Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Space Outcasts

Outcasts unite in space, but whilst rebellious, they are also the good guys - right? No, I'm not talking about Firefly. Not everything is about Firefly (even if it should be). No, we are talking about the latest edition to Marvel's cinematic universe. This is Guardians of the Galaxy.

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) - abducted child turned space relic hunter - stumbles across a small metal orb in the ruins of a devastated settlement. It turns out that he is not the only one wanting to be in possession of the orb as he soon under attack from warriors working for Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), a green lady named Gamora (Zoe Salanda), a talking raccoon called Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and humanoid tree sidekick, Groot (Vin Diesel), and his old hunting partner Yondu (Michael Rooker). Also on his tail are the authorities and it is them who catch up with him first, as well as a cohort of his attackers. Thrown into maximum security, Quill, Rocket, Groot, and Gamora form an alliance in hopes of escaping to sell the orb on for 14 million units. Teaming up with Drax (Dave Bautista), a hulking beast of a man-type-thing who wants Ronan dead more than anything, the group begin to scheme together. But have they bitten off more than they can chew with this orb?

'Hands and... er... Leg up!'

On paper, the ensemble sounds like someone picked a lucky dip of actors and threw them at a screen. Henry the Serial Killer, a professional wrestler, Andy from Parks and Recreation, the voice of Darth Maul, and Oscar nominated Bradley Cooper as a CGI racoon. Not to mention Vin Diesel as a tree who can only say three words. And yet, miraculously, the pick-and-dip casting has led to one of the most fantastic ensembles assembled in a superhero film, giving even The Avengers a run for their money. Together the cast are not only hilarious but also hardcore action heroes, switching from dancing fools to rocket-shoe powered, gun wielding warriors in seconds. And throughout all the fun and laughter, there is a genuine heart beating at the core of the film. Bautista's Drax's broken heart over his murdered family leaves him screaming for revenge and best friends Rocket and Groot protect and love each other in a truly touching way. As the relationships grow - not just on screen, but between audience and character - we find ourselves caring deeply about these misfits and may even shed a tear as the film reaches its climax.

Rocket had wanted Groot to branch out, socially.

Whilst remaining, at its soul, a light piece of cinema, Guardians of Galaxy has achieved something that few films manage, even in the Marvel universe. Whilst other Marvel films have tugged at our heartstrings despite their humorous appearance, particularly the Iron Man series, Guardians have managed to take it a step further. James Gunn and Nicole Perlman's screenplay is endlessly funny with well developed characters that resonate with the audience and ensure that the emotional scenes hit home harder. Aesthetically, the film is at the top of its class with strong CGI characters in Groot and Rocket, but also with entertaining, action packed fight scenes from the beginning of film all the way through to the end, and an awesome mix of songs to create a funky, groovy soundtrack.

With something for everyone, Guardians of the Galaxy will go down a storm all over the world. While it is not a new masterpiece of cinema or anything revolutionary, it is likely to go straight into people's favourite films list. One viewing will not be enough.

Best Bit? The gang cause a major fuss in prison in their attempt to escape. Groot is too eager to execute Rocket's plan and the hunt for a guards ID arm implant and a metal leg become more of a manic war than a scavenger hunt.