Super heroes have been a little over-exposed lately. Marvel Comics has served up Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers. Now we are being treated to "Guardians of the Galaxy", a different cadre of saviors who reboot the idea of how a super hero should look and act.


Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), the only "human" in this equation, has stolen a powerful orb, unwittingly, that it seems everyone else in the universe wants. To keep it out of the hands of the extremely evil Ronan (Lee Pace), Quill eventually teams up with Rocket, a smart-mouthed, gun-toting raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), his tree-like companion, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), the very green Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), who is hell-bent on revenge for Ronan killing his family.


I have grown rather weary of these action adventures because most are too long. The studios apparently think more is better, but as proven by "Lucy", which is only 90 minutes, less can be more. However, "Guardians" does have its own flair. It's highly entertaining and, at times, downright hilarious.


Quill and his motley crew are very colorful characters, and I don't mean because Gamora actually has green skin. Cooper has a great deal of fun with Rocket --- a true bandit --- but with a big soft spot for his best friend, Groot, whose running shtick is answering everything with "I am Groot". One would think that would get old after a while, but, surprisingly, it doesn't.


Special effects are actually "special", especially when the star fleet encapsulates Ronan's huge ship --- very nicely done. The 3-D is exceptional but not a necessity. The make-up crew for "Guardians" encompassed 90 artists, and it is impressive. Ronan's face and attire alone could qualify for an Oscar. He's very creepy ---.


Unlike "Transformers 4", "Guardians of the Galaxy" isn't just for teen-aged boys --- or grown men. This film has wide appeal thanks to the deft hand of director James Gunn, who co-wrote the screenplay with Nicole Perlman. It's a summer blockbuster worthy of the moniker.


Opinion: See It Now!





Fans of Marvel Comics will flock to "Guardians of the Galaxy" without concerns about its worthiness. But as critics looking at the running time in excess of two hours, Jeanne and I had some angst, even dread, about attending this screening. As it turns out, our fears were unfounded because "Guardians" is entertaining from start to finish, thanks to --- guess what? --- the writing! Good writing always makes Jeanne happy.


The key is that the movie does not take itself too seriously. It is filled with humor throughout. That in itself is unusual for most super hero action flicks. Director and co-writer James Gunn, already slated for a sequel, has ensured that Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios will reap a solid return on their estimated $170 million budget.


In lieu of the typical super hero line-up consisting of heavily-muscled, Hollywood leading men and gorgeous women, "Guardians" features a truly rag-tag crew. There is the half human/half alien, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), the green-skinned  Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the muscle-bound, tattooed Drax the Destroyer (David Bautista), the living tree-creature named Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), and perhaps most importantly, the lean-mean-fighting-machine raccoon named Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper, with Gunn's brother Sean handling much of Rocket's physical on-set acting).


The storyline is simple: prevent the evil denizens of the universe, like Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), from obtaining a special orb that can make the holder of said orb all-powerful. What ensues are a myriad of chases and battle sequences (too long, however, as usual) amid one-liners, sight gags and clever dialogue you don't normally experience in this type of film. The whole event was quite a surprise --- see it in 3-D.


Opinion: See It Now!