Viewed – 20 December 2014 online rental
Craig, take a breath, try not to be too gushy over this one. Ok, calm restored! This Marvel comic book adaptation has a human kid called Peter Quill who following the death of his cancer-stricken mother, is seemingly abducted by aliens – jump forward 26 years and he’s become a bounty hunter calling himself star lord who tracks down valuable items for the highest price. On one such mission he steals a sacred orb and soon a powerful warlord is on his heels as the orb carries with it great power. Yet star lord gets himself thrown in a high security prison after a ruckus on a neighbouring planet breaks out and before long he’s housed up with a rag tag group of outlaws – a green female assassin, a muscle-bound prisoner seeking revenge, a genetically engineered racoon (!) and a big tree / plant creature. Not your typical heroes.
After the usual plethora of sequels and comic book super hero movies that hit during the summer, this one flew for the most part under my radar, even though I always liked the look of it. Now despite the fine job Marvel have done with the likes of Iron Man, Captain America etc. this is going in a different direction. It has strong echoes of classic eighties genre piece Battle Beyond The Stars (remember that?) and for me felt a breath of fresh air in a summer that for a few years now has felt stale and stuck in a rut. With a very sharp script, some great characters (and great actors to play them) and a stand out Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, this just seemed to keep me grinning throughout. Add to this some great fights (the showdown between Zoe Saldana’s Gamora and Karen Gillan’s Nebula), flashy, exciting battles and several punch-the-air feel good moments (“you said it yourself bitch, we’re the guardians of the galaxy”) – this just surprised, impressed and won me over again and again. Chris Pratt as Peter Quill / Star Lord is brilliant, has a Hans Solo lovable swagger and some of the movie’s best lines and jokes (dance off man!), but the character of Groot (sort of voiced by Vin Diesel) is also a show-stealer.
I simply can’t praise this one enough – it played with clichés like weapons, had a truly brilliant soundtrack that had no place being in this sort of movie (really, the end credits are ‘I Want You Back’ by the Jackson Five? – Genius!). So hat’s off to Marvel and director James Gunn – this is one to be beaten.
Verdict: 5 /5