Guardians of the Galaxy is just an interstellar version of The Avengers, but its expansive space outlaw adventure is filled with enough sense of humor, entertainment, heart and visuals to be enjoyable.

Brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits-Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand with the galaxy’s fate in the balance. (C) Walt Disney

When news broke out that Guardians of the Galaxy was chosen as the next franchise many were skeptical. They’re a cult hit with a gun-toting raccoon and a lumbering tree which sounded like CGI mess waiting to happen.

But with Marvel’s successful formula Guardians of the Galaxy is this year’s The Avengers in Outer Space.

This is both bad and good.

Bad guy wants an infinitely powerful space rock who turns out to be a minion of Thanos. Eventually he succeeds.  This time around a rag tag gang of criminals must band together, get over their issues and save the world.

Like the Avengers, the film is able to deliver visual splendor with endearing characters to root for, but in a more expansive world. The gang travels across the cosmos for a lucrative gig, fending off danger and old enemies while trying to deal with each other. It will make you care about a raccoon and a tree. Edit: The cast is a good match to their characters, but I find Batista as the weak link in terms of acting.

Eventually the stakes get higher. But the usual doom and gloom is offset by its sense of humor and soundtrack, which gave the film its own personality. The Guardians are like the scrappy juvenile delinquent cousins of the upper middle class ivy league Avengers.

The easily digestible narrative is enough to give the action and plot a purpose, rather than some senseless Michael Bay abomination.

But the formula is getting stale.

The narrative is generic – characters with their own excess baggage set aside their differences to become the unlikely heroes.

The plot is predictable – said characters learn a valuable lesson about friendship, teamwork, self-redemption and saves the day. They battle another simplistic villain, which is just a proxy for something more sinister.

The formula comes with the same ingredients from other franchises – the loveable jerk/Han Solo stand in, the bad-ass female with a dark past, a powerful organisation who turns out to be filled with boring but heroic people, a near death life altering experience for the protagonist, and an epic showdown over a city.

Guardians of the Galaxy is enjoyable but not re-watchable and ultimately forgettable. If the Marvel universe could diversify (not tack on side characters) its testosterone filled pasty superhero staffing agency and tap a formidable villain, there’s a huge potential there for something better.

My Rating: 7/10

Alternative Movie Poster by Orlando Arocena

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