Guardians of the Galaxy review: It's this generation's Star Wars
It’s easy to be a fan of the space opera genre. After seeing the likes of Star Wars and Star Trek, one begins to wonder when the next Space Opera Adventure movie would arrive. One that isn't toned down for the kids or dumbed down for an easy cash grab.
With the arrival of James Gunn’s terrific Guardians of the Galaxy, space opera fans have a gigantic reason to cheer. Not only is Guardians among the year's most exciting and entertaining movies, but it is indeed the Star Wars for this generation.
Gunn, who directed and wrote Guardians of the Galaxy, must be one hell of a Marvel fan and comic book geek. He has followed up the half a dozen Avengers universe films and delivered a relatively unknown property in gloriously fantastic style. A typical hack job by someone like Michael Bay would be a hollow two-hour light show pretending to be a summer blockbuster. Guardians of the Galaxy is considerably more than that.
Gunn’s film is candy for Marvel fanboys while still managing to keep the newcomers glued to their seats. There are dozens of action sequences, all of which are kinetic and thrilling. A new creature or beautiful otherworldly space landscape is offered every five minutes and each one is more impressive than the previous one.
While the film may not bowl you over with its visual effects, it serves a barrage of laughs. Gunn deconstructed the superhero genre in his dark comedy, Super, and he takes it a notch further in this film. In this era of CGI tech and glut of superhero films, it's not enough to simply destroy a city at the end of the movie as a grand finale. Gunn is aware of this and so he gives his characters more importance than the numerous big money shots. The combination of sincere emotion, huge spectacle and a real sense of wonder and adventure is what makes Guardians so much more than a superhero movie.
These are the characters carrying the film: Star-Lord - a goofy but heroic human sucked into an intergalactic war. Gamora – an alien orphan assassin. Drax – a hulking badass who laughs manically. Rocket Racoon – a mean, snarky raccoon with a love for making and firing rockets at people who annoy him, and Groot, a lovable tree-like humanoid who can kick copious amounts of butt with his branch-limbs. They’re all bizarre and completely-mismatched, and the film milks this mismatched-ness to hilarious levels. They bicker, they fight, they punch each other in the face, but ultimately they realize that they need to stick together if they want to save their respective worlds.
In The Avengers, the big ‘assemble’ was one epic scene. But in Guardians, the assembly is fleshed out over the course of the movie and the conflicts between the characters are timed and woven around to perfection. That gives you a chance to understand the characters and ultimately fall in love with them. The other bonus is that the starting point in Guardians is a spectacle on the scale of The Avengers, which took took four previous origin films to culminate to that point. The effect is glorious.
It helps that the folks playing the heroes are so cool. Chris Pratt welds together the heroic suaveness of Indiana Jones and the goofiness of Andy Dwyer. Bradley Cooper spits sarcasm as Rocket Raccoon. He’s pretty much the meanest superhero we’ve seen. Gamora and Drax are ruthless in their own ways. It’s so great to see these people trample over the current notion of superheroes being broody, kind-hearted and overtly nice to everyone. They might be the Guardians of the Galaxy, but these guys don't play nice.
The villains are equally cool - Ronan (played by Lee Pace) is pretty scary to look at, Nebula (Karen Gilan) is pure evil and Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin) also makes an appearance. The minor characters like John C Reilly as a corspman, Michael Rooker as Yondu and Benicio Del Toro as The Collector are all fun as well. They'll probably all have more significant roles in the sequels (teasers from Guardians of the Galaxy 2 were shown at Comic-Con earlier this year).
With its many characters and landscapes, the universe imagined in Guardians is vast. Marvel continues to close the gap between the Avengers and the Guardians, and it’s insane to think of what we’ll get in the future. It’s not often that we get adrenaline, heart and humour rolled into one cohesive, iconic epic. And once the film is over, you’ll know the fun has really just begun.
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Updated Date: Aug 08, 2014 09:28:43 IST