We all know the story by now - on the brink of bankruptcy Marvel decide the best way to save the company is to sell the movie rights to their most popular franchises (Spider-Man and X-Men). Then, with the popularity of Superhero movies, Marvel decide they want to get in on the game and start to utilise the best of what they have left. It’s a massive success story, Marvel have turned their B list heroes into A list celebrities.
This year Marvel took it a step further, they wanted to make their Summer ‘Blockbuster’ Guardians of the Galaxy. They’ve taken a gamble on a group of anti-heroes that most people have never heard of, the question is, has it paid off?
Guardians of the Galaxy starts with a young Peter Quill by his dying Mother’s bed side - it is one of the more solemn moments in the movie, without any comic relief from any of the leading cast. Running from the hospital he is immediately abducted, flash forward 26 years and we now see an adult Quill (Chris Pratt) about to embark on a heist. Putting on his headphones, attached to his Sony walkman, Quill proceeds to dance his way through an ancient cavern. These first two scenes set the tone for the movie perfectly, it’s James Gunn’s way of saying ‘There will be serious moments and sad moments in this film, but we’re not going to take ourselves too seriously’.
Many are saying Guardians is the Star Wars for this Generation, and it is hard not to compare the two. The first time we see Thanos is on a holographic screen, and you can only really make out his chin, very Emperor Palpatine. Lee Pace’s ‘Ronan the Accuser’ is equally akin to Darth Vader, both opting to wear black armour and speaking in very low tones. Add to this the comedic duo of Rocket and Groot, the R2D2 and C3PO of the Guardians’ world, and it’s easy to see why people are saying this. This is a good thing though, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all.
It’s got all the of the makings of a great Marvel movie, good script, brilliant acting (voice overs included), amazing action sequences and, most importantly, great cameos. Here’s the really interesting thing though, most of the time you won’t even realise you’re watching a Marvel movie. With no appearances from any of the well known, already established characters from the MCU, there is nothing tying this to the rest of the universe. That is until you meet Benicio Del Toro’s Collector of course, last seen talking to Lady Sif at the end of Thor: The Dark World, you get an even better insight in to his collection this time around.
The casting is superb and, rather obviously, Rocket and Groot steal the show. However, one of the biggest stand outs for me was Dave Bautista’s ‘Drax the Destroyer’, he manages to take a character that could have very easily been one dimensional, and add so much depth to it. The comedic timing on his comments are superb and his interactions with the team are brilliant.
Michael Rooker recently admitted he loves playing “d*cks you can’t help but like”, which perfectly captures his performance as Yondu, Peter Quill’s Abductor/Adopted Father. Yondu is a nasty piece of work but you can’t help but like him, and who wouldn’t want his weapon of choice, a whistle controlled arrow.
The biggest star of this show however, is Director James Gunn, he has pulled together this amazing cast and crew to create a movie that is equally as good as, and at times better than, The Avengers. This is a movie that under anyone else's watch could be brandished as too busy, or too crowded, Gunn manages to keep all under control though, and tells a brilliant story while doing so.
The soundtrack will rock your world, based on the mix tape Quill’s Mother gave him before she died, it’s full of 70’s Rock ballads and Funk songs. Coupled with the excellent 70’s and 80’s easter eggs throughout the movie, the soundtrack immerses you into Quill’s world.
There are two after credits scenes to stick around for, both are incredibly funny and worth watching. Don’t expect any appearances from your favourite Avenger though, as they are both firmly fixed in the realm of the Guardians.
Scoop or Poop?
Guardians of the Galaxy has done something truly amazing, it has taken a group of people we knew nothing about and made us care for them. At times it can be very familiar to fans of Sci-Fi or Marvel movies, but stands out on it’s own in a big way. From the Director, to the cast and the soundtrack, every inch of this movie is brilliant. It will make you laugh, cry, and most importantly believe a Tree can talk. This movie is well and truly worthy of the title of Movie of the Summer, if not Movie of the Year, and has cemented it’s place alongside (and ever so slightly above) The Avengers as Marvel’s best movie to date.