Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy

Directed by James Gunn, U.S., 2014

Superhero movies have gotten a bit too self serious these days.  I suppose one could blame the success of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” (2008), but Batman is usually presented a dark, humorless figure these days. Nolan was just perfecting the accepted interpretation of the character.  No, the problem isn’t Nolan’s work but rather everyone else trying to copy it.  There was a time, however, when superheros were supposed to be <gasp> fun for all ages and not brooding stand-ins for the anxieties of our times.

Guardians of the Galaxy is not serious in any way whatsoever, and it is a stronger film for it.  It presents to us Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), or Star-Lord as he likes to call himself, a wisecracking, womanizing, thief and scavenger.  After finding a valuable artifact, he is pursued two bounty hunters (Rocket and Groot, voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel) and an assassin (Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana).  After a street brawl, these four are sent to prison, where they meet the humorless he-man Drax (Dave Bautista).

The plot can be summarized as follows – everyone wants to kill everyone else over the artifact that Quill recovered, but eventually our heroes stop trying to kill each other and start trying to kill the bad guys.  Where both of these ventures are concerned, our heroes are all thumbs.

The sometimes convoluted plot and vast number of characters make it a bit confusing at times, but Guardians of the Galaxy is the ultimate summer popcorn flick.  It’s at once a fun action movie and a goofy farce – superhero film as comedy without trying too hard.

You might like Guardians of the Galaxy if: You’re bored with self-serious superhero fare and looking for something a bit more fun.

You might not like Guardians of the Galaxy if: A space opera with lots of characters and a complicated plot isn’t your cup of tea, even if it is really, really funny.

(c) 2014 D.G. McCabe