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A pretty grim opening scene is a false start as Marvel’s latest money spinning franchise kicks off straight after and bursts into one of the best action films of the year. Rightly or wrongly many comparisons will be drawn to The Avengers. The story arc of a group having to settle their differences and learn to fight as a team was hardly original in 2012 and waiting two years has done nothing to freshen up the concept. Add this to bad-guy-must-be-stopped-from-destroying-the-universe and you have one of the most hackneyed plots of recent time. Throw in the fact that the main planet looks suspiciously like the Citadel from Mass Effect and it is clear originality was not high on the agenda.  This however is of no consequence whatsoever because the world destroying macGuffin, the force fed sentimental pap even the eye blistering special effects are all secondary to the characters themselves and the casting department, in the form of Sarah Finn and Reg Poerscout-Edgerton have come up trumps.

Arguably the biggest names are Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel yet they are never seen, just heard. As they voice the demented Rocket and the taciturn Groot respectively. Cooper is a joy as the psychotic raccoon, a role that could have easily slipped into irritating and while Groot could have been voiced by anyone it adds to the excitement that it’s someone well known. The hulking Dave Bautista says very little as Drax the Destroyer but the majority will be met with laughter. Most films have a single comedy sidekick, Gaurdians have opted for three! That is not to say they don’t have a melancholy side, Rocket in particular hints at a worthwhile back story.

That leaves Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana to drive the story forward. As Star-Lord Pratt steals the show and considering the talent he is up against that is no mean feat .The Virginia actor seems destined for big things as he has an easy going charm reminisce of a young Harrison Ford. Saldana might be a fine actress but the green skinned Gamora’s motives remain somewhat convenient but that hardly matters when everyone is having so much fun.

It is not only the main cast that will grab the attention, indeed for most of the film a game called that’s thingamabob from whatchamacallit can be played; Peter Serafinowicz, Djimon Hounsou, Michael Rooker and Christopher Fairbank might not have stand out names but it is fun trying to recall where you have seen them before.

An excellent line up would be pointless if they had nothing to do, fortunately that is not the case. The end result is obvious but the journey is the key here. A chase scene that looks like it belongs in Stop the Pigeon, an impromptu prison escape and a dogfight that finishes all too soon are just the appetiser for the main course and like the rest of the film it is not exactly taking itself seriously.

Despite its shortcomings there is a whole lot to love about Guardians of the Galaxy, it embraces its silliness and shoots for the stars.

Verdict: I am Groot.
4-out-of-5-stars

 

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