engulfed by the role, and you can truly see the determination of the character carefully constructed on Gillan’s robotic features.
What is perhaps so refreshing about the film is its snappy, self-mocking nature – much like 22 Jump Street – the film openly criticises cheesy sequences and ridiculous typical sequences in films of the same genre (like the slow-mo walk down corridors), and this just adds more humour to a fun-loving film like this. It’s comforting to see that Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t stray into the stupid clichés and awkward scenes that so many action movies seem to include (and when it does, it mocks them and things don’t usually end up how you would think, stereotypically. This self-aware element is one of the most effective and appreciated in the film. Likewise, the abundance of pop-culture references is sure to leave any 80s fan frothing at the mouth, with a notably retro soundtrack that can’t help but transport you back to the feel-good era.
Indeed, never fear, there are plenty of in-jokes for older audiences and lots of references to Kevin Bacon to go around. Brimming with heart, and pure enjoyment at its core, this latest summer blockbuster definitely doesn’t disappoint, and although the boundaries of the film can sometimes descend into the manic and implausible, it is difficult to find any faults with the construction of the piece. There is enough true character and charm for the film to sustain its thrilling pace and finish comfortably within its 121 minute running time (take note, Hobbit series).
The Guardians may not be as well known as Marvel’s other dynamic heroes, but these defenders of the galaxy certainly prove that they can up the action and entertainment to out-of-this-world levels.