It’s been an eternity since the immortal words “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” scrolled across theatre screens worldwide, unleashing creative cinematic energies that have reshaped the universe of space fantasy action films. Star Wars, of course, is widely acknowledged as having arguably had the most profound influence on film-making in this genre (and on film-makers across all genres); and at first glance, even Guardians of the Galaxy appears (in storyline and character delineation) to have been inspired by George Lucas’ iconic film. But it’s worth remembering that the original Marvel comic rendition of Guardians came out, in fact, eight years before Star Wars. Now, eight years may be just a blink-of-an-eye moment in inter-stellar space, but it’s enough to establish original territorial rights, so to speak. But what renders Guardians endearing isn’t just its claim to that original fame, but the fact that its narrative, in the hands of director James Gunn, is so contemporaneously slick, packed in equal measure with spectacular thrills and rollicking, goofy drollery. The plotline is fairly simple. Peter Quill (played with consummate felicity by Chris Pratt), an ‘earthling’ who was abducted by aliens as a child, gets by mucking around in far pockets of the universe. He stumbles on a mysterious orb, and although he knows nothing of its capabilities or its value, he’s savvy enough to hold onto it because it’s suddenly become much coveted by other aliens with admittedly evil intentions, particularly warlord Ronan the Accuser. But retaining hold of it proves challenging, given that the comical bounty-hunter duo of raccoon Rocket and the arboreal Groot are on his tail, and the green-hued Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana and initially presumed to be Ronan’s emissary) wants to sell the orb for big money. Along with Drax, the muscle-bound and utterly literal-minded hulk, the five form an unlikely rag-tag army that wakes up to the momentous nature of its mission to secure the orb into safe hands in order to render the galaxy Xander immune to Ronan’s ruthless ambition.
There are many twists and turns to the plotline, each of them gripping without fail, but what gives the narrative its sparkle is the script, which sets up a steady and decidedly droll undercurrent to the proceedings. Rocket and Groot are quite an oddball couple, and the oafish Drax deadpans to a nic...
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