Review: Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is Delightfully Weird

A witty sci-fi flick that’s bursting at the seams with action, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a far cry from the Earth-centered superheroics of the “Avengers” in the best way possible.

Retaining the self-aware humor of the “Iron Man” and “Thor” films, the studio’s latest release ditches the confines of our planet to explore the utterly absurd cosmos of the Marvel cinematic universe. “Guardians,” with it’s campy and fun 80s vibe, is an amusing homage to the space fantasy films of yesteryear.

The Han Solo-like protagonist of this interstellar adventure is “Parks and Recreation” funnyman Chris Pratt, who plays the affable Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord. The wisecracking earthling, who was abducted by a group of space-pirates as a child, is on a mission to steal a mysterious orb in “Guardians” that, unbeknownst to him, has the power to destroy the galaxy.

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Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) serves as the film’s veritable Darth Vader; a villain who wants the sphere so he can give it to the mad titan Thanos (Josh Brolin) who, in exchange, will destroy the peaceful planet of Xandar.

The evil Ronan sends Gamora (Zoe Saldana), an assassin and one of Thanos’ daughters, to find Quill and retrive the world-crushing weapon. The green-skinned mercenary isn’t the only one after him though, as Rocket, a gun-totting raccoon (Bradley Cooper), and his pal Groot, a butt-kicking tree (Vin Diesel), want the bounty that’s placed on Quill’s head.

The rag-tag group of outlaws eventually land in prison, where they meet Drax (Dave Bautista), a muscle-bound maniac who is hell-bent on killing Ronan for murdering his family. Realizing that the villain wants the orb so he can further terrorize the galaxy, Quill and company put aside their differences and team-up in order to stop Ronan.

At times walking the line between “Space Balls” and “Star Wars,” director James Gunn’s latest work is an amalgam of action and humor that is delightfully weird and refreshingly unique.

While “Guardians” certainly honors past sci-fi flicks, the film is also a study in 80s pop culture, explaining its wonderfully nostalgic soundtrack and a few “Footloose” jokes. Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman crafted a smart and funny script that will have you smiling ear-to-ear throughout the film.

Thanks in part to cinematographer Ben Davis, who is also be getting the call for “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the film is also a fantastic visual spectacle that demands to be watched in stunning 3D.

After aiming for the stars with its newest franchise, it looks like Marvel has struck gold again with “Guardians.”