Home >Mint-lounge >Features >Film Review | Guardians of the Galaxy

A potentially groan-worthy new franchise that contains every cliché in the studio manual can actually be described by a word not usually associated with such ventures: fun. James Gunn’s adaptation of the Marvel comic series, written by him and Nicole Perlman, is often zippy, zany and zesty, with a judicious balance of self-mocking and self-regard.

Guardians Of The Galaxy is the kind of movie that frequently sends up its own clichés, only to rescue them eventually and reassert the reasons we flock to such movies in the first place.

This new Stan Lee pension fund contributor, whose sequel has already been earmarked for a 2016 release, puts together a crew that meets diversity standards, comprising casually cute leading man (Chris Pratt, playing Peter), wise warrior woman (Zoe Saldana as Gamora), slow-thinking but upright heavy (Dave Bautista as Drax), humanoid and humanistic tree (Vin Diesel voices Groot) and opportunistic but soft-hearted raccoon (Bradley Cooper voices Rocket).

The plot, about a quest for an all-powerful orb that looks like a stolen relic from an antiquities museum, is flimsy, the yammering is occasionally tiresome, the cast is packed with underutilized big names—Glenn Close! Benicio Del Toro! John C. Reilly!—and there as many fancy machines as there are deus ex machinas.

But the action is smooth and quick-paced, and the guardians save more than the galaxy.

Pratt’s Peter, the only one with a normal name (our favourite: Yondu) is immensely likeable; Diesel is a sport for voicing a character with only two pieces of dialogue (with “I am Groot" being the main one), which is much a joke about the bulky actor’s inability to emote as it’s about creating a running gag that actually reaches somewhere in the end. Rocket is another delight, a computer-generated and beautifully realized furry creature that typifies the attention to detailing and production design.

The American pop-culture references (another running gag is about the 1980s dance movie Footloose and there are gestures to Star Trek and Star Wars) make way for unexpected moments of beauty, which leaven the cynicism of such lines as “Suck this up one last time and you will be rich!"

Guardians Of The Galaxy released in theatres on Friday.

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