Sunday, 3 August 2014



The Avengers: The Next Generation.

122 Minutes. Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Djimon Hounsou, Karen Gillan, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close & Benecio Del Toro. Director: James Gunn.

Hooked on a feeling? Then that new sensation might just be the Marvel movie mixtape of superheroes that they've been putting out for decades now. In the wake of D.C.'s Batman and Superman success, the class of X-Men and family of Fantastic Four came first, but even they needed a reshuffle and reboot respectively in this age of Avengers that began with Robert Downey Jnr's classic, charismatic Tony Stark 'Iron Man' origin story and ran through all the assembling phases of Captain America, Thor and The Incredible Hulk solo movies and sequels. Continuing all the way to the 'Age Of Ultron' follow up next year that will try to beat the biggest and best superhero assembling of all time. Still in what looks to be Marvel's greatest year from the best Captain America ('The Winter Soldier'), Spider-Man ('The Amazing Spider-Man 2') and X-Men ('Days Of Future Past') movies that are beating all the Summer monster movie competition from 'Godzilla' to 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes', their latest and last film of the 2014 they've dominated looks to be more than just their funnest and best. This most entertaining film could be better than those other heroes for hire. With these latest rag tag bunch of collaborating characters that see Lego pieces, wrestlers and Star Trek, sci-fi aliens suit up with some bark and bite in one heavenly assembly of a hell sent team. As Marvel are smart enough to meet superheroes with science fiction for an opera of space redefinition in this big bang, geek digital day and age is this truly the new Avengers?

These days you know what to expect from a Marvel movie. From looking out for our old friend Stan Lee to almost being thrown out by the cinema ushers cleaning up the popcorn for that cult after credits clip. Still from 'Firefly' to 'Farscape' no one was expecting this 'Battlestar Gallactica', that sees a universe-wide crew led by a Han Solo, 'Star Wars' esque outlaw fighting over an orb that looks more like a Death Star paper weight than the Avengers Tesseract looked like 'Star Trek's Borg cube ship on a staff night out. Channeling not only his inner Harrison Ford, but his R.D.J. Tony Stark one too for a charming and cocksure charismatic turn as Peter Quill, Chris Pratt is Star Lord. Who?! Star Lord man! The legendary outlaw like John Stamos and the 'Moneyball' big hitter and 'Parks & Recreation' actor that after voicing the lead Emmett in this years biggest blockbuster 'The LEGO Movie' is now showing himself here as Hollywoods next biggest star. About to take a trip to 'Jurassic Park' next year too, everything really is awesome for the new franchise face. Showing the hallmark heart and humour that makes for todays leading men, this lord is the star but doesn't do it alone. After going all 'Avatar' blue and 'Star Trek' surviving red, sci-fi queen Zoe Saldana colours her career the green of her former federation roommate for a perfect performance as comic Goddess Gamora. Kicking comic book ass like she did alongside cap Chris Evans and Asgard gatekeeper Idris Elba in 'The Losers', right now Zoe has a trope of go to franchises that make her this giant genres most formidable female.

Still with all this star power its a professional wrestler and by comparison a somewhat amateur actor that lays the smackdown and almost steals the show. With concrete charisma that the Herculean Rock could only sniff a dream of, Dave Bautista is cooking as the droll Drax The Destroyer who is more than the engraved look of muscle and might, but a funny and fondly favourite character that has more dimensions than his chiseled frame. Even if he cant quite take it all literally. Still in this galaxy of gorgeous graphics that bring comic cells to creative life like no other and 'Dawn Of The Dead' Gunn directed amazing action its two of the green screen dreams that truly hold guard with two of Hollwood's biggest names vocally behind them. Playing a wooden tree with a three word, "I Am Groot" vocab, 'Fast and Furious' franchise forerunner Vin Diesel shows why his gravelly growl was perfect for the gentle 'Iron Giant'. Bringing more depth and emotion to this oak strong performance, this giving tree makes these three words as special as the ones everyone want to hear. Then there's one of todays biggest pin ups Bradley Cooper who seems to have woken up from the worst 'Hangover' and into the body of a swearing and spitting, genetically CGI modified racoon. This rocket man however soars as the Oscar nominated star shows real range with a sometimes unbelievable and others uncanny voice. Ladies I'm afraid it may not look like him, but Cooper truly sounds like something else giving an iconic Marvel character and combo new life in this next generation. Aint nothing like him, except him! Rocket and Groot are the new R2-D2 and C-3PO in this guarded galaxy far, far away. Even with this terrific team of all-stars we have a cast-list of some of the biggest names in the business adding to Marvel's family and friends.

From an unrecognisable 'Hobbit' Elf king Lee Pace who looks like he's bench pressed a few Hobbit's in a villain role, to an even more hard to identify Doctor Who partner in Karen Gillan with a Tardis skin colour, this cast is as fantastic as it is dynamic. Whistle while he outlaws, Michael Rooker, joins former 'Stargate' henchmen, come sci-fi soldier Djimon Hounsou, and the serious Glenn Close and funny John C. Reilly team of galaxy casts all the way down to T.V. stars like the gallant acting of Sharif Atkins of 'E.R.' and the A-hole, A-game of Peter Serafinowicz. On a quest to add small but significant star turns to this sci-fi usual suspects line up that also sees the classic camp collecting of Benicio Del Toro, Liberace it up. A cameo that was masterfully introduced like this movie at the end of the last Thor film...look out for the cracking Easter egg too. With all this and Josh Brolin rising, 'Guardians' has the big bucks for the big names and numbers too as a Marvin Gaye, Jackson Five and classic rock soundtrack bangs like a 'Cherry Bomb' and scores more significance than being a ghetto blasting nostalgia for the coolest film of the year. All this, plus what trip to the cinema is complete without a Bacon reference, sizzling on a 'Footloose' Kevin heat? Showing 'Sin City' and 'The Expendables' that the Summer season of blockbusters is still alive, despite 'Transformers' turning into a scud missile this film holds guard for the year of massive movies that Marvel began with the 'Winter'. In these star wars Marvel are out of this world in a galaxy of their own of intergalactic inspiration. We can only hope now that all these characters and teams get together for a real amazing assembling to marvel at. Its time for the Batman and Superman to smarten and suit up. Because right now Marvel's separate franchisees have us sold, hook, line and sinker. Oh what a feeling! TIM DAVID HARVEY.


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