Guardians of the Galaxy—and I can’t believe I’m saying this—actually lives up to its hype as a comedic, all-out action adventure movie. I say that not because I think the concept is silly—I loved the comic series by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning on which the flick is loosely based—but because Marvel and director James Gunn pulled it off. The film cuts the razor edge between goofy and serious space opera. The plot is simple; Peter Quill, the Legendary Star*Lord (Chris Pratt), is arrested for stealing an ancient artifact and meets a crew of vicious rule breakers in prison. The group includes Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon and tree-man Groot. Star*Lord teams with the group to track down the artifact and keep it out of the hands of big bad Thanos (Josh Brolin). On the way they fight zealot Ronan the Accuser (whose look and attitude is right out of the comics) who, while ostensibly serving Thanos, desperately wants the artifact for himself. Their meeting provides a thrilling, city-destroying epic battle much better realized than the destruction-porn portrayed in Man of Steel.
Depicting the Guardians could have gone so wrong. But the cast fits their roles well, and computer-generated Rocket Raccoon and walking tree Groot alone are worth the ticket price. The story is balanced perfectly, with plot, laughs, character growth and special effects all given room to breathe. And the post-credit sequence, complete with a guest star out of left field, is a hoot. The movie isn’t a comedy, but definitely has a sense of humor. I loved it.
Rating: ****½ out of 5 stars