Guardians of the Galaxy is an Action-Packed Laughathon

Ensign Lestat's Film Log, 23/08/2014

I've never heard of the 'Guardians of the Galaxy'. Never met them in the comics I read, and wasn't even remotely interested in the film when all the hype began. I wouldn't even have gone to the theatre to watch it if I hadn't felt so starved of films and if the family didn't suddenly decide to make an evening of it.

Begrudgingly I bought the tickets. We ended up going to one of the theatres I'm not fond of because most other places were sold out. And then the seats I chose weren't the best (it's hard to make out online). But the family were in a good mood, and no one complained, so the movie began.

It starts off in 1988, on Earth. We meet young Peter Quill, on what turns out to be the worst day of his life. Fast forward 20 years later, and we're in a galaxy far away, where the grown up Quill (Chris Pratt) is in the middle of a theft. Things go sideways quickly when he's intercepted and then his buyer freaks out at the mention of who else is interested in the item - Kree lord Ronan (Lee Pace), a particularly nasty piece of work hellbent on destruction.

Quill soon ends up in a fight with Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel). They all get arrested and thrown in jail. This leads them to form an uncomfortable partnership with each other as well as Drax (Dave Bautista).

A hairy escape from prison later, they try and sell the item again. Yet again their attempts are thwarted and the item ends up with Ronan. The unlikely band decide that they have to take down Ronan and save the galaxy and go off to what seems to be the centre of the galaxy Xandar.

Needless to say, it all ends well and there will be a part two - the credits said as much.

As I've said, I was not in the least enthused by this film, but, despite my reservations, I ended up enjoying this film a little too much. Yes, the bizarreness takes a little getting used to, but it becomes fun and exciting soon enough. Chris Pratt has taken the world by storm, and while I don't think he's extraordinarily great looking, he is pleasing to the eye, has brilliant comic timing and easily draws the audience in. I loved Rocket for his hysteria - Cooper does a fabulous job. The five main characters all have distinct and unique personalities and the actors all play their parts well, introducing athletic action with comedy.
They got the weird part down pat.
Director James Gunn definitely was handed one of the toughest tasks of all the Marvel directors. Bringing together such eccentric characters in an equally eccentric universe could easily have fallen flat. But what makes this film unique is that it doesn't take itself too seriously. Actually, it's not serious at all. The one point when I thought it was going down the same old trope, the film turns it upside down and makes the moment hilarious.

Also, the jokes were related to regular Earth culture (because of Quill) and that just made the film far more relatable.

All tense moments in the film are expertly cut by some hilarity. Having said that, however, for a fun, feel-good film as this one, the death toll is disturbingly high. Two scenes stand out in my mind in particular, probably because we were given a chance to meet some of the characters that were then destroyed.

The film is also chock-a-block with familiar faces, many of whom have insignificant screen time. This includes John C. Reilly (not a fan, but what's he doing here anyway), Benicio Del Toro (The Collector was introduced in 'Thor: The Dark World' and I was convinced he was going to be the central antagonist of this film. But he wasn't, he only had a tiny role that cemented the quirkiness of this universe), Glenn Close (as Nova Prime she actually doesn't get to give any orders or do anything significant), Josh Brolin (as Thanos. Who cares about Thanos. I just don't find him that interesting) as well as Djimon Hounsou (terrifyingly brilliant as Korath, but with so little to do). The cast is too huge, which seems really unnecessary.
The film has its flaws, for sure. But it's just so much fun. I laughed out loud several times and kept on laughing well after the film was over. The post-credits scenes don't actually progress the storyline, but the film itself leaves a few questions open, giving us enough of a hook to watch part 2.

Gunn seems as odd choice for director for a blockbuster, sci-fi comic book film, but he certainly knows how to make an entertaining film. The set production and CGI is spot-on. I'm not sure if the film looked any better in 3D, but it was fine in 2D as well.

This film is a true surprise. It's refreshing and relaxing. It might divide audiences, especially those who are not fond of comic book franchises to start with. But, then, why would you go and watch this film in the first place?

I look forward to watching this film again when it's out on bluray. It's definitely the kind of film you'll cuddle up with when life is getting you down.
Time to cheer up - Dancing Groot


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