Film Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (James Gunn, 2014) ★★★★★

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Following the death of his mother in 1988, Peter Quill (Pratt) is abducted from Earth by The Ravagers and embarks on a new life as the Star Lord. Twenty-six years has passed and whilst treasure hunting on an uninhibited planet, Quill finds a value orb only to be interrupted by Ronan's henchmen, triggering a fanatical fight to unlock the orb's power and a story of good vs. evil. Soon Quill is joined by an unlikely crew in the form of a raccoon with a New Jersey accent and an attitude, Rocket (Bradley Cooper); a root plant named Groot (Vin Diesel), brick-shit-house, Drax, (Dave Bautista) and Thano's adopted daughter, Gamora (Zoe Saldana).

"You're just like Kevin Bacon"
Marvel are back with another mega-budget creation but this time it's in the form of a masterpiece. Saturated with references to 80's classics such as Flight of the Navigator, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Flash Gordon and Back to the Future (2), and another space-based saga I forget the name of, Guardians of the Galaxy pays proud homage as an 1980's prologue in it's balance between modern adventure and 80's irony. Featuring an "Awesome Mix" tape, audiences are amerced within the new world created by Marvel which is unlike anything we've seen previously and a tremendous leap forward for Marvel, visually and creatively. Whilst Guardians features the usual bickering humour between characters, it is refreshingly hilarious with it's witty punchlines which are excellently executed by it's cast.

In taking Parks and Recreation's Andy and placing him in a Han Solo-esk role, Pratt delivers a well grounded , unlikely hero as Star Lord. Joined by his men, this is our proper meeting with Mad Titan Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin) since he was first introduced in the end credits of The Avengers Assemble back in 2012.  Together the men must overcome Ronan's terrorist plans to take over the galaxy and overcome the  many challenging obstacles and hardships in their way. For the majority of the film, it is solid with on-set filming and stirring clear from over use of CGI and pixel backdrops so much so that it is visually stunning in IMAX.

Whilst the build blocks of this narrative is nothing new (or any surprise if you followed the comics), what we are treated to is 121 minutes of pure, unadulterated tongue-in-cheek comedy and action adventure. In many ways, it feels that this is created for grown ups with a love for kitsch 80's science-fiction but the bits inbetween make it enjoyable for everyone. Each character has their own development and depth which adds subtle details to each scene. Quill endured heart ache as a child; Rocket is bitter and sarcastic after the abuse he endured as a lab experiment, Gamora as the adopted daughter of Thanos and Drax's loss of his wife and child and amusing inability to understand metaphors. The only thing that appeared to be lacking was the development of the origins of Ronan and Thanos which felt barely written. Here's hoping that this is something that will be further explored in future productions.

In true Marvel style, each scene is a delight as James Gunn stays true to his roots from the opening credits, maintaining a sexy and stylish cinematography that makes this production feel like a punked-up, sassy Star Trek. My initial reaction to this film was that the trailers do no justice for what, I believe, is the greatest Marvel title to date and if anyone was going to do it right, its James Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman. As such, Guardians of the Galaxy gets a Sophie star rating of 5 out of 5 stars.

I urge you all to give it a go and would love to know what you think. Tomorrow I shall be at Fright Fest and can't wait to share it with you guys so stay tuned!

 Peace out movie fans,




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