Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy make their cinematic debut in James Gunn’s nutso, wilfully incoherent and very, very funny romp through space and 80s pop-culture references. And what a tonic they are to anyone suffering a spot of Thor-fatigue or Cap-ennui. Led by Chris Pratt’s hilarious part-Indy, much-more-Jack-Burton space-crook Star-Lord, these wisecracking accidental heroes (read: sociopaths) get involved in some nonsense about Ronan the Accuser’s (Lee Pace) quest to enslave the universe as they chase an outrageously valuable orb with an “Ark of the Covenant / Maltese Falcon kinda vibe” across worlds. But that doesn’t really matter.
There are things that don’t work; chief among them are Pace’s one-note shouty demi-God and Karen Gillan’s weirdly Species-esque assassin, who provide pretty hopeless foil to the eponymous intergalactic A-Team. A hackneyed airborne finale lifted straight from a couple of dozen or so other sci-fi pictures from the last 20 years also disappoints. But none of that actually matters either, because what does work is everything about the Guardians themselves, and almost everything that comes out of their mouths. Pratt anchors with a wicked charm, wit and abs combo, while Bradley Cooper’s Rocket, a psychotic racoon with self-esteem issues, and, more surprisingly, Dave Bautista’s Drax, an erudite hulk with no concept of metaphor, provide the strongest comic moments in a series of riotous set-pieces. With Zoe Saldana and Vin Diesel also leaving an impression as Gamora and Groot respectively, the somewhat bloated Avengers have got serious rivals on their hands.