Marvel’s wildcard project, Guardians Of The Galaxy takes the Marvel Cinematic Universe off world and shooting for the stars. Brash adventurer Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) finds himself at the centre of a relentless bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb. This orb is also sought after by Ronan The Accuser (Lee Pace), a Kree fanatic who will stop at nothing to get it. To elude the clutches of Ronan, he’s forced to make a deal with four unlikely and desperate companions. First off there’s Rocket, an angry, homocidal gun-wielding racoon. Then we have Rocket’s muscle, Groot. He’s a tree-like humanoid. He’s deadly and could kill you in a heartbeat. Gamora is the adopted daughter of the Mad Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin) and adoptive sister to Nebula (Karen Gillan). She’s a trained killer and highly dangerous. Last of all, there’s Drax The Destroyer. He’s out for retribution against Ronan who killed his wife and daughter. Quill soon discovers the true power of the orb and that nobody can be trusted. They have to get it to the Nova Corps, before Ronan ends the world as they know it.
Guardians Of The Galaxy is unlike any other product in the MCU, television and film alike. It’s set entirely off world in space, other planets or Knowhere altogether. Marvel truly pulled out their wildcard with this movie. It’s an entirely new story having zero connection to the events happening on Earth with The Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D and co. Yet Thanos is a big deal, since he’s the one who gave the Chitauri to Loki in Avengers Assemble. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes don’t know that and Thor works out they’re being played at the end of Age Of Ultron with the emergence of the Mind Stone (in The Vision’s head). The introduction of the Mind Stone and Guardians Of The Galaxy are but a taste of what is come in Infinity War when the likes of The Guardians, The Avengers teams and even characters like Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel saddle up to take on the the Mad Titan.
Our first meeting with Mr Quill is when he first steals the orb, not knowing what it is or what it can do. All he knows is that it’s worth a whole lot of money. He’s a galactic scavenger which is a kinder way of saying space pirate. He’s working for his adoptive father and smurfy-looking Yondu (Michael Rooker) who was one of the original guardians in the 1960s era of the team. Quill enters a cave on a relatively uninhabited planet with the classic Redbone track “Come And Get Your Love” in the background. There, he encounters Korath The Pursuer, a son of Thanos. There’s a highly comical scene here, and it certainly adds to the vibrant comedic aspects of the movie.
Like many superhero teams, they find it difficult to get on from time-to-time. If you don’t believe me, ask Stark and Cap. But in this case, it was Star-Lord trying to stop others from killing each other. James Gunn (Super) and Nicole Perlman have constructed an origins story, and how these riff-raffers come together to stop Ronan (Lee Pace) from destroying the galaxy. And to do that, they need to stop Ronan from destroying Xandar. The ensemble are society’s outcasts and they’ve come together to try to do some good, by taking part in something that is bigger than themselves. The movie has many different characters and some would argue too many. Benicio Del Toro (Sicario) cameos as The Collector while Glenn Close (Damages) plays Nova Prime, the go-to-guy at the Nova Corp. Doctor Who alumni Karen Gillan is introduced as Nebula and has a great hand-to-hand combat scene with Zoe Saldana’s Gamora. Hopefully, we’ll see Nebula go rogue in Infinity War like in the comic.
It’s really hard not to love the Guardians, despite their imperfections. Rocket is consistently stressed. He merely wants to carry on stealing? Is that too much to ask? Saving the world is an inconvenience that he could do without. Gamora is this cold, hard emotionless person. She has a fierce exterior but in reality, she’s just as human as the best of us. She’s a trained assassin and that has an effect on a person. I understand why she appears soulless because shards of her moral compass and conscience have been chipped away over the years due to her constant shifts of moral judgement. Drax revels in violence and there’s more than one occasion when he has a laughing-fit whilst in a fist fight. Groot’s only line throughout the whole movie is “I am Groot” but he shows us that life is precious and the importance of family, in “We are Groot.”
The main characters are played incredibly well by the cast. Pratt (Jurassic World) was born to play Star-Lord. Star-Lord seems to be an intergalactic 007, minus the martinis. He’s a ladies man, through and through. Cooper’s voice performance as Rocket is out of this world. Seriously, there needs to be an Oscar category for Best Voice Performance and Best Soundtrack. Cooper would be up for the former as the emotionally conflicted racoon and the movie would be up for the latter in terms of music too. The soundtrack is one of the best I’ve heard in a long time. The characters are all relatable in some way and they show that you don’t need powers to be a hero. My favourite character has to be Gamora. How can you not like her? Right?
In conclusion, the movie shows some great uses of cinematography and production design. For example, the Knowhere scenes were very memorable as well as the prison scene. I must admit that costume, hair and makeup were the stuff of legend. Nova Prime and The Collector stole the hair category. Make up on Drax and Gamora is also something special but Ronan’s must have taken the best part of a day to apply.
The whole casts gave quality performances in addition to a great story from James Gunn and Nicole Perlman. Like most films in the MCU, the comedy and jokes were up to par with even the “12%” ongoing joke getting a mention when Star-Lord says he has part of a plan. He only has 12% in which Rocket replies with a forced hysterical laugh. This is one of the best movies in the MCU and one of the best comic book movies to date. You don’t need powers to be a hero. The Guardians proved that, and I can’t wait for the sequel next summer.
We’re the Guardians Of The Galaxy bitch!