Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel
No Spiderman, Captain America, or Fantastic Four here. Marvel’s latest tentpole film is taken from a semi-obscure title from the ’70’s that was briefly revived in 2008 and gained cult status – Not exactly the kind of material that one would choose for a potential summer blockbuster, right?
One of the luxuries of filming a little-known source is that if you screw it up, no one will notice. Or care. Then there is the messy problem of introducing all the mythology and back story found in the comics to a film audience. In my humble opinion, they pulled this off pretty well. I’m easily confused by this sort of thing ordinarily but even I found it easy to follow.
So somewhere deep in the universe, there are two races – the Xandar and the Kree – who are locked in conflict. Enter former Earthling Peter Quill, the self-proclaimed “Star-Lord”, who finds a magic orb (the classic Marvel Films MacGuffin- there’s always an orb, or a cube, or some powerful little trinket). Quill just wants to sell the darn thing but then there’s Ronan , a Kree warlord who wants the orb (so he can gain the ultimate power in the universe, duh). When the Xandarians throw Quill in jail, he surrounds himself with a ragtag group consisting of Rocket Raccoon, Groot the tree, and bounty hunter Gamora (Respectively, Cooper, Diesel and Saldana). Naturally they escape the prison and slowly forge a bond as they attempt to regain the orb and keep it out of the hands of Ronan…Many fight scenes and space battles ensue….
Well, you get the idea. Yes, this film is largely fluff and there’s barely an original idea here to be had, but boy was it fun. The characters lack the depth and personality of, say, Tony Stark or Bruce Banner. The exception is the always delightful Chris Pratt (Parks and Rec, Moneyball, Zero Dark Thirty) who captures the proper mix of bravado and self-deprecating charm as Peter Quill, whose spaceship is outfitted with a cassette deck so he can play the ’70’s mixtapes his mother left him. (The soundtrack is either awesome or cheesy as hell, depending on your view of ’70’s AM radio hits, but never boring). Cooper and Diesel are amusing as the raccoon and his buddy the tree. IMO Zoe Saldana is in real danger of being typecast as a grim-faced warrior and this film does not help that.
All in all. a fun romp that should put a goofy grin on your face as you leave the theater. Not exactly Citizen Kane, but it wasn’t intended to be.
Grade: B Plus