Guardians of the Galaxy is Marvel Studios’ first expansion into the galactic spectrum of their film canon and it does not disappoint.
We’ve seen Marvel films venture off-earth in previous works such as the Thor films, though not to this scale. Guardians opens up a whole other seemingly-limitless universe for the filmmakers to play with. Some of the characters presented in the film are unlike any others seen before and it is a nice break from the regular standalone hero films Marvel has been producing to date. Guardians of the Galaxy is more in tune with the likes of Star Wars and other similar science fiction films where galactic adventures are involved.
In Guardians, the master thief Peter Quill/Star Lord (Chris Pratt) has been optioned to steal a very powerful gem known as an Infinity Stone. Upon claiming the gem, the universe is sent into chaos with various factions all after the gem and by default, Quill who is in possession of it. While there are several bounty hunters after the gem for various reasons, it is the evil overlord Ronan (Lee Pace), who under the service of Marvel’s new ‘big bad’ Thanos (Josh Brolin), has the most to gain from the power of the gem.
Quill eventually comes into the company of (his soon-to-be heroic supergroup) Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket and Groot (Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel) and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista). This motley crew of outcasts put aside their initial differences and join forces in order to protect and deliver the gem to the right hands once they realise its terrible destructive power.
Director James Gunn (Slither, Super) – with only two other small budget films under his belt prior to this, takes the Guardians source material and characters and expertly crafts a film to rival the best that Marvel has offered to date, including the super-popular The Avengers film. Under the direction of Gunn, Guardians strikes a near-perfect balance between humour and action within the formula we’ve come to expect from Marvel films. The film works brilliantly on all levels, except that it is fairly predictable. Though this predictability can be overlooked when all the other elements succeed in offering a pure, entertaining blockbuster feature.
The actors must also be awarded praise for their efforts in bringing their characters to life. All the characters appear to have been perfectly cast and Chris Pratt is especially charismatic in the lead role, with lots of excellent support from his cast mates. Each actor brings their own unique quirks to the roles they’ve been assigned, giving the Guardians in the film a diverse range of (often conflicting) personalities, leading to a great chemistry between them.
Guardians of the Galaxy is one of those films that can and should be enjoyed by everyone. Balance is the key to achieving a great blockbuster film like this one without being overly cliché and silly – and it is achieved. It has a great story, great cast, great (and memorable) characters, great 80’s soundtrack, is funny and charming and it all flows and gels together almost perfectly. Aside from some of the predictable plot points, Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the best Marvel features to date, which offers up a whole new world of characters for them to explore in the future, and the audience will lap it up.
The soundtrack album “Awesome Mix, Vol. 1” reached number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, the first film soundtrack ever to reach number one without a single original song. It was also nominated at the 2015 GRAMMY Awards for Best Soundtrack.