The TLDR version of this review can be summed up as follows: OMG AMAZEBALLS.
For those of you with a longer attention span, read on for more detail…
@FrankDJS and I took my nephew to the cinema on Saturday while his parents looked after his newborn sister. It was a blatant distraction technique, and by God, it worked. It distracted us too – for a solid two hours, I was transported to a fun, fast-paced and technicolour world of Marvel comics heroes and villains.
I loved every minute.
Most films I’ve seen this year have had their slow points or scenes where, in order to drop in plot devices or character backgrounds, the pace dropped to a crawl. Not this film – it was full of self-referencing humour and just when you thought it was taking itself too seriously, a talking racoon would puncture the mood with a wisecrack.
If you’re not already familiar with Marvel’s space-basced team of oddball heroes, The Guardians of the Galaxy consist of Starlord (presented as a bit of wise-cracking, intergalactic Indiana Jones), Rocket (a racoon-looking result of some interesting genetic experimentation), Gamora (a green-skinned adopted daughter of power-crazed tyrant), Drax (a grief-stricken father and husband on the lookout for an opportunity to avenge the deaths of his family).
Oh and there’s Groot. A walking tree.
The film does take liberties with the comic stories, but it has to, just to avoid too much complexity and to ensure it appeals to cinema-goers with less than encyclopaedic knowledge of Marvel’s entire history of spaced-based fiction.
But really – you seriously don’t need to know anything about these characters, their histories or even comics. The film presents this from scratch, giving us another view of how the team comes together to address a shared threat. Take everything you know about the X-Men and the Avengers and bin it. This is a very different film.
With some inspired casting (Glenn Close?!), the film brings some of Marvel’s B-List characters into glorious action in a way that will leave you loving them more than a Wolverine or a Captain America could. It’s because they’re B-List that they’re so loveable. Nothing goes according to plan. Nobody gives them respect. They bumble through as best they can. They are outcasts from their respective societies, as far from the lantern-jawed Steve Rodgers as you could get.
There’s no flag-waving or patriotism in Guardians of the Galaxy, something that makes it even more fun. It doesn’t take itself seriously – this is a cast who are along for the ride and seem to be enjoying every minute.
Seriously – this has replaced Captain America: Winter Soldier as my favourite film of 2014 (so far). See it as quickly as your little legs can carry you to the cinema. The bigger the screen, the better. I’ll be going to see it again and buying it as soon as it’s available for download.
Well done, Marvel. If Ant-Man and Avengers 2 are anywhere as good as this, you’ll end up taking over Hollywood completely!