Ever since they produced Iron Man in 2008, Marvel has been actively producing movies based on their iconic comic books, some of which have made for enjoyable and memorable movie viewing such as Thor, and The Avengers amongst others. Given the fact these movies have largely been successful, it was only a matter of time before the rest of the superheroes and comic books from the Marvel universe made their big screen debut. The latest cinematic offering from Marvel being The Guardians of the Galaxy – a movie adaptation of the popular Marvel comic book franchise of the same name.
Guardians of the Galaxy tells the story of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) who lives on a distant planet after being abducted as a child by a group of aliens from the earth. Cut to a few years later, as an adult Quill has laid his hands on a mysterious orb retrieved from a deceased civilization. The Orb is believed to possess destructive powers and hence everyone is in pursuit of it and hot on Quill’s trail, including his boss and mentor Yondu Udonta (played by Michael Rooker). By a twist of fate , Quill is arrested by the Government forces and imprisoned wherein he comes in contact with several aliens such as Gamora (Zoe Saldanha), a tree like creature named Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Drax ( played by former WWE Superstar Dave Bautista) and a smart talking raccoon named Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper ). Quill joins forces with these unlikely creatures and embarks on a mission to retrieve the Orb and yes you guessed it right – save the galaxy from destruction. They must also ensure that the orb does not fall into the hands of the bad guy Ronan the accuser (Lee Pace)
To be honest, before I embarked to watch the movie I had zilch idea about this particular comic book franchise. Hence I didn’t know what to expect from the film except for an entertaining superhero film as promised by its promos. And I must say the film delivers to a large extent on what it promised.
The film doesn’t spend unnecessary time in flashbacks and establishing the backgrounds of the protagonists and gets going with the main story from a very early point of time. Since the plot revolves around unique extraterrestrial characters and galaxies located far away from the world, there is a lot of scope for the makers to give us some eye catching visuals and stunning frames. And the film makes the maximum use of this by giving us some great visuals of faraway galaxies to ogle at coupled with some great visual effects and action scenes.
Guardians of the Galaxy has a classic underdog premise where in a bunch of misfits must stick together and save the galaxy from imminent destruction and emerge as unlikely heroes in the end. This is what sums up this film in a nutshell. But the film coupled with some well written dialogues, some spontaneous voiceovers, and hilarious banter between the lead characters makes for some really enjoyable viewing and big screen fun in the process. Thematically Guardians of the Galaxy is less darker and more lighthearted in nature compared to some of the other Marvel comic franchises such as Hulk, Iron Man etc thereby making the film more enjoyable. Blame it on Christopher Nolan. Ever since he made The Dark Knight, many superhero films worth their salt have tread into dark territories to fight the demons of the past rather with lesser success. Thankfully in this film, there are no allusions to a dark, tragic past of the characters nor are there any demons of the past they have to fight with. The protagonists in the film have a single point agenda – retrieve the orb and save the galaxy from imminent destruction ensuring a rather enjoyable movie watching experience for the audiences.
The film also makes quite a few references to the pop culture of the 70’s and 80’s with some references to the Kevin Bacon starrer Footloose. There is also a subplot about Quill having a Walkman (yes the one equipped with large headphones for playing audio cassettes and was an important part of the generation which grew up during the late 80’s and 90’s) given to him by his mother. This gives the makers to insert a couple of retro pop numbers and evoke nostalgia rather effectively.
Aided by a well written role and some hilarious one liners, Chris Pratt is immensely likeable as the goofball, unlikely superhero hilariously referred to as Starlord by his other team mates. Quill has to be one of the best written superhero characters seen in a Marvel film in recent times. By now Zoe Saldanha has become adept at playing roles that cast her as a creature belonging to a different planet with a rather different skin tone and pigmentation. This film is no different and she does a rather efficient job. Bradley Cooper has done a rather swell job with the voiceover of Rocket – the raccoon and has a good number of standout moments in the film and so does Vin Diesel. Though Vin Diesel does not have many lines as the tree shaped alien Groot, yet whenever he says ‘I am Groot’ it will make you chuckle. Dave Bautista shows some good comic timing as Drax – a monster having a good grasp of the vocabulary but struggling to make sense of the metaphors being spoken around him. Michael Rapaport as Yondu seems to be having a lot of fun spouting clichéd one liners and playing a mean character with a comical streak .Glenn Close, John C Reilly and Djimon Hounsou don’t have much of a role to play in the film and seemed to have done the film only for the paycheck. Benicio Del Toro who was introduced as The Collector in the end credits of Thor 2 once again appears in the film although he doesn’t have much to do in the film. The film however hints at him playing a bigger role in the imminent sequel of this film.
Sadly the villain of the piece, Ronan the accuser played by Lee Pace is ineffective. Partly due to being saddled with character which is half baked and one dimensional and the actor is also not able to make much of it. The film also drags at quite a few places and if you are not well acquainted with this particular group of Marvel superheroes, you may feel lost out at times like I did with regards to all the mumbo jumbo the characters talk about with regards to the oddly named galaxies, the characters inhabiting it and the powers, gadgets they possess etc.
Like many of the recent Hollywood blockbuster releases, the film does no justice to the 3D technology. The 3D version of the film is thrust upon us just as a ploy to cash in on the 3D frenzy. When will the studios stop abusing the 3D technology by using it blindly in every big ticket release and not make a mockery of the technology and the audiences is a thing which I fail to understand.
To sum it up Guardians of the Galaxy is yet another enjoyable movie offering from Marvel. Aided by some splendid visuals, good acting and some great visual effects, the film ensures that you will have a largely good time spent at the cinemas. And yes do yourself a favour by not opting to watch it in 3D and settle for the good old 2D format which will make for more enjoyable viewing.