Guardians of the Galaxy

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09/08/14

The creators of Guardians of the Galaxy would probably like to think that their film is a cut above your average space opera – and indeed, there is much about it that I absolutely loved. But I would also have to admit that there are several elements that seem horribly cliched. The plus points: an unusual cast that includes a talking racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and a monosyllabic talking tree (Vin Deisel). Hero Chris Pratt’s nicely sardonic patter neatly undercuts the film’s more pompous passages, and for once here’s a kick-ass heroine (Zoe Saldana) who has a bit more depth than your average green-skinned alien. And then there’s that sublime soundtrack of 80’s classics…

But there are several not so good points. A needlessly complicated plot. Everyone seems to be chasing a metal orb with the power to destroy the galaxy, but at times, it’s hard to fathom anyone’s motivation. The inevitable evil villain (Lee Pace as Ronan) who talks as though he’s just swallowed a bottle of rohypnol and spends most of his time smiting his enemies. The occasional walk-on megastar – Glenn Close and Beniccio Del Toro, dressed up to the nines but given very little to do. And one of those huge special effect climactic battles where the ‘Guardians’ seem to destroy half of a city in their attempts to save it. (See Team America: World Police.)

Of course, the runaway success of this first instalment means that the series will have a sequel and it will probably be even bigger, louder and just as prone to cliche. For me, this is a film in opposition with itself and the score reflects that imbalance.

3.8 stars

Philip Caveney

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