By Sean Walker – Collegiate Staff
Peter Jason Quill was only a kid… when he left Earth.
And the timing was the worst: his mother had just died of terminal cancer, and as soon as he set foot outside of the hospital, he was abducted and taken away to parts unknown.
In the present day, Quill (Chris Pratt) has become something of a Han Solo/Marty Mcfly hybrid, a guy who flies around space trying to establish his own reputation as a space pirate known as (or, more accurately, refers to himself as) “Star-Lord.” As the movie opens, Quill steals an orb that holds unspeakable power, and intends to sell it to the highest bidder. But his actions bring him to the attention of both the Nova Corps, an intergalactic peace-keeping force, and Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), an alien who intends to use said orb to dominate the galaxy.
In an effort to save himself, Quill forms an uneasy truce with four other extraterrestrial outcasts: Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a highly skilled assassin; Drax (Dave Bautista), a vengeance-driven maniac; Rocket (Bradley Cooper), a gun-toting raccoon; and Groot (Vin Diesel), a tree-like humanoid whose vocabulary is limited to “I am Groot,” exclusively in that order.
Thus the stage is set for Marvel’s strangest movie yet, “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The film is set in Marvel’s shared film universe, but it is very different in tone, setting, character, and even feeling. All five of these characters are losers (people who have lost something), but in coming together they all find something new to fight for. Visually the film is dazzling, setting the bar high for other space adventures with its vibrant colors, but just as impressive are the story which is well scripted and acted, the performances of the entire cast (Pratt especially), and the heart of the film which is rooted in Quill’s memories of his mother, personified in a mix-tape Quill frequently plays on his Walkman, the only token of the life he left on Earth.
In typical Marvel fashion, the film is littered with comic book characters and references to other Marvel movies, which true Marvel fans will enjoy whilst attempting to find them all. Director James Gunn delivers everything that makes a superhero film click in such a way that leaves you wanting more, establishing a new franchise-within-a-much-larger-franchise that takes everything you know about superheroes to a much higher level than we have ever seen before. Aliens, heroes, throwback music from the 1970s and 1980s, spaceships, humor, and action; it’s all here. It all works. And it’s only half-human.
So here they are: a thief, two thugs, an assassin, and a maniac. They call themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy. And considering how obscure they are in the comics, their first film is an unexpected success.