Up until the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s movies have mostly stuck to the semi gritty aspect of their characters while throwing in a spattering of humour where needed. Guardians changed this by doing the inverse, by making a fun, somewhat witty movie, and adding in small amounts of heart and soul to rein the viewer back in with a sense of reality every so often. The opening scene itself, where a young Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is at the bedside of his dying mother, tugged at my heartstrings a little only to have him abducted by an alien spacecraft. Cut to Quill’s adult life and he is singing and dancing his way through an alien world looking for an artifact in which he has been hired to find. This is providing an insight in to not only how Quill has evolved and survived in the vast reaches of space, but also in to the what sort of movie we can expect from director James Gunn.
Through all the shenanigans of Quill retrieving the artefact (later to be identified as one of the Infinity Stones) you encounter the rest of the main cast: the daughter of the MCU’s big bad, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the odd couple Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel), and the vendetta holding Drax (David Bautista). The viewer quickly learns how well the dynamic is played out amongst the cast within the first few moments of them meeting. With the in-fighting, quick one-liners, and action sequences so over the top in both choreography and colour that you cannot help but enjoy.
It’s not too long in to the movie you are first introduced to the movies main villain, Ronan (Lee Pace), who is sent by Thanos (Josh Brolin) to retrieve the Infinity Stone from the guardians. This is one aspect that many of the MCU movies suffer from, an almost one dimensional villain that is hard get behind. It is discovered virtually straight away that he does not plan to return the stone to Thanos, but instead keep it for himself and use the power for his own gain. That’s about where his detail ends. Granted the movie is not about him, and more of the birth of the Guardians as a team, but Marvel villains tend to fall flat. In fact, the secondary ‘villain’ of the film Yondu (Michael Rooker) has more motivation and charisma as a character. Yondu is tasked to bringing Quill back to his father and spends the entire film chasing him down. Yondu even ends up briefly working with Quill and the Nova Corp, which is headed by Nova Prime Irani Rael (Glenn Close), to bring down Ronan and his destruction.
The final confrontation is one that shows ultimately shows that working together can overcome even the greatest odds. In this sense it is the Guardians putting their differences aside to work together to take down Thanos and take the Infinity Stone from his grasp. It reels in the jokes for a moment to bring back the serious tone from the beginning of the movie, to have you realise that there is still heart to this fun and over-the-top romp. Buildings and lives are destroyed, Groot has been reduced to a pile of twigs, and people are fleeing in terror as everything is still falling down around them.
Guardians is well paced, with the writing and directing creating a fantastic atmosphere for the film to be enjoyed. The sound track is one of the biggest components for making this movie come together; all the tracks being that of the tape that Quill’s mother gave him on her death bed. They really set the tone in the build-up in every scene. The team of actors that have been assembled bounce off each other in a way that feels like they’ve been working together for far greater a time and the animation work deserves far more praise than it has received. The emotion they were able to convey with both Rocket and Groot, and the design of the other worldly destinations were phenomenal. This is a movie that anyone can enjoy, and if you are yet to, I implore you to do so now that the much anticipated sequel has been released.
Watch the trailer below: