So looks like the good folks at Marvel finally got tired of the eternally brooding universe saving super heroes who always take themselves a bit too seriously. So they decided to let their hair loose, roll up their sleeves and have some good old fashioned fun. With Awesome Mix Vol.1 featuring the looniest and biggest pop-rock songs from the 70’s blaring in the background and making a spoof of the super-hero clichés with an unlikely bunch of rakish irreverent ragtag outfit who set out to guard the galaxy.
The result? Guardians of the Galaxy. A fun-ride that never takes itself seriously – loaded with all things warm and fuzzy. Outrageous corny humour that actually fits in. A crackling camaraderie among the lead actors that blows the wind out of all bromances, romances and other mances (ahem. What do you call the undying friendship between a talking racoon and an over-grown tree?), if you will.
James Gunn “guns” it the right way (Yeah – I know you cringed at that. Sorry!) with this irreverent take on the super-hero franchise – with a fuzzball of a movie that never takes itself seriously. Heck, you got the hero doing a “footloose” Kevin Bacon dance-off in the final scene when the Galaxy is at stake. You know what is coming right from the second scene – where we are introduced to daredevil outlaw scavenger pilot, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt essaying this role with effortless aplomb, loose jerky limbs and a smart-alec mouth seemingly believing smooth talk to be the solution to every problem in this Galaxy) – jauntily sauntering into an abandoned wasteland planet listening to “Come and Get Your Love” and stealing an Orb.
This sets off a series of events – with the whole world coming after Peter to retrieve the Orb. For the orb has – in Peter’s own words, “Lost Ark, Maltese Falcon” vibe to it and is believed to contain the “Infinity core” within – powerful substance that can destroy entire planets within the blink of an eye. Landing in a maximum security prison, Peter quicks forms alliances with a raffish, misfit crew of oddballs to break out and deliver the Orb to the highest bidder. The crew – a green-skinned assassin, trained to be a living “killing” machine named Gamora ( Zoe Saldana, fitting right in after graduating from blue-skinned alien in Avatar), a wronged Humanoid called Drax the Destroyer built like a battering ram ( Dave Batista, a pro-WWE wrestler pulling in a surprisingly good performance here!) and the unlikeliest pair of mercenaries in The Rocket, a genetically modified racoon who can talk, fly airships, plan prison escapes and fire a mean machine-gun with a penchant for practical jokes. (Yeah Beat that. Bradley Cooper has the most fun mouthing the most outrageous lines of the movie!) and his best friend, Groot - a throwback from Peter Jackson’s movie sets of LOTR – a living tree that is very like the Ents from LOTR. Vin Diesel is the voice for this adorable character mouthing nothing more than “I am Groot” over and over again in different tones. Groot steals the show simply by being himself. Err…itself?...
The movie asks for no quarters and takes none as it rumbles on right from that frame where Quill picks up the Orb and picks up steam till the last frame. Gunn’s got the pacing spot-on, peppered by some inspiring comic-lines and sometime cringe-worthy dialogues. The best ones are always when the “Guardians” get together. When Quill signals with a finger across the throat to signify killing, the stumped Drax responds with “Why would I want to touch his throat?” Rocket warns Quill against using “Metaphors” while talking to him. For the simple-minded Drax the fighter with swirling tattoos all over his fearsome muscular form comes from a set of people who are completely “literal”. “Metaphors are gonna go right over his head.” To which pat comes the reply from Drax. Earnest and blank-faced. “Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast. I would catch it.”
It might not have the fans raving like Avengers, but the Guardians gets you to wear that big fat smile as the end credits roll past. It’s entertainment at its frothiest goofiest best. For James Gunn throws a little bit of everything into the mixer. The over-the-top action scenes, the zany jokes, the outfits and make-up, the CGI effects, galaxy chases in airships. Add to that a steady mix of up-tempo 70’s biggest hit pop songs that keeps the jukebox happy and hip. It all blends well and the movie works like magic. Double thumbs up!