Guardians of The Galaxy: Not your usual superhero movie

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014


“NOT another superhero movie!” I told my three boys when they convinced - err, tag-teamed - me last weekend into watching a film which I knew would surely make any tele-serye addicted mom feel disoriented, much less, overwhelmed by sensory overload.

So there I was once again, lined up with popcorn and soda in hand, as I tried mightily to condition myself to accept the inevitable: two hours of total visual punishment, which ruled out the possibility of violent reactions from this writer, as I was surrounded by fanboys of all shapes and sizes, including my own brood.

But as the opening scene of the Guardians of the Galaxy unfolded with a buffed up Richard Pratt, who plays the lead character Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord, prancing and gyrating to a 70s tune on his WalkMan, as he grabs and kicks what look like miniature velociraptors, I felt that this might not be a bad movie after all.

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And this was exactly the positive vibe which prevailed throughout the whole movie; loose, hilarious and sometimes outlandish, something which was quite unexpected from Marvel studios which of late has been churning out blockbusters featuring powerful but dark, brooding heroes such as Thor, Wolverine and Captain America.

The fact that the film doesn’t take itself too seriously works to its advantage, as Director James Gunn pictures the protagonists not only as ass-kicking, laser cannon-wielding defenders of the celestial sphere but also as other-worldly beings (only Quill actually qualify as human, or as half human) which could actually could give Jay Leno or David Letterman a run for their money.

Make no mistake, the movie’s heroes are all dead-serious in fulfilling their mission, and that is, recovering a silver orb that packs enough power to destroy not only whole planets but entire galaxies as well. Whoever possessed this orb could significantly tilt the balance of power across the cosmos and throne themselves as Gods.

Green-skinned Gamora, (portrayed by the lithe Zoe Zaldana), adopted daughter of galactic conqueror Thanos who was reared from childhood to be a killing machine, considers the sphere as her ticket to another life.

Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper), a cybernetically-engineered raccoon and Groot, his endearing man-tree sidekick, are also hell-bent on getting their hands on the orb for the financial rewards it could give them, the very same reason Quill has his eyes on it.

It is only Drax (played by WWE wrester Dave Bautista), a wounded warrior with a violent past, who is fueled by an entirely different motivation: Exacting justice on those responsible for the death of his wife and daughter, which include Gamora and Ronan, (played by Lee Pace), Thanos’ top henchman.

The team party really begins when the five get together in an inter-galactic prison cell and engage in endless banter as they devise a plan to escape. Cooper’s Rocket would qualify as a regular in Saturday Night Live with his sharp, witty spiels, while Bautista steals the show mainly because of his penchant to take things too literally for comfort.

Pratt’s portrayal as Star-Lord is spot-on, as he infuses the character with a boyish, self-deprecating charm that would endear him even to his fiercest opponents. The green-skinned Zaldana also has a sense of humor but would rather let her fists do the talking.

But what makes the film stand-out from the usual superhero flick - aside from its first-rate digital effects and prosthetics – is the lively interaction among the lead characters, which gave them, including Groot and Rocket, a human face. Gunn gives each character his/her moment to shine, as they display a wide range of emotions not usually seen in a movie of this genre.

As expected, the ragtag team of intergalactic misfits save the day and live to fight another battle. And based on the movie’s end-credits, we can expect a sequel within a year or two. Marvel has another sure winner in its hands.

Though I’m not entirely a fan of superhero flicks, I think that I fell in love with this movie because it has heart. I must agree with my hubby and kids that the guardians of the Galaxy rock!

***

For comments and suggestions, please feel free to reach me at mendoza.jennygrace@gmail.com.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 07, 2014.

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