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Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy
4.5/5 MUST must see SEE
dir James Gunn
prd Kevin Feige
scr James Gunn, Nicole Perlman
with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Glenn Close, John C Reilly, Djimon Hounsou, Benicio Del Toro
release US/UK 1.Aug.14
14/UK Marvel 2h01
Guardians of the Galaxy
Saving the day: Bautista, Saldana and Pratt

cooper diesel pace

33rd Shadows Awards
TOP 10 FILM

See also:
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (2017)


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R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Guardians of the Galaxy Summer blockbusters don't get much more shamelessly entertaining. With fantastic characters, exhilarating action and a script that's both smart and very funny, this may be part of the Marvel universe but it feels like a whole new franchise that mixes elements from Star Wars and Indiana Jones with filmmaker Gunn's little-seen 2000 gem The Specials.

Kidnapped from 1988 America, Peter (Pratt) grew up among aliens to become a curious thief who uses a well-worn mixtape as his own personal soundtrack. Then when he steals an orb, he becomes the target of bounty hunters Rocket and Groot (voiced by Cooper and Diesel) as well as the fierce fighter Gamora (Saldana). Thrown into prison, they escape with the help of muscle-head Drax (Bautista) and head off to deal with this troublesome orb. This involves confronting Peter's old friend/nemesis Yondu (Rooker), Gamora's tenacious half-cyborg sister Nebula (Gillan) and the ambitiously destructive Ronan (Pace).

Gunn establishes the 1980s aesthetic with a pre-logo sequence that, then launches into a riotously nail-biting adventure set-piece. The awesome song score sets the tone for everything that follows: thrilling scrapes that escalate the interplanetary chaos. But the movie's real plot traces how five people who should really hate each other become an inseparable team. All the stuff about the orb's devastating power, former grudges and world-threatening megalomaniacs just adds colour.

Pratt steps into his first leading-man role with effortless charisma, literally dancing through his first scene to instantly win over the audience. His scoundrel swagger is reminiscent of Han Solo, as is the likelihood he'll do the right thing when crunch-time comes, but Pratt adds his own spin. And he generates great chemistry with an especially sparky Saldana. Meanwhile, Cooper steals the show as the fast-talking raccoon with the plan. Bautista is enormously likeable as the literal-minded hulk who's not as dumb as he sounds. And with just three words of dialog, Diesel makes Groot an instant movie icon.

Stir in impeccably timed performances from the likes of Close and Reilly (as a planet's leader and her top security agent), and the script's ceaseless banter never gets old. It also continually undermines the usual sci-fi action movie beats, poking free-wheeling fun at the usual over-serious drama and over-choreographed action. But Gunn's most clever touch is to leave plot threads floating in the background, answering just enough questions to satisfy the breathlessly entertained audience while piquing their interest in where these characters are going next.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 23.Jul.14

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© 2014 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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