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.
I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy in IMAX, despite the 3D being a post-conversion job which you can tell at times, but for the most part it’s fine, and the IMAX version has a number of scenes where the 2.35:1 ratio opens up to 1.90:1, for additional height, on a number of occasions, so I hope the eventual Blu-ray release is in this format, which was done for Transformers films from No.2 onwards (No.1 didn’t have any IMAX footage in it). It’s strange, though, and rather lazy of the Marvel franchise, that while the 2012 Spider-Man film *was* shot in 3D, the second one wasn’t. Why penny-pinch when you’re clearly spending loads already?
There’s a good few gags on show, but while it doesn’t outstay its welcome too much, and, at a minute over two hours, is thankfully shorter than some of the never-ending Marvel movies, there’s a bit too much ‘crash/bang/wallop’ to the point where you can blink and find everyone’s in a completely different location than they were a moment earlier, or so it seemed.
Guardians of the Galaxy also has another obligatory cameo for Stan Lee, and a pre-credits scene and a post-credits scene, the latter of which comes right at the very end of them. I won’t give any details about either of these. I know some peopple were very annoyed when the latter had been spoiled just a day after the film’s release, so I’ll say nothing. In fact, I never do.
Such things are always great to enjoy, and you’re also often the only person left in the cinema when such things take place. However, when it comes to a Marvel film, fans expects these, so more people are starting to stay behind… although, there were some disappointed fans when the IMAX screening of
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 omitted one for X-Men: Days of Future Past whereas it was present for the regular 3D and 2D versions. Why the IMAX omission? I’ve no idea, but I knew of this beforehand so wasn’t as disappointed as some others there.
Oh, and at the end, like with James Bond, it says: “The Guardians of the Galaxy will return”, presumably for films 2 and 3 in 2017 and 2020, respectively.
Also, as I learned when I went to see Transformers: Age of Extinction, a couple of weeks ago, my favourite seat in the Manchester IMAX is J21, which is on the back row, and the most central seat there. Well, technically, the middle of the screen cuts down between J21 and J22, but J21 felt the most central while I was there, and since no-one else was on the back row, I was able to compare for myself.
Both times, I had a ‘guest ticket’ I needed to use up, and these can’t be used to book online, so you need to phone up. It’s a fairly painless process for someone like me who hates making any sort of phone call, and the people on the other end are very good. In fact, I even ended up having a conversation with the girl on the other end, the first time I called, re: Transformers 4, about my website and how I would end up reviewing it on there. I don’t know if she ever did get to read it.
Anyhoo, on Saturday late evening, I saw J21 was free and clicked on it, leaving it there to remind me in the morning to phone up and reserve it. I finally remembered to do this around 2pm, by which time the website was showing this seat had been booked up by a single person! Since most people go to the cinema in twos and threes, could there really be a singleton, like myself, who goes on his own and positions himself at the back, as far away as possible from everyone else? It appeared so.
I rang up, and in conjunction with the fact that no-one in cinema booking assumes you’re going on your own, as they ask initially if it’s for two people, I said it was just for myself and explained the J21 dilemma, at which point the guy I spoke to, said it was a possibility that because I hadn’t completed a transaction after selecting that seat, the website would hold it, although it should only do so for about 25-30 mins, and I thought it a bit of a rarity that someone else would go for the exact singular seat. Anyway, I booked J23.
On the day, I went in to collect it and had a bit of a bizarre experience, as while last time I just presented my credit card and it all worked off that, this time I handed in the ticket first, and had one of those conversations where you’re trying to explain that you’ve booked a seat, yet he’s offering me J24 because J23 is already taken. I said “Yes, that’s because it’s me who booked it.” Either way, even with putting the card in the machine, it still didn’t stop him printing off one for J24. However, I realised he’d effectively done me a favour, since I was holding J24, yet J23 was already reserved for a ticket that would no longer be presented because it was locked in to its neighbour. So I basically had two seats for the price of one – one for me (J23), and one for an inanimate object aka my bag (J24). Much better than leaving it on the floor.
As soon as The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies is available to pre-book, I’ll secure my favourite seat online.
Running time: 121 minutes
Released: August 31st 2014
Format: 2.35:1 (ARRIRAW (2.8K)); 1.90:1 (IMAX version: some scenes)
Director: James Gunn
Producer: Kevin Feige
Screenplay: James Gunn and Nicole Perlman (based on the comic book by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning)
Music: Tyler Bates
Peter Quill: Chris Pratt
Gamora: Zoe Saldana
Drax: Dave Bautista
Rocket: Bradley Cooper
Groot: Vin Diesel
Ronan: Lee Pace
Yondu Udonta: Michael Rooker
Nebula: Karen Gillan
Korath: Djimon Hounsou
Corpsman Dey: John C. Reilly
Nova Prime: Glenn Close
The Collector: Benicio Del Toro
Meredith Quill: Laura Haddock
Kraglin/On Set Rocket: Sean Gunn
Denarian Saal: Peter Serafinowicz
The Broker: Christopher Fairbank
On Set Groot: Krystian Godlewski
Young Quill: Wyatt Oleff
Grandpa: Gregg Henry
Monstrous Inmate (voice): Nathan Fillion
Xandarian Ladies’ Man: Stan Lee
Pretty Xandarian: Nicole Alexandra Shipley
?: Seth Green (I do know who he plays, but to mention it here would spoil a certain surprise)
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.
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