Lowdown: An unlikely crew brings the fun back into saving the galaxy.
With all the potential science fiction offers for having some fun time while switching the imagination on, very few of the genre's movies actually manage that. Star Wars did it, yes, at the beginning, but otherwise crops have been suffering from severe drought. Into this gap is where Guardians of the Galaxy steps in.
It’s based on a comic, it features a crew of unlikely heroes (are a racoon and a tree good enough for you?), and it’s filled with imaginative alien worlds and personalities. Yes, Guardians of the Galaxy does a good job of wrapping epic science fiction action scenes with good natured, fun packed silliness.
The setting sounds a bit complicated but it isn’t, really. The chief protagonist of our Guardians occasionally goes by the name of Star Lord (Chris Pratt), a very Han Solo/Indiana Jones type scoundrel who acquires precious artefacts from all over the galaxy for a fee on one side and is glued to his very eighties original cassette Walkman and headphones on the other. One of the artefacts he picks seems to pack more punch than meets the eye, which results in him being chased by:
- The green woman Gamora (Zoe Saldana, singlehandedly conquering the niche of brightly colored good looking alien females) for the artefact;
- The heavily mutated bounty hunter racoon Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and his fellow tree Groot (Vin Diesel in a role that finally makes the most of his acting potential);
- A mega evil dude that wants to destroy freedom in the galaxy using the power locked in the artefact. This one comes with a crew of henchmen and villains, including a bluish bold woman that looks a lot like Mass Effect’s Jack, Nebula (Karen Gillan);
- A criminal gang looking for compensation on some old debts, not unlike Jabba the Hutt did with Han Solo back in Star Wars;
- The innocently annoying but somewhat charming police, headed by an ever charming Corpsman (John C. Reilly).
Shake things up and mix it a bit and you have yourself Guardians of the Galaxy.
You will notice me mentioning Star Wars and Mass Effect. Elements taken on loan from Star Wars are very clearly visible all along Guardians of the Galaxy; but it is the Mass Effect factor I’d like to delve into. Simply put, Guardians of the Galaxy is the most Mass Effect like movie I have ever seen: it’s the tale of a hero joined by a diverse, unlikely gang that's slowly building up its loyalty in order to save the galaxy; some of these heroes look like carbon copies of Mass Effect characters (Gamora is obviously an Asari, while Star Lord looks awfully like a human multiplayer character once he puts his mask on); the various world are very Mass Effect like, from the prison colony to remote asteroids and most notably the multi species filled metropolises. Throw in a the common goal, saving the galaxy, and you have this Mass Effect fan fully hooked.
Even the humour bears resemblance. Mass Effect may have Mordin, but Guardians of the Galaxy has got the overly literal Drax (wrestler Dave Bautista), for whom jokes keep flying over the head. There are certainly plenty more examples, but the point is Guardians of the Galaxy holds on to a viable position in that hard to get to quadrant of high action as well as high humour.
Overall: I don’t know about you, but I am looking for a sequel, thank you very much. So much promise in this massively effective 4 out of 5 crabs movie!