Guardians of the Galaxy

Having almost conquered the super-hero action genre (their only real competition being Fox’s X-men movies), Marvel now have their sights on the sci-fi space opera. If this first attempt is any indication, they may be slated for similar success. Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t quite the strongest of their movies (that goes to The Avengers and The Winter Soldier), but it’s up there with the original Iron Man as second-best, and may be the most outright fun of the whole bunch.

The prerequisite sci-fi action and effects are in full effect. The action is shot too closely to truly admire but is entertaining; the effects are generally realistic enough to suspend disbelief while still showcasing plenty of cosmic razzle dazzle, and on at least one occasion are genuinely beautiful. Where the film shines, though, is its script. Writer-director James Gunn keeps the character interaction just serious enough to care about the proceedings while lighthearted enough to have fun, and shows a talent for realizing exactly what moments might come off as cliche and making them into something clever and amusing instead.

As Glenn Close (one among a surprisingly accomplished cast) mentions, it’s a bit like the original Star Wars in its ragtag group of characters and its lighthearted sense of adventure… but with the quirkiness of The Fifth Element – and more humor than either movie – mixed in.