There are those typical superhero movies where the superheroes have important back stories, hide their identities, have emotional angles that affect their lives, are selfless and flawless. In director James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, the superheroes are criminals. The movie is not serious, like Captain America 2 and it’s not funny in a witty and smart way, like the Avengers. But it’s a weird movie that will either annoy you extremely or will have you in a continuous fit of laughter and provide you with one of the year’s most enjoyable experiences.
The plot mainly revolves around five intergalactic criminals, who come together because of their fortuitously conflicting quests, and befriend each other in order to stop a warrior of the “Kreen” race from destroying their galaxy.
The weird setup takes a while to get used to, but once you do, the movie is hilarious. There are some genuine laughs from the genetically modified tree, Groot (voiceover by Vin Diesel), who can only speak three words, and Bradley Cooper’s rodent, named Rocket is also equally jocular and also brings some sentiment with his obvious suffering-filled past that’s only implied. Even though the comedy is not from smart dialogues and witty banter, this idiosyncratic sense of humor just works and more importantly, none of it seems labored. The action scenes in diverse environments, especially the one in the beginning where the protagonists fight each other, and the background score, which, like the comedy, is just crazy, make the movie more fun. The visual effects, responsible for the futuristic machines and for different planets of the galaxy, are stunning. However, the CG on the inhabitants of these planets is not so impressive.
The movie does get a little insipid towards the end, when the plot stretches on to the planet of Xandar. The final face-off between Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and Ronan (blue skinned Lee Pace), seems a little cheesy, unconvincing and overdone. The species from different regions of the galaxy seem to differ only in their weird hair styles and ostentatious skin colors, reminiscent of the people from the Capitol in the Hunger Games. With all the creative ideas in the movie and all the CG tools at hand, there must be a smarter and unique way to depict aliens, especially in this kind of eccentric movie. Among the cast, Zoe Saldana, playing a green skinned alien warrior, Gamora, is the only one who disappoints, partly because her acting goes unnoticed under the flamboyantly bright and strange CG skin.
Every scene of the movie is a vociferous display of something totally unconventional from anything any comic-book movie has ever done. It’s a whimsical extravaganza that you may take a while to adjust to, but once you do, it’s a joy ride all the way. Don’t expect a serious movie and don’t look for anything conventional, just watch it for the fun and you will love it for certain.