The Galactic A+ Team
Let’s not delay (though I have been returning from another galaxy for some time with this review), let’s not bullet time this review, let’s not beat around the astral bush, ‘The Guardians Of The Galaxy’ IS REALLY BLOODY AWESOME!!!!!! We could pretty much end it there (I’ll take no offence if you do), and for the greater part, that’s all you need to know. Not that I’m here to tell you how to feel or think, but if you don’t come out of James Gunn’s masterful class in film making feeling 7 years old again (in the belief that you are actually older than that whilst reading this), bright eyed and in awe of ALL the possibilities of adventures you could have in your life, you should call in sick tomorrow, and reassess your very being. Then go see the movie again. Your owe it to yourself, and future you.
They normally announce and show a few forthcoming trailers at the screenings they hold for reviewing movies. I thought that’s what was happening as a scene opened up on the screen before us. It took a few minutes of ’I wonder what this movie is’ to realise this was actually THE movie. A bit knocked off kilter, reset the auld brain to get into the galactic groove, only to be quickly drawn into an utterly devastating/heart breaking opening chapter. Like the majority of folk who will see this movie (and I REALLY hope it’s the entire planet/universe who does), I wasn’t massively aware of the trials and tribulations of team Guardians from the Marvel comic universe (they’ve been around in various guise/incarnations since the 69/70s). I saw them in passing, but never locked in.
That was one of the actual attractions for Gunn when picking up the project, he wasn’t interested in rebooting, ‘re-imagining’, nor doing a sequel to a property (though thankfully he’s on board to direct Guardians 2). He mentioned at a recent (hysterically funny) London conference for the movie that it was the freedom that Marvel/Disney were prepared to give him that was a huge draw. Well whomever made those decisions to invest in James should be given if not at least a promotion, enough money to basically retire forever now. I kid you not when I say this could and justifiably should be the equivalent of Star Wars (the original good ones), it’s timeless story telling/film making at it’s very best.
Of course there will be folk who won’t feel the same love for the work, and that’s unfortunate. If only putting on the 3D glasses had the ability to enable you to regress to a world of adventure friendly wonderment and naivety.
Returning to that opening highly emotive opening scene, a young Peter Quill is dealing with very difficult times. As with alot of folk in such times, the desire to just run away from the grief is immense. Only his wish comes through and ends up VERY far away.
We catch up years later with an older Peter (Chris Pratt) rockin’ his groove (on another planet) to a mix tape made by his mum, doing what he does best, inter universe cat burglary, without the actual cat like abilities. It’s not long before he finds himself in a bit of a tight spot, then again and again. ‘Lucky’ isn’t his middle name, but as he goes by the moniker of ‘Star Lord’ now, that’s probably for the best.
Events snowball as through various serendipitous events and out of necessity to actually stay alive, leads to the tenuous grouping of the Guardians. Star Lord, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (a genetically modified racoon voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Groot (‘erm a giant walking tree voiced by Vin Diesel, well ‘voiced’ in the sense he’s says one line, alot. He says it well though), every one of the actors outstanding in absorbing their characters and bringing them alive.
Unbelievably you fall in Love with this mongrel band of odd balls and misfits as they end up taking on the greatest darkness in the universe. You might as well aim high eh. The reason you fall for them is hugely down to how funny this movie is. Marvel have repeatedly done a very shrewd thing by relatively owning humour in their superhero canon. But this is by far the funniest. It’s not a farce though, there are very dark bits, devastating moments of emotion and such huge integrity permeating the entire movie in all facets. But each character gets their own screen time, so you get to know and genuinely care for them. It is stunning how much you will end up loving a talking tree.
It was another thing extremely evident in the London conference, the genuine love these actors have with each other, & the absolute joy they had making it.
It has echoes of tons of 80s films by Spielberg (without mimicking them) and other adventure gems that have been long forgotten but moulded alot of the adults who may be making Guardians today. There is an old school sense of awe and excitement, which is beautifully/stunningly rendered (the CGI is fantatsic, I can’t actually see this movie ever ageing), it’s intelligent and although follows a similar structure to other Marvel adventures, never boring or predictable.
As the norm, I’m not a huge fan of giving away much of the plot for a movie. That would remove all the adventure of what lays before you, but trust me, you’ll be saving for your jet boots from the second you walk out of the cinema, to get in line again to watch the next screening.
I could write forever on how good it all is. Suffice to say, I would have watched it ALL again immediately after the screening, and I will watch it many many times again in the future. The fact that James Gunn will make the second one restores my faith in humanity, and that heroes come from the most unlikeliest places. So movies transcend generations and times, this is 100% one of them.
‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ is out from Aug 1st