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TAC Reviews...Guardians of the Galaxy

 

Released in 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but its links are a little tentative. We see a few characters that appeared in the other films, specifically it is the ending of Thor: The Dark World which probably has the closest link to this film. But having said that we also see Thanos who was glimpsed at the end of The Avengers Assemble when it is reported that the attack on Earth failed. This film stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, and the voices of Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Poster

 

You know as I’ve been reviewing these Marvel films I am noticing a certain pattern to them, and they all seem to be starting with a flashback, I bring this up because…

 

Twenty-six years ago, after seeing his mother die, young Peter Quill is abducted from Earth by a group of pirates led by Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker). We then skip ahead, well twenty-six years ago, and see the now grown up Quill (played by Chris Pratt) as a kind of interstellar tomb raider, stealing an orb from a planet and fighting off a rival group that includes Korath (Djimon Hounsou) who wants the orb for their ruler Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). Quill escapes with the orb and attempts to sell it but Gamora (Saldana) steals it and a fight between the two occurs drawing the attention of two bounty hunters Rocket, a racoon voiced by Bradley Cooper and a Tree-like creature called Groot voiced by Vin Diesel.

 

The group end up fleeing to Knowhere after the authorities on the planet they are on begin to hunt them down. Whilst there a man that has a vendetta against Ronan named Drax (Baitista) gets drunk and calls Ronan to him where he [Drax] is easily defeated and nearly killed.

 

The orb is opened revealing an Infinity Stone within it, and it is this infinity stone that Ronan wants so he can regain power, take over the world, destroy all life, I can’t honestly remember but suffice it to say he wants to do something dastardly.

 

With no other option Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot have to team up to take down Ronan, warn the authorities that are hunting them down, and take on Quill’s former group of pirates who are a little angry that he has gone rogue.

 

When I first heard that this film featured a racoon my eyebrow immediately arched, I wondered how a racoon could be in a film and possibly taken seriously. However, I have to say that I really liked the character of Rocket, and like Seth Rogan voicing Paul in Paul it is a voice that fits the character really well. Like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings the CGI for Rocket is really good so you do think that you are watching an actual racoon that talks, shoots guns and is a badass in his own right.

 

Groot is also a highlight, he only says “I am Groot” but it is surprising how many variations there are on the way he says it to convey different emotions. He is a lovable idiot that for some reason is fiercely loyal to Rocket and as the film progresses the rest of his new friends.

 

The truth is that everyone here is on fine form from

 

I hadn’t seen Chris Pratt in anything before (even though he was the voice of Emmet in the Lego Movie I still did not really know who he was) but I really liked his portrayal of Quill, I think the fact that he refers to himself as Star-Lord is one of the best running gags because no one else calls him that and when someone finally does he is clearly delighted that the nickname seems to be finally catching on. Like Thor: The Dark World the tongue in cheek humour fits in well with the events of the film and even the distraction that Quill uses in the film’s climax is worthy of Kryten from Red Dwarf when he asks if “[he] might just distract you for just a brief second” but doesn’t take away from the life-and-death situation the characters have now found themselves in, hell, one of their number has already died in the lead up to the final battle.

 

Quill and his friends are kind-of a rogue’s gallery and Quill himself has a rapport with some of the authority figures on the planet (including John C. Reilly) of Xandar which is the Capital World of the Nova Empire. Thankfully we don’t have people in authority who are as thick as pig shit and when Quill warns them that Ronan the Accuser is on his way to attack the planet, the authorities actually do something, they prepare a fleet to engage Ronan’s ship, Quill’s former band of pirates also join forces with the authorities to bring down their mutual enemy.

 

Like Thor: The Dark World there really is not a lot to dislike about the Guardians of the Galaxy, and honestly I am hard pushed to think of bad points. The environments are creative and because we have gotten away from Earth the sets can be far more interesting. The Knowhere looks like a fully functioning city and here we get the link that we saw at the end of Thor: The Dark World when we see the Collector played by Benicio del Toro and again we glimpse the Tesseract when Quill and Co are informed what the orb contains and how dangerous the Infinity Stone is.

 

Fleshing out the characters is also done really well and even finding out how Rocket was changed into what he is actually makes you feel for him. That’s right, you feel for a computer generated racoon as he describes how he was experimented on before he escaped and found Groot.

 

I think the only thing that I am not sure about regarding this film is exactly how it links with the established films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, okay fine we catch a glimpse if the Tesseract, and of course we saw the Collector at the end of Thor: The Dark World which does link it in with the Avengers but are we really going to see the Guardians of the Galaxy meeting the Avengers?? I am not really sure how that is going to work, I have accepted the Marvel Universe has real Norse Gods, I have accepted that Tony Stark lives in New York and so does Spider-Man who is set to appear in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War and yet we have never seen the two together, I have accepted that Thanos might try and go after Earth when from what I understand he consumes entire galaxies. Thor is a God, surely he is going to be more powerful than Thanos, but I honestly don’t know how it would be possible for the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers to appear together in a film so why link them together??

 

We have seen that Tony Stark is terrified of what could come at Earth from the void of space around them, but here we see that there are numerous forces that have space-worthy military vessels so if The Avengers ally with them, or better yet gain some of their technology then Tony Stark wouldn’t have much to worry about any more. I have to admit it would be interesting to see Steve Rogers aka Captain America out in space with Iron Man and Bruce Banner, however, I don’t really how it would really work without too many conflicting personalities and characters vying for screen time.

 

It is a small gripe I admit yet at the moment I don’t know how this film will be linked to The Avengers without it being just passing references.

 

Also whilst this film also has the now traditional bit after the credits scene, in this film the post-credits scene is absolutely pointless. It is ridiculous and will leave you with a confused frown on your face. Again it is just a small gripe but it was a little annoying.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy is a good addition to the Marvel Universe even if I am not sure how it is going to link in with the established film canon. Chris Pratt is great fun, and the cast seem to be enjoying themselves so I am really looking forward to seeing Guardians of the Galaxy 2 which is due for release in 2017, so as a final verdict my Thumb is inevitably Up.

 

 

8/10 – A great addition to the Marvel Universe even if I cannot really see how this could link to the Avengers film without the audience being overwhelmed by so many larger than life characters and wouldn’t that raise a few question like: Why doesn’t the Hulk just kick Thanos’ arse??

 

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© Chris Sharman