Marvel films usually appeal to their comic fan base, who would like to see their graphic magazine on celluloid. And their latest edition "Guardians of the Galaxy" is no different.
But unlike their previous films, this one has a different tone. It has tropes of an action-adventure and science-fiction interlaced with humour in the most incredible manner. The thrills and frills sequences makes it a light-hearted entertainer.
It's the story of an intergalactic thief Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), who finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt.
The narration begins with establishing young Peter's abduction from Earth in 1988 by humanoid alien Yondu (Michael Rooker), leader of the cosmic bandits known as "ravagers".
Around 26 years later, Peter, also known as "Star Lord" steals a mysterious silver orb hidden on an abandoned and lifeless planet, Morag. He is intercepted by Korath, a subordinate of the fanatic Ronan (Lee Pace), a ruthless traitor from the Kree race.
Although Quill escapes with the orb, he realizes that there are many takers for the orb. So, he decides to negotiate it with the highest bidder. He travels to the Planet Xandar.
Meanwhile, Yondu discovers the theft and issues a bounty for Peter's capture. On the other hand, Ronan sends a green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) after the orb.
Ronan is pursuing the relic to hand it over to his patron Thanos, who, in return, has vowed to help him press an old vendetta against the planet Xandar, which is the capital of the Nova Empire.
In Xandar, Gamora catches up with Peter. But, at same time, he has been spotted by bounty hunter Rocket, a raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and his arboreal sidekick Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), who are seeking the reward Yondu has offered for Quill's capture.
Their tussle over the orb lands them all in prison, where they meet fellow convict Drax (Dave Bautista) the Destroyer, who joins their crew making a getaway aboard Quill's spacecraft.
To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with the quartet of Gamora, Rocket, Groot and Drax -- and when they discover the true power of the orb and that the fate of the galaxy lies in balance, how they decide to be the guardians forms the crux of the story.
The plot and setting is distinctive, but the Guardians aren't really even the Guardians till the last five minutes of the film, which is a sort of a letdown.
Being the first edition of the tenth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe which first made its appearance as a graphic book in 1969, the "Guardians of the Galaxy" is fresh and new. It is just as much a character piece as it is a space opera with both elements equally balanced brilliantly.
The 'Guardian' characters are well-etched and their interpersonal relationships are also a highlight and are handled incredibly well throughout the film. The merging of the computer generated characters like Rocket and Groot with the human characters is seamless and so real. Unfortunately, the villains are a disappointment as they are not portrayed like megalomaniacs.
The action scenes were well choreographed with music playing a key role throughout the film. With numbers like "I'm Not in Love", "Cherry Bomb" and David Bowie's "Moonage Daydream" deployed as frequently humorous counterpoints within tense action scenes, the film is enjoyable.
Charles Wood's production design coupled with Ben Davis's cinematography has ensured that director James Gunn gets what he had envisioned to reproduce an archetypal Marvel execution. And the 3D effects enhance the viewing experience.
The end credits promise - "'Guardians of the Galaxy' Will Return."
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