Since 2008, Marvel Studios have been creating a cinematic universe - rolling out yearly films and impressing audiences all over the globe. 2012's Avengers Assemble was a high point for the company: seeing all their heroes clash for one epic, gigantic film. It was delightful and fun. This year, with Marvel's second film for 2014, risk was taken as the MCU dished out something like never before. The Guardians bring a whole new meaning to the words delightful and fun. Move aside Avengers.

2008's Iron Man saw the birth of this beautiful, clever universe from Marvel. The film was classed as a risk. Not many had heard of the philanthropist billionaire but, now, he's a globally loved character. 6 years later and risk is again bouncing around the Studios' latest project - Guardians of the Galaxy. Near to no one had heard of the galactic heroes, prior to the films announcement, and with a daft sounding space premise it was looking like a dangerous move from Marvel. It's not. It reflects on the past years and shows that risks is what founded this universe and that you should never doubt Marvel Studios because they deliver, especially on their riskiest adventures.

Guardians of the Galaxy sees Chris Pratt as the audacious adventurer Peter Jason Quill rally together a band of misfits in order to, basically, guard the galaxy from the villainous Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser.

The film opens to our hero's backstory - we find out how Quill managed to get himself from Earth to a whole other planet and learn of the tragic passing of his Mother. We then skip forward 26 years to see him jamming to Redbone's 'Come and Get Your Love' as the title drops. It's funny and shows we're in for a treat. We then follow Star-Lord (what he calls himself) and see him get caught up in some trouble as he tries to steal a mysterious orb that Ronan is also after. Some aliens set out to retrieve the orb and we see a coo little chase but the fun really begins once our main character has made his escape. It's all done nicely to a beautiful score. Quill is constantly carrying a cassette player around and this means that we get some music at perfect times. There are lots of earworms too. 

When Star-Lord discovers the true power of the orb and the damage is can do he forms the most unlikely of alliances, with a group of misfit loners, and they all join forces before it's too late. Guardians puts the team right in the spotlight and focuses primarily on them (duh?) and the differences and troubles they face after first encounters. It is superbly done. When we first meet each Guardian, they're all perfectly fine riding solo. This makes their coming together even richer as the way they put aside everything and come become is heartfelt and moving.

First joining Pratt is Zoe Saldana's Gamora - a fierce, green assassin. She was trained to kill by Thanos and Ronan but she left to carve out her own path in life and is now a powerful, sharp force and mind. Next is WWE wrestler Dave Bautista as the ferocious Drax the Destroyer. He's powered solely by his motive of seeking vengeance upon Thanos and Ronan (making for an intriguing first meet with Gamora). Then we have the fuzzy hothead Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and his companion, a tall, sentient tree (voiced by Vin Diesel) whose vocabulary only includes 3 words - I and am and Groot (in that order too). The abstract characteristics of this colourful bunch reflect nicely to make for lots of laughs and crazy moments, as well as nice quiter, heartwarming moments too.

There is a scene, that I'm sure will prove popular, early on which sees this band of misfits rally together for the first time as they team up to try and break out of a highly guarded prison. It's fun and energetic and sees our heroes really unite and kick ass, discovering their true power as a team: "We're the fricking Guardians of the Galaxy," says a proud Rocket. It also shows off Gunn's strengths and captures this film as a whole - unique, bold and a lot of fun.

The cast is ace. They all bring magnificent, profound performances to the table, really grounding their oddball dynamics and making this film all the more awesome. Diesel and Cooper are simply wonderful. Their voices couldn't be more perfect for their characters. Bautista is a surprise here, putting away his WWE credentials and proving emotion and quality acting for Drax. Zoe Saldana also leave a positive impression, as always. Our central character, Pratt, undoubtedly, excels. He's becoming a big name in Hollywood and his strong performance as the whimsical, witty Earthling is sure to take him far.

However, where the heroes succeed, the villians fail. Good performances come from Karen Gillan's Nebula, Lee Pace's Ronan and Djimon Hounsou as Korath but they feel very underwritten and lack the awe that our heroes bring. Nebula's complex sisterly relationship with Gamora doesn't get much focus and attention and Korath just gets sidelined. Also, the all-powerful Thanos (Josh Brolin) is disappointing. He's poorly CG'ed (in a film that is, otherwise, visually stunning) and he only has a few minutes of screen-time and even when he does appear, he doesn't leave a good impression.

Marvel always brings humour to the table and Guardians is easily one of their funniest films yet. The banter between the characters is sure to draw some chuckles from the audience but the lion-share of laughs come from Rocket and Groot - Rocket's steamy, brazzen attitude and Groot's many rib-tickling outtakes of 'I am Groot'. His one-liner can come into the play at just the right time and will often alter in tone. We find out that Rocket is able to translate the large tree-man's vocals into different meanings and we come to love their integral, beautiful friendship.

As with any other Marvel blockbuster, there is some crazy action. It's fun to watch and is augmented by sleek, smooth and immersive 3D. Although, the final is a little tedious. It's a typical Marvel finale involving big set-pieces and an SFX heavy climax. This one also feels and looks a lot like the ending of last year's Thor: The Dark World but, nonetheless, it can be cool to see play out because, let's be honest, who doesn't love a good fight? 

Guardians of the Galaxy is a delightful piece of cinema. Bursting with color and impressive aesthetics, what we have here is fun and remarkable new world. These easily loveable new characters are also sure to entertain. This is Marvel at its finest. Get ready to get hooked on a feeling for this!
★★★★☆

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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