Friday, 1 August 2014

REVIEW - GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (JAMES GUNN)


This new Marvel universe is so damn cluttered these days that Guardians of the Galaxy isn't even afforded the time to indulge in that most popular of modern superhero staples, an origin story. In fact, James Gunn's film is so eager to kick into gear and align itself with the franchise its studio is so dispiritingly keen on beefing up yet further that it seems to dispense with establishing even the most basic of tenets in its construction. Armed with flashy visual effects, colourful makeup and costumes, grand, over-complicated sets and a hell of a lot of characters, James Gunn is like a kid in a toy shop, which undeniably brings a sense of fun to Guardians, but consider this: would you trust a kid to helm a $170 million studio tentpole? Never mind, for no matter how shoddy Gunn's spatial sense in his action scenes, no matter how choppy the editing (from three editors, no less) is, this is a charming, refreshing blockbuster due to some key elements which really give it some pep. The screenplay, by Gunn and Nicole Perlman, is far from watertight, but it's liberally sprinkled with snappy humour, ably handled by an excellent cast of actors. Lead Chris Pratt and surprise standouts Dave Bautista and Vin Diesel (well, sort of Vin Diesel) are thoroughly hilarious, and casting directors Sarah Finn and Reg Poerscout-Edgerton have done an outstanding job in filling the film's many roles. This lightness of tone and the razor-sharp feel that Gunn and Pratt have for comedy, are enough to sustain an otherwise spotty superhero movie. Promisingly, though, for the inevitable sequel, Gunn displays an intermittent knack for emotive visual filmmaking, when he's given the space to try, at least. Nestled among the clutter here is a very effective movie indeed, and one that's certainly worth seeing.