Guardians are galaxy’s new super heroes
By Peter Covino
Move over Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
The next great movie franchise is here.
It wouldn’t seem possible that this second-rung group of Marvel super heroes could lend itself to that kind of pedigree (especially when one is a raccoon and another a barely talking tree), but Guardians of the Galaxy transcends the usual trappings of comic book super guys.
Without an Iron Man or Spider-man in the pack, this pseudo 21st century sci-fi western manages to recapture the spirit of John Wayne, Han Solo and then some.
At the center of the piece is relatively unknown Chris Pratt, best known for being the blobby-like funny guy from Parks and Recreation. Pratt begins his sci-fi journey as a younger version of himself (Peter Quill), a young boy in 1988 who has just been at the bedside of his dying mother. It is a handkerchief scene if you are emotional.
But young Peter runs out of the hospital, with the 1980s audio mix his mother gave him, and inexplicably is abducted by an alien ship.
And then the fun begins, and it pretty much never lets up.
There are lots of bad guys, and lots of good guys, who are both so far from out of the realm of normal, but in Guardians, it becomes kind of intoxicating. I mean how do you get all sappy about a tree? The tree, by the way, named Groot, is played by Vin Diesel, and this is his most unchallenging role to date. You can only get so much emotion when your dialogue is restricted to three words (“I am Groot”) for an entire movie.
Along with Pratt/Peter Grill, the movie also belongs to that raccoon, and unless you read those credits, or paid attention before you bought your ticket, you won’t know he is voiced by Bradley Cooper. And he almost steals the show. What is it stars say about working with children or animals, they steal every scene? Rocket the raccoon (he was named originally after The Beatles’ song Rocky Raccoon) would to do just that if Pratt wasn’t so formidable a character here.
There is nothing warm and fuzzy about Rocket. He is a gun-toting, sometimes murderous (at least to bad guys) bounty hunter, who can wise-crack his way out of most situations if his super-sized firepower is unsuccessful. If this were an R-rated movie, he would probably be a lot more foul-mouthed as well. Rocket also happens to be best friends with that tree, who with his shear bulk and size (and some other natural endowments) gets him and the team out of the most sticky situations.
There is a plot here, and director/co-writer James Gunn, overcomes that obstacle by having such colorful characters. Everyone — bad guys and good, are after this all powerful orb, but it is, of course, just one of those Alfred Hitchcock Macguffins. It could be a slice of gingerbread, it is just the plot device, that moves things along, like the Maltese falcon.
Other memorable characters (and there are several) include Yondu (Michael Rooker), the good/bad guy bandit who sort of raised Peter; Gamora (Zoe Saldana), one of the Guardians, who is the daughter of Thanos (Josh Brolin), a really bad guy who wants the orb; and The Collector (Benicio Del Toro), a powerful pawnbroker, for seemingly all of the galaxy.
Guardians of the Galaxy has lots of action, some original humor, memorable scenes and a great look. What else could you possibly want from a summer blockbuster?
Despite a colorful raccoon and a tree, Guardians is not for young children, and most definitely earns its PG-13 rating. It is aimed, thankfully, towards a mostly adult crowd.
Orlando and the Disney AMC theaters, did play host to a red carpet event Wednesday, with one of the stars from the film, Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator, In America).
The role was a bit of a departure for the Academy Award-nominated (In America) star, but he apparently enjoyed every minute of it.
“There was five hours of make-up,” Hounsou said, on the carpet, just prior to the screening, but the end result was worth it. “There was a lot of fun on the set, working with this group. And the actor, who plays one of the bad guys, who doesn’t fare so well, is optimistic about the future of it being a franchise.