With its deliciously smooth soundtrack and a consistent balance of cool and comical, Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the best blockbusters of the year so far. It’s loud, dramatic and predictable but as are all the best comic book movies. In recent years we’ve seen a new type of comic book film emerge. Comic book movies of the early noughties revolved around cheesiness and clichés – which was charming enough in the likes of Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and Bryan Singer’s X-Men films. Still, it became apparent with the arrival of Iron Man in 2008, that audiences were wanting more substance and intelligence in the plots and characters of their superhero films. In 2012 came the release of The Avengers which not only stapled itself as the coolest and cleverest comic book movie to date but also set Marvel ahead of all other studios when it came to creating something to satisfy both hardcore comic fans and mainstream popcorn-lovers alike. I enjoyed The Avengers very much but felt strongly that fans of the film were overlooking a thinly stretched plot that was dragged across two and a half hours of screen time. Only now have Marvel brought their greatest efforts to the screen in what The Telegraph has accurately described as “a pop-culture gem”. When a dictator threatens the existence of the universe, during his search for a mysterious and precious orb, it will take more than one hero to keep the peace. When a handful of criminals find themselves reliant on one another, for an abundance of reasons, they must “unite” in the hope of justice and thus our guardians are born in the most dysfunctional way possible.
The tensions between the group of selfish and uncooperative misfits rises whilst deeper friendships also form. Through many arguments, insults and sly digs, the guardians set out to stop the powerful Ronan and his plans to destroy the harmonious and deeply integrated land of Xandar. A human outlaw, a genetically modified raccoon, a tree-like humanoid, an assassin and a muscle man must learn to work as a team in order to protect themselves and the galaxy they now guard. Guardians of the Galaxy and its constant stream of witty banter, cultural references and astutely judged comedy, is refreshing and inventive. The amusing squabbles that arise between the team in The Avengers fade into insignificance compared to the bitterness and dislike that arises amongst our guardians. At a slick two hours in length, Guardians of the Galaxy never drags – unlike so many Marvel film creations before it. Chris Pratt, who I and many others adore from television’s Parks and Recreations, manages to escape the familiarities of the show’s loveable Andy and gives a solid lead performance brimming with mischief and amusement. Above all else, the film’s soundtrack is cooler and funkier than any other you’ll experience this Summer. Awash with sexy sounds of the seventies, that juxtapose the stunning artistry of the film’s futuristic settings, Guardians of the Galaxy is a tumultuous, yet charmingly conventional, celebration of all things comic and all things cool.
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