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Lisa’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Review : it’s got everything and the everything works!

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>> Also see : Clint’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” review

Seeing Marvel’s “The Guardians of the Galaxy” is like having a huge container of buttered popcorn, slathered on with cotton candy and salted down good – it’s got everything and the “everything” works.

The opening itself is a cinematic spectacle as we are introduced to Peter Quill as a child on Earth watching his mother dying in the hospital – running outside, he has a strange encounter from space.

Twenty-six years later we see Quill, aka Star Lord (Chris Pratt) as a jokester/scavenger dancing around on another planet to an “awesome mix tape” from the ‘70s (his mother gave it to him), looking for his next big score by finding a mysterious metal orb for the “Broker.” Quill ends up getting more than he bargained for when some evil, powerful bad guys go after him (along with a blue-skinned mentor who keeps saying that he stopped others from “eating” Quill as a child).

Then the film really takes off when Quill brings the orb to the Broker on the planet Xandar. When the Broker finds out who wants it – an evil being named Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) who is under the guidance of an even more evil being named Thanos – he backs out of the deal. Enter the female green alien Gamora (a lovely but lethal assassin, portrayed by Zoe Saldana), Rocket (a genetically-engineered Raccoon) and his sidekick Groot (a walking, talking treelike creature) to fight over who gets the orb, which is worth a great deal of money. Quill finds out also that the object is much more dangerous and powerful than it seems, and Gamora wants to make sure it gets into the right hands.

All get arrested and the prison they get thrown into is like something out of the cantina in the first “Star Wars” movie. The group ends up deciding to escape the prison together and take the orb with them, meeting and befriending Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) along the way.

After a spectacular break-out, the five end up on a mining colony that is the actual head (I kid you not) of a celestial being, where the being’s tissue and other parts are being taken to be sold elsewhere in the galaxy.

When the orb is taken from them yet again, the group is faced with a choice – hunt down the orb to protect the planet Xandar and the rest of the galaxy, most likely dying in the attempt – or bow out?

With star appearances by John C. Reilly, Benicio Del Toro, Glenn Close and Djimon Hounsou, along with the voices of Rocket and Groot by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel respectively, the sci-fi comedy-drama comes across as realistic with excellent dramatic moments between the characters.

The visuals of the other worlds, spaceships in flight and other creatures are especially startling and real-looking. And if Han Solo had a kid with Princess Leia, Peter Quill might well be that son.

Also, with the “Guardians” fighting alongside the Avengers in today’s comics, there could be much more to expect (perhaps a team-up?) in future installments.

Pratt, Saldana and Bautista are all standouts in the film, with the two CGI characters (Rocket and Groot) more than holding their own – the writing is superb (Nicole Perlman and director James Gunn) as well as Gunn’s direction and vision.

Like one person I met going out the door of the theatre said, “I can’t wait to see it again!”

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