Directed by James Gunn
Marvel, out now
A highly unlikely bunch of heroes unite to save the galaxy from devastation…
You’ll laugh; you may well cry. James Gunn’s fantastic piece of cinema is pure unadulterated fun pretty much from beginning to end. You might not expect it to be so with the first scenes showing a boy witnessing his mother’s death from cancer, but as soon as Peter Jason Quill, aka Starlord, starts on an Indiana Jones-esque quest for an artefact, accompanied by a quintessential 1970s/1980s soundtrack, it starts to look likely. And by the time that he’s having his arse kicked by Zoe Saldana’s Gamora while a gun-wielding racoon and a walking talking tree try to take him captive for the bounty on his head, if you’re not enjoying yourself, there’s little hope for you.
Sure, you can be picky and say there are elements which don’t quite add up; sure, there are some good actors whose parts aren’t developed enough. It doesn’t really matter – you realise by the time that our heroes start to break out of jail that we’re effectively in a reworking of the original Star Wars for a new generation. The humour, the action, the stunning special effects and the all-too-human characters (even if there’s only one human, sort of, among them!) as well as the bad guy (with an even worse guy behind him) and his henchmen: all fit into place. (Pratt has described his character as a mix of Han Solo and Marty McFly, and who are we to argue?)
Gunn uses the 3D well – there’s only a couple of times where things unexpectedly fly at your face, and it mainly adds depth to scenes, as it did in Captain America: The Winter Soldier – and has a sharp control of the action so that there’s always some form of human interaction involved. If you’ve got no idea who the characters are in the comics (and I only knew the original Steve Englehart/Chris Claremont iteration of Peter Quill, where the Master of the Sun gave him his powers and his Ship; as well as the Vance Astro version of the Guardians) it doesn’t matter – it’s not difficult to work out who and what Rocket and Groot are, and Drax’s backstory is clearly explained.
Verdict: Settle back for the ride and enjoy perhaps the most fun of the Marvel movies to date – after all, “I am Groot” speaks to us all (!) 9/10