While DC – and in particular, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, favoured a darker, more brooding and humanistic approach, Marvel often provide an antidote with their more fantastical, jocular productions that offer very little but pure entertainment. Their latest, Guardians of the Galaxy, is emblematic of that, being a film that is just incredibly good-natured and fun to watch. Which, sometimes, is all you can ask for.
Chris Pratt plays Peter Quill, AKA Starlord, who is abducted by aliens at a young age, complete with just a walkman and a mix-tape given to him by his recently deceased mother. We then progress to the present day, in the deep echelons of outer space, where Peter has stolen a mysterious orb. He becomes the victim of a vicious manhunt, not only for the value of the object – but it’s power. However those pursing him, such as Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) end up becoming his greatest allies, as they join forces to protect the orb from the nefarious, malevolent Ronan (Lee Pace), and save the galaxy.
Directed (and co-written) by James Gunn, where Guardians of the Galaxy truly comes into its element, is within the quite spectacular balance between comedy and action. When this film attempts to be more intimate and comedic, it triumphs – and then when the themes grow more severe, and the narrative takes precedence, the big set pieces are in no way compromised, and vice versa. What epitomises this notion, is Pratt, who has a brilliant aptitude for comedy, and can be unforgiving when needs be. He has such an everyman appeal, and is so relatable – which is imperative when attempting to embody a character living in a world that is, literally, rather far away from your own. Another stand out performer is Dave Bautista, who plays Drax, following in the footsteps of Dwayne Johnson as another wrestler who can act, and act well.
The soundtrack – made up predominantly of the songs featuring on Peter’s mix-tape, with a host of classic numbers from the 70s and 80s – is fantastic, and is one of so many aspects of this title that just works incredibly well. It may seem hyperbolic to compare this picture to classic science fiction flicks such as Star Wars, but herein lies a film that should be as enchanting and compelling to young audiences as that title was upon its own release. Yup, it’s that good!