Make way Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and even Avengers Assemble – the tenth film from the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ has some brand new cinematic heroes.
Larger-than-life and dangerously explosive, they’re so funny that boys and girls will love the film in equal measure.
Playing like a futuristic blast from the past, the premise is simple.
The fate of 12 billion souls now rests in the hands of a thief, two thugs, a murderer and a maniac.
And if these merry misfits don’t protect the galaxy, who will?
Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is an American pilot and interstellar adventurer.
Raised by thieves after he was abducted from Missouri in the mid-80s, he still dances to the decade’s hits on his Sony Walkman.
Desperate to be recognised as Star-Lord, Quill threatens the future of the whole cosmos when he steals an orb and becomes a target for nasty Ronan (Lee Pace).
To try to save the day, he’ll have to form an uneasy alliance with a bunch of extraterrestrials.
Zoe Saldana’s deadly character Gamora is seeking redemption from previous crimes, with the Avatar actress bravely turning from blue skin to unflattering Guardians’ green.
Bradley Cooper voices Rocket, a genetically tampered, trigger-happy, bounty hunting badass racoon who has a believably deep relationship with a walking humanoid tree called I Am Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel but with eyes glinting like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Throw in muscle man Drax The Destroyer (Dave Bausista), out to revenge the death of his family by Ronan, and the result is the kind of blockbuster that summer holidays were invented for.
Directed and co-written by Peter Gunn (Super) and shot by Britain’s own Ben Davis (Layer Cake / Kick-Ass), some of the effects are so gorgeously cheesy and the script so witty that the film never feels suffocated to within an inch of its life.
The wider cast includes Djimon Hounsou (Korath), John C Reilly (Rhomann Dey), Glenn Close (Nova Prime Irani Rael) and Benicio Del Torro (Taneleer Tivan / The Collector) and there’s a fine string of Kevin Bacon gags.
Powered by a mixture of classic hits and a stirring score by Tyler Bates (Watchmen), Guardians rarely pauses for breath.
It has the undatable spirit of Back To The Future and Raiders of the Lost Ark infused with a gargantuan sense of galactic fun we haven’t seen since Men in Black (1997) and the overlooked Galaxy Quest (1999).