Marvel Studios has a pretty good track record at the box office, and its newest release, "Guardians of the Galaxy" is no exception. The superhero film follows a group of misfits who band together to save the universe from an evil force, with the background of music from the 1970s and 1980s. At one hundred and twenty-two minutes long, the film is as ambitious as it is visually striking, and seems to be another win for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The film opens with a young Peter Quill (Christ Pratt) on Earth listening to a walkman before he is whisked away on a space adventure. The opening space scenes of the film are a bit choppy, with information being thrown around every two seconds without a lot of direction. One short time jump later, and Quill is salvaging on an abandoned planet when he comes across a strange object.
This object, called the Orb, attracts the attention of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a green alien assassin who works for the enemy Ronan (Lee Pace). When Gamora finds Quill, who is now calling himself Star-Lord, the pair fight until they are apprehended by a pair of bounty hunters. Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) is a giant tree like figure and Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) is a lab experiment raccoon with witty humor and tactics, but all four of them end up captured by local law enforcement.
With the unlikely alliance formed, the team uses their unique skills to get out of tough situations and find a way to protect the galaxy. Throw in an enforcer named Drax (Dave Bautista) who takes everything literally and there is an even balance of off kilter comedy and suspenseful drama. The group ventures to different areas of the galaxy chasing leads and trying to stay ahead of the enemy. There is an emotional depth to the characters that hasn't been totally apparent in previous Marvel movies, which adds to the charm.
Meanwhile, Ronan races to find the group with the help of Nebula (Karen Gillan), the daughter of Thanos who wants the Orb so he can control the universe. They track the guardians to the planet Xandar and choose Nova for the first city that will be under control of Ronan. At the same time, a group of Ravagers led by Yondu (Michael Rooker) who have also been looking for Quill, show up and take an unexpected side in the battle.
The film is infinitely likable and is a hit with both critics and fans of the Marvel cinematic universe. However, the unusual pacing of the film and the music choices are just as amazing as they are bizarre. Throw in many different action sequences with heavy CGI, colorful jokes, and well developed characters and this film is as much superhero as it is science fiction comedy. Directed by James Gunn, the film has been in the works since 2010, and was first announced at Comic-Con in 2012. A sequel to the film, entitled "Guardians of the Galaxy 2," is currently scheduled for release on July 28, 2017.