A bounty hunter finds himself pursued by powerful enemies after he steals an orb. Realising that the orb can be deadly in the wrong hands, he forms a team with four other dodgy individuals, all united by a common cause - to keep the orb (and what it contains) from the wrong hands.
Marvel's latest offering is quite unlike any in its genre. Apart from wit, guile, strength and a gift for being resourceful, these Guardians are quite the underdogs. Peter Quill (Pratt) is the aforementioned bounty hunter and the villains - Ronan (Pace) and his lord Thanos (Brolin) - want the orb for what it contains.
Thanos sends the chartreuse-coloured Gamora (Saldana) to planet Xandar to steal it from Quill, but their ensuing tussle on the street attracts the attention of a genetically engineered raccoon, Rocket (Cooper) and his tree-mutant companion Groot (Diesel). The subsequent melee lands the bunch in a galactic prison called The Kyln, where they meet the muscular Drax (Bautista) who takes everything literally.
Post-prison break, Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot (vocabulary limited to "I am Groot") form a hesitant alliance, the aim being to keep the orb from Ronan and Gamora's half-sister Nebula's (Gillan) grasp and then sell it. From Xandar to the Kyln, the action shifts to Knowhere, an interstellar trade station shaped like a gigantic alien-like head.
Although a team, Gunn gives each Guardian a well-thought-out personality. Refreshingly innovative, delightfully quirky, very well-made and even boundary-bending, the humour keeps rolling with laser-blast frequency in this wildly imaginative and thoroughly entertaining film. The screenplay is tighter than a racetrack with hairpin turns, but the narrative does have a few fissures.
Despite these chinks, the charming performances, strange characters (don't miss Del Toro as The Collector), spaceships and of course, the 70s soundtrack (a highlight by itself) make this one a heck of an intergalactic romp.
Don't miss Stan Lee's customary cameo and in case you're new to Marvel film lore, stay past the end credits roll.