MOVIE REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

This review contains spoilers.

I have to admit that most of my knowledge about the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes from Tumblr. The only two movies I’ve watched all the way through are Thor and Thor: The Dark World. (I’m a fan of Norse mythology and Chris Hemsworth’s muscles don’t hurt at all.)

Having heard the rave reviews about Guardians of the Galaxy, I went to see it with my friend Catherine. If, like me, you know nothing about the original comics, the nuances of the plot can sometimes be hard to follow. Just concentrate on the big picture and you’ll be fine.

In 1988, after his mother’s death, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is abducted from Earth. 26 years later, he’s totally accustomed to life out in the galaxy, though he still keeps his walkman close by to play a mixtape from his mother. Quill has become a Ravager (a kind of space pirate).

Quill steals a fancy-looking orb thing and pisses off everyone everywhere. Yondu (Michael Rooker), the guy who abducted Quill as a child, finds out that Quill has taken the orb for himself and issues a bounty for his capture. Ronan, the Big Bad who wears mud like war paint, sends Gamora (Zoe Saldana) off to retrieve the orb.

Gamora tracks down Quill and steals the orb back. A genetically-modified raccoon called Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and a walking tree called Groot (Vin Diesel) have seen Quill’s bounty and get caught up in the fight while they’re trying to nab him.

Quill, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot end up in prison, which isn’t surprising, considering they were running around the streets and shooting/pummeling each other. They meet Drax (Dave Bautista), another inmate, who wants to kill Ronan for killing his family.

After escaping prison, they go off to find out what’s so special about this orb. Mayhem ensues and the Guardians fight to save the galaxy from Ronan. All of this is set to an awesome 80s soundtrack.

While a romance does inevitably begin to blossom between Quill and Gamora, it’s not sappy and it doesn’t detract from the story.

I was getting kind of annoyed at Quill’s conveniently-timed space abduction but there’s a throwaway line towards the end that clears that right up.

Other important things:

  • Apparently one of the Guardians is a seamstress because suddenly everyone has clothes to match Quill’s wardrobe. I like to think this seamstress was Drax
  • Chris Pratt gets SHIRTLESS and it’s excellent
  • Men out in the galaxy can come in all shapes and sizes but apparently women must remain humanoid and be generically hot according to our human standards. The only indication that they’re extraterrestrial comes from their pink, green, or blue skin and maybe some fancy gadget implants and maybe some fancy gadget implants like Gamora’s ‘sister’ Nebula
  • Benicio del Toro makes another cameo as the Collector, having appeared in the mid-credits scene of Thor: The Dark World. My brother informs me that this is one of the few tenuous ties to the other movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • Dancing Baby Groot is the best

I wasn’t raving about the movie when I left the cinema, which might have had something to do with the dude next to me, who laughed so hard at every vaguely funny line that he basically climbed into my lap like a koala. If he hadn’t been thrashing around and putting me in physical danger, I might have been able to relax and enjoy the movie more.

 

The verdict 

Even if you can’t keep up with the many characters or the various different worlds they visit, there’s some laugh-out-loud humour and general good-natured fun. There are also tantalising references to backstory and deeper history for fans of the comics. Any superhero fan is sure to enjoy this movie.

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