Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy ★★★★½

Finally, Marvel knock it out of the park!

This could well be one of the most outright fun films I've seen in a long time. Hopefully it will make director James Gunn into a major player. I loved Slither to bits and it's really pleasing to see that he can handle a major property.

I'm not familiar with the comic books this is based on so I just really enjoyed the film on its own terms with absolutely zero fanboy investment. It rips along at a whip-crack pace with real wit and panache. The central cast are great and the origin stories are kept to a bare minimum so the action is not held up one jot. Particular mentions to the characters of Rocket and Groot who steal every scene they are in. Bradley Cooper provides some of the best voice work I think I've ever seen as the unhinged mutant raccoon, and Groot is just outright iconic right from the off. Together, they show what CGI can be capable of. They're wonderfully done, and feel very 'present' if that makes sense. There is none of the slight feeling of ephemera that dog some graphics-heavy affairs.

If I have any reservations, the plot if admittedly slight, and Lee Pace's Ronan is perhaps not the most memorable villain ever (and I got ever so slightly distracted by him walking round for the whole film with a dirty face. Good hygiene costs nothing.), but it all works serviceably well as a framework on which to drape the very entertaining Guardians shenanigans. Excellent touches include the ingenious way they managed to get a frankly wonderful soundtrack in, and an entertaining running gag about Drax's inability to grasp the concept of metaphor.

I was a little unsure about Karen Gillan's Nebula. I adore Gillan and would pretty much eat broken glass out of her knickers, but the delivery of some of her lines just isn't right. She has all the right moves, and the 'relocating limbs' bit - ouchy! - but there's something missing sadly. Still, there's always the ever-dependable Michael Rooker, who I suspect is now a Gunn go-to guy, which is absolutely fine by me.

I should really mention Christ Pratt's turn as Peter Quill/ Starlord. He is very, very good. All cocksure Han Solo swagger, but prone to the occasional pratfall, and is happy to make himself look like a proper fool for distraction purposes.

Overall this is for me the best of the new breed of Marvel superhero films. I'm very glad it's made the impact it has, and fair play to Marvel for taking a bit of a risk with what is not a well-known franchise. It's more than paid off.

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