2014 / Director. James Gunn.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY represents all that I love about cinema and movies like this are the reason I keep going. Generally I am not a huge fan of comic book adaptations or superhero movies. I might like a few here and there and perhaps LOVE the occasional one but most of the time they grade on me and never appeal to my inner child the way I would like them to. For years I have been arguing that Ang Lee's HULK was the best film that Marvel had made... and now I'm almost certain that GUARDIANS has bumped it from the mantel. This is exceptional. Like many of you I have been watching the movie's progress through the various stages of production, thanks to James Gunn's generous and enthusiastic connection with fans via Facebook. From his early days at Troma to writing Scooby Doo to his first two feature films SLITHER and SUPER... it's been a joy to watch him work his way up the ranks and now the ultimate pay-off with one of the best movies of the year. People who aren't schooled in comic book terms can be forgiven for thinking that this is just another AVENGERS or FANTASTIC FOUR with a bunch of random characters thrown together into a crockpot of action. They would be wrong. The first point of distinction is that GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is a comedy... it's hilarious. Each one of the characters brings with them a unique personality and a level of humour unto themselves. From a cocky jock-like leader to a little creature with a complex to a tree with limited vocal range (and so on). These characters have been lifted from the comic books and brought to the screen so wonderfully, with an abundance of affection and a huge dose on sincerity. I needn't discuss the plot at all, because that is irrelevant to my reaction. The movie could have been about anything at all and my response would be the same. I was swept up in the chemistry and creative detail. The universe that these character inhabit is so gorgeously conceived and so much attention to detail has been given to it. Possibly the most genius aspect to the story is it's ongoing affection for the 1980s. Our hero leader is a child of the 80s, abducted from Earth at a young age, with only his walkman and a 70s & 80s mixtape as a keepsake. This provides the movie with infectious and awesome soundtrack and some truly memorable (hilarious) moments. It also allows him to make nostalgic cultural references (Millenium Falcon hehe) without seeming tongue-in-cheek. From start to finish, I left my adult self at the door and sat in wonderment like my 7 year old self. I felt like I was watching STAR WARS for the first time... what a wonderful movie experience. Mind you, my adult self did peep through the door at the right moment to catch a glimpse of Uncle Lloyd Kaufman as an unruly prison inmate. That made me very happy... it's nice to see that James Gun isn't forgetting where he came from in a hurry. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY will be fighting for a place in my top 10 list this year. Definitely.