Directed by James Gunn
Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
EARLY in the film, a young Peter tells his dying mother he fought with his friends because they were “squishing a frog for no fault of its”. It must have been a very fortunate frog. That’s the only time Peter, then or in his future self, spares a thought for any living being, two- or four-legged.
This is the level of destruction in Guardians of the Galaxy, spread across planets and species in this multifarious universe of ours. However, whichever planets the variously shaped ships with little respect for the laws of aerodynamics land on, they have a similarly painted sky, a uniform metallic architecture and lots, and lots, of water. This lack of originality also runs to the names of the main characters, be it Peter (Pratt, belonging to Terra, that is Earth), Gomora (Saldana), Drax (Bautista), Groot (Diesel), Rocket (Cooper) and Nova Prime (Glenn Close) or long-suffering villains Ronan, Yondu and Thanos.
Juggling all those names around, Gunn mercifully keeps the story simple, about an orb (always an orb) with infinite powers that everyone, from thieves such as Peter and do-gooders like Gomora to universe-destructors such as Ronan, want. All of them have dead family members driving them on, making the story line even more simpler. The orb itself suffers much, heart-stopping mishandling, but no one is worried till much after.
With Guardians of the Galaxy occupying the lower rungs in the Marvel universe, Gunn is allowed to take enough liberty to make his five heroes almost stumble into heroism despite their best intentions, especially the unlikely Pratt, to welcome levity and some subversion.
Of the others, Cooper steals the show as the mutated and much-tortured racoon who would rather put his head before his heart. Diesel plays the tree with fighting powers and self-curative abilities. His three-word vocabulary, “I am Groot”, actually grows on you as the firm progresses.
And really you have to smile when in an interstellar war, the hero remembers Footloose, even Kevin Bacon, to spice up things.