SYNOPSIS: Chris Pratt is Peter Quill, a cosmic Indiana Jones style adventurer. After stealing a mysterious metal orb that containing an “infinity chip,” he becomes the target of Ronan (Lee Pace in full-on wrestling bad guy mode), an intergalactic Genghis Khan with ambitions to destroy his mortal enemies, the Xandarians. To avoid capture Quill forms an uneasy alliance with a genetically engineered raccoon and bounty hunter Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel), a plant-based humanoid, the deadly assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and a revenge hungry warrior named Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista). As the chip’s power becomes obvious, the band of misfits slowly bond, becoming the Guardians of the Galaxy as they battle to keep the orb from Ronan.
Richard: 4 Stars
Mark: 4 Stars
Richard: Mark, summer blockbusters haven’t been much fun this year. Sure, we’ve had giant robots, action galore and some edge of our seat moments, but from the xenophobia of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to the daddy issues and nuclear nightmares of Godzilla the season’s tent pole movies have been a bit gloomy. Guardians of the Galaxy is a tonic for the troops. An old-fashioned space opera, it’s a wild ride and the most pure fun blockbuster since the first Iron Man movie. Did you have as much fun at it as I did?
Mark: Richard, I generally don’t care for space operas, but this one’s a game-changer. It’s debt to Star Wars is enormous, with Chris Pratt as Luke Skywalker, Zoe Saldana in the Carrie Fisher role, and the raccoon and the tree as R2D2 and CP3O. But then its originality takes flight—literally—and the movie becomes its own unique creation. Unlike Star Wars, it has a great sense of humour about itself, and if you don’t fall in love with the talking raccoon with the Brooklyn accent, you’re as villainous as the bad guys in the movie.
RC: Totally, it’s filled with one-liners, sight gags and funny moments that play off the more standard blockbuster-style action and battle scenes. Pratt has an offhand delivery that recalls Harrison Ford in Han Solo mode, Cooper does wisecracks like a skilled Catskills comic and (ALMOST A SPOILER) there’s Baby Groot to up the cute factor. They supply the light moments, but despite Cooper’s presence, this isn’t The Hangover in space, it’s an all out action movie with a blithe spirit. The only bits that dragged for me were the set-up scenes. Did you find the exposition got in the way occasionally?
MB: I don’t think you watch this movie for the plot anyways. But the very first scene, a waaaay too serious deathbed scene between a boy and his mother, left me with a bad taste and it took me awhile to recover from it and enjoy the movie. It isn’t all that far from the old Flash Gordon serials, except that every piece of technology is beyond state of the art and the makeup is wonderfully imaginative. My biggest beef? The bad guys have bad dialogue. And they deliver their lines in the standard three octaves lower register of villains in hackier flicks.
RC: By the time the end credits roll, however, none of our gripes matter much because the movie is so much fun.
MB: The movie is so much fun it actually enjoys itself.