‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ quirkiest of Marvel’s recent offerings

By Christopher K. Conner

The fourth Marvel Studios production of 2014, “Guardians of the Galaxy” stars Chris Pratt as Peter Quill. Quill is abducted by aliens the day of his mother’s death from cancer. Calling himself Star-Lord, Quill makes a living as a kind of space pirate, stealing and salvaging on contract.

Armed with a number of gadgets that include an environment mask, rocket boots and a powerful electromagnet, plus a walkman cassette player with one tape of his mother’s favorite music, Quill lands on an abandoned planet looking for a mysterious sphere. He intends on fulfilling a contract to recover an orb that actually belongs to his boss and abductor Yondu (Michael Rooker). Yondu leads the Ravagers, a large group of interstellar pirates.

On recovering the orb, Quill is confronted by Korath (Djimon Hounsou), a disciple of Ronan, who wants the orb. Escaping with it, Quill tries to sell the orb by the contract, but mentions that Ronan is after it, scaring the buyer. Without a buyer, Quill returns to the streets to find another and is intercepted by Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the adopted daughter of Thanos, who was sent by Ronan to collect the orb.

Because Yondu has put a price on Quill’s head, two bounty hunters also enter the fight. Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) is a genetically and cybernetically enhanced raccoon. Groot is a sentient tree-like humanoid voiced by Vin Diesel. All four combatants are ultimately taken into custody by Nova Corp and sentenced to the Kyln, a prison in space for the worst criminals.

Already on Kyln, Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) intends on killing Gamora because her boss Ronan killed his wife and daughter. Gamora has already admitted that she was planning on betraying Ronan and she was going to sell the orb to a third party. Quill convinces Drax that if he lets Gamora live, Ronin will come for her and Drax can seek his revenge when he does so.

Now Rocket, Groot, Quill and Gamora are working together to get the orb to her buyer, but first they have to escape Kyln and avoid both Ronan and the Ravagers. Following Rocket’s plan, the group escapes, accompanied by Drax who only wants to get closer to Ronan. The five go to the remote criminal outpost Knowhere to meet with Gamora’s buyer. The Collector (Benicio Del Toro), collects unique species and items from around the galaxy. He is willing to pay a high price for the orb because it contains an infinity stone. He describes the history of the stones and their destructive power before his own servant causes an explosion that leaves the Collector’s collection in ruins.

Finally understanding why Ronan wants the orb, Gamora and Quill resolve that the only safe place for the stone is with Nova Corps. Before they can escape from Knowhere, Ronan manages to defeat Drax and capture the infinity stone while the Yondu captures Quill and Gamora leaving Rocket and Groot to rescue everyone.

With the infinity stone, Ronan decides he no longer needs Thanos’ help and decides to destroy Xandar personally. Quill has to convince Yondu to let him go and help recover the stone from Ronin, then the group needs to hatch a plan that will stop Ronan when no one they need help from trusts them.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is certainly the quirkiest of Marvel’s recent offerings. The characters are wonderfully flawed, rough and borderline vulgar. The intra-team conflict of the Avengers seems like a bridge club disagreement in comparison to the outright disgust these characters have for one another.

Throughout the strife, natural and hilarious dialogue kept the mood lighter than the plot would indicate. The soundtrack provided by Quill’s mix-tape added an additional layer of levity to the story. Even faced with a plot full of death and destruction, this is a fun movie. So much fun that it may have patched the hole “Lucy” left in my summer and is the first film in recent memory I’d voluntarily consider seeing again.

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