I needed a big score to mark my return to the movies since 2007. “Guardians of the Galaxy”, which grossed $97 million its opening weekend, fit the bill perfectly. It’s a Marvel comic-based action film deftly directed by James Gunn. Within the first five minutes we are witness to a character’s death, an alien kidnapping, and a fight for a mysterious object called The Orb twenty six years later. Even if that confuses you, relax. All will be explained by the end.
The kidnapped Earth child is Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), who becomes known as Starlord, a for-hire mercenary who recovers items. The Orb turns out to be an ultimate weapon wanted by Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), who dispatches Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to get it for him. In a wild series of events, Gamora steals the orb, loses it, and gets involved in a scuffle with Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper), a talking raccoon, and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), a rambling living tree. All are captured and sent to a prison where we meet the final Guardian, Drax the Destroyer( former WWE wrestler Dave Bautista).
A visually exciting and funny prison escape ensues, and the actual story line takes over with its various subplots. Quill maintains that Ronan must not get the Orb, Gamora has her own plans for it, Drax wants to end Ronan’s life for killing his wife and daughter, and Rocket turns out to be a mechanical genius.
The movie itself boasts some more big names. Glenn Close is Nova Prime, a planetary leader, and John C. Reilly is her number one policeman Dey. Benicio Del Toro plays The Collector, who is Gamora’s fence, and Michael Rooker of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” is recognizable despite heavy makeup as Yondu Udonta, the alien who kidnapped young Quill.
There is too much going on to try to tell it all, but let’s say the main scenes are as follows: the escape from prison and the final encounter with Ronan, which involves the seemingly tragic death of Groot, but all is not as it seems, and there is a happy ending and the promise of sequels.
Rated PG-13 for violence and occasional rough language, if you like sci-fi and action films, “Guardians” will be one of your must-see films this year.