It seemed that everyone except Marvel were worried about Guardians of the Galaxy. The first movie not based on an established Superhero.  Even after the first rawkus trailer debuted, the skepticism could be heard on the tick-tack of a fan-boy keyboard.

Will it stand up to the likes of Iron Man?”

How will a sci-fi flick fare in the wake of the espionage tinged Captain America: The Winter Soldier?

Will the main-stay audience, now very much at home in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, accept a new gang not directly linked with what we’ve seen before?

Well, for those of you reading this with the above questions and just checking to see if you should part those sweaty palms with your dollar, the answer is very much “It kicks the glark out of all the above.”

For a movie so far removed from the previous Marvel releases and set in a galaxy far, far away, it’s probably the most human of the movies so far.  Guardians of the Galaxy actually benefits from breaking the shackles of a character who must learn to be good before they can wield their mighty shield/hammer/armour/rage monster.

Speaking of which, Star Lord is brilliant. Just the right balance of lovable rogue and terminal douche.  We never seem to linger on either which makes him more 3 dimensional than anyone you’ll find in Asgard.  Couple that with someone who is quietly capable, we have a new hero not jostling for his place amongst the “super friends.”  Chris Pratt manages to have as much fun as he wants, while reigning it in without you even noticing.

The rest of the cast seem to be having just as much of a blast as you are.  Lee Pace seems to relish every single line and gesture.  Imbuing Ronan the Accuser with a formidable determination to rid the galaxy of…well, everything, while chewing up scenery with every glance and jaw-jut.  Surprisingly even David Bautista gives Drax the Destroyer (you heard me right!) a wonderful arc from annoying apathy to air-punching hero.

In short, the film is an absolute hoot.  It benefits from the lackadaisical approach Iron Man had without feeling like it could come off the rails.  Which very much reflects the interstellar gang of ne’er dowels and their individual mission to find their place in the universe and amongst the surrogate family they find themselves in.  We dare you not to love each and every one of these guys by the credit roll.  It has everything from knock-down-drag-out scraps to spaceship dog-fights, but where this really succeeds is, regardless of what’s going on scene to scene, you’ll be uncontrollably rooting for this rag-tag band of damaged rebels.  You won’t realise you’ve been hoodwinked because (let’s face it) who doesn’t like smart-quipped fighting, spaceships, in-jokes and gun-toting raccoons?

All that being said, anyone worrying that there’s no Marvel U fix need not.  There are touches all over the place that will remind you why you stayed that extra ten minutes at the end of each Marvel flick. 

4* – Marvel: A New Hope

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