Guardians of the Galaxy is a film where I had no knowledge of its connection with the Marvel Universe, since I only follow what gets released in cinemas, rather than scrutinising the minutiae of the comics.
We begin in 1988, with a young Peter Quill sitting in a hospital waiting room, listening to a mix tape on his Sony Walkman, entitled Awesome Mix Vol. 1. The reason for the location I’ll leave you to discover – although there was a welcome appearance from Gregg Henry (Payback and this film’s director’s Super) as his grandfather, but before too long, Peter runs outside and is abducted by a spaceship… as you do.
From there, we move to the present day, and a plot which is seemingly non-existent, and there’s a lot which doesn’t make a whole heap of sense, but Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), now calling himself by the moniker of Starlord – although no-one else does – has in his possession a mysterious orb with incredible and incalculable powers. I won’t go into the improbable ins and outs of its nonsense plot, but the orb is worth a lot of money, and is much sought-after by Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace, aka Thranduil from The Hobbit trilogy) so he can trade it with Thanos (an uncredited Josh Brolin), portrayed like Tron’s Master Control Program, in order to destroy Xandar, a planet he had a beef with, for reasons I lost track of.
One way or another, Peter accidentally brings together a team of other losers with nothing better to do, starting with green-skinned alien hottie Gamora (Zoe Saldana), big bruiser-type Drax (WWE star Dave Bautista), and if this is looking a bit like the Scooby Doo team, then they’re completed by a racoon called Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and tree creature Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), the latter of whom can only say “I am Groot”, but he is like Scooby to Rocket’s Shaggy, since each of Groot’s iterations can be understood by Rocket, who basically repeats what the unintelligible one has said for the benefit of everyone else.
And Quill’s spaceship, the Milano (named after Alyssa Milano?), is effectively, the Mystery Machine.
The rest of the cast is rounded out with Karen Gillan as Nebula (below), second in command to Ronan, and also sister to Gamora, so there’s tension between those two. Gillan shaved her head for this role, and her head is painted blue. She still looks incessantly sexy.
Then there’s Michael Rooker (also in Super) as Yondu Udonta, Peter’s mentor, since it was he who took Peter off planet Earth, and is someone who also wants to possess the orb; Djimon Hounsou is Korath, who wanted to kill Quill from the moment he saw him; I think Glenn Close, as Nova Prime, was the closest thing this film might get to portraying a government, with underlings Corpsman Dey (John C. Reilly) and Denarian Saal (Peter Serafinowicz); there’s Benicio Del Toro as The Collector, and Christopher Fairbank as The Broker, both of whom have their roles to play, the latter in being the man who initially wants to buy the orb from Peter, but both actors are mainly there to mess about in silly outfits for their duration of screentime. And, finally, Laura Haddock (The Inbetweeners Movie) as Meredith Quill, and her journey I’ll leave for you to discover.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the film.