Certificate 12A, 121 minutes
Director: James Gunn
Stars: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
Guardians of the Galaxy starts in 1988 on Earth where a young Peter Quill (Wyatt Oleff) is abducted for some unknown reason by a UFO from outside the hospital inside which his mother is dying from cancer. 26 years later and a now adult Peter (Chris Pratt, Jurassic World, The Lego Movie) - who is calling himself Star-Lord, even if no-one else is doing so - is stealing an Orb from a deserted planet. He is apparently something called a Ravager, a criminal of some type. Why he is stealing this and what it is is not revealed until later, although Taneleer Tivan, also known as The Collector (Benicio Del Toro), who was seen in the post-credits scene of Thor: The Dark World receiving the Aether from Volstagg and Sif as having two Infinity Stones (the Aether and the Tesseract) so close together in Asgard would be dangerous, is willing to pay a lot to take possession of it.
After "Star-Lord" gets in a fight on Xandar over the Orb with Gamora (Zoe Saldana, Star Trek Into Darkness), an adopted daughter of the Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin, Men in Black 3, Sicario, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) and trained assassin, Rocket (Bradley Cooper), a modified and cybernetically enhanced raccoon with a liking for guns and high explosives and Rocket's sidekick Groot (Vin Diesel, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, Fast and Furious 7) a tree-like humanoid who accompanies Rocket and says very little ("I am Groot"), all four of them are arrested and placed in a prison known as the Kyln, where they meet Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista, Spectre).
Xandar and the empire known as the Kree have a peace treaty, but the Kree terrorist known as Ronan (Lee Pace, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) - who Drax wants to kill - does not agree with this treaty and still takes action against Xandar. He also wants the Orb. This rather unlikely team of not-exactly-heroes turn out to be the only hope that Xandar and the Nova Corps have of stopping Ronan from destroying their world. They are really not the sort of group you would trust with that.
Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_%28film%29#mediaviewer/File:GOTG-poster.jpgThis is the least serious and the most hi-tech of the current films produced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - even the Asgard do not appear as hi-tech, due to their use of more primitive-appearing, if technologically advanced, weapons. The film, despite having quite a bit of destruction, violence and (often, but not always, bloodless) death, does have a definite funny side to it, and fortunately it works well, as it does fit in with the overall tone. As does the line at the end of the film, stating that no raccoons or tree creatures were harmed during the making of this film. There is also a sequence just before the main credits, and another one right at the very end. The latter clip doesn't seem to have any relevance for possible future films; it seems to be just there for entertainment and, assuming you have the reference, it is entertaining.
Peter's most prized possession is a mix tape that was in his (prominently product placed, but appropriate for the times) beloved Sony Walkman that he had on him when he was abducted. This mix tape was from the 70s and 80s and, as a consequence, much of the soundtrack to this futuristic film comes from those decades, such as Cherry Bomb by The Runaways and Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Having Quill playing these tracks and others from his "Awesome Mix" when you would expect something a bit more ominous adds to the humour of the film. He also gets rather upset when anyone tampers with it.
The film is available in both 2D and 3D, with the 3D version being the one watched. Despite having a lot of CGI, the 3D wasn't that noticeable apart from in a handful of scenes. With this being the most futuristic of the Marvel films to date - it is set off-Earth after all - there are a host of futuristic cities, starships and space facilities as background, some of which are truly gorgeous. The film is approximately two hours long, but it doesn't feel like that at all, as there is a lot of action. It doesn't drag; it feels shorter than it is. The interaction between the five "Guardians" is entertaining, even Groot, a CGI creation with one line (repeated over and over, albeit with different intonations), interacts entertainingly. Some of his facial expressions are hilarious. Guardians of the Galaxy is not a dark superhero film, as a number have been recently, even with the suitably menacing Ronan and the violence, but is a bright, colourful, action packed, often funny and entertaining film that doesn't take itself, or its setting, too seriously - and yes, the Guardians will return.
Certificate 12A, 121 minutes