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‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ (James Gunn, 2014)

Marvel Studios are taking the piss. They’re drunk on their own confidence after a riotously successful 6-year stretch, ramming out A-grade entertainment in a fully integrated world whilst their competitors fail to keep pace. Who would’ve thought a decade ago that either Guardians or April’s fantastic Captain America sequel would bulldoze the increasingly shabby Spider-Man franchise? Who could’ve predicted a Superman reboot could conceivably open to weaker reviews and lower box office than a Marvel sequel starring a lower-tier character? Whilst DC struggle to mount a Wonder Woman project, Marvel pump out workmanlike Thor pictures every other year. The world’s gone mad.

Guardians might feel less mythic and grand than the Star Wars sequel we’ll see next Christmas, but make no mistake, James Gunn has shot the best space adventure Disney’ll put out this side of the inevitable Guardians II. The thing moves breezily, no fat or time to pause as the ensemble are thrown together within fifteen minutes, zipping straight into an irresistible mix of snappy action, sharp banter and machine-gun raccoon. There’s an alternate universe where Lucasfilm released a Han Solo spin-off project in the late seventies that played a bit like this with Chewbacca, bounty hunters and a crew of fellow space pirates bombing around the galaxy to a pop music soundscape. Parks & Recreation’s Chris Pratt has the most watchable swagger this side of Tony Stark, rolling around this vibrant, colourful feature like a fresh moviestar braced to make an impact. The Jurassic World team are ridiculously lucky to have pinned him down just as his profile explodes. 

 

Vin Diesel plays a talking tree for fucks sake. How did they expect me not to go for that?

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