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Guardians of the Galaxy
The Guardians. Trust them.
Photo: Marvel Studios

Guardians of the Galaxy
Directed by James Gunn
Rated PG-13
Run amock 1 August 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy is a geek-magnet with enough fire power to destroy an entire bucket of popcorn (jumbo-sized).

Guardians of the Galaxy

1988 + 26 = 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy carries with it a giddy, old-school sense of fun that makes it feel like a Star Wars movie (from the original Original Trilogy). It also feels a lot like The LEGO Movie, with a whiz-bang storyline that might as well have been concocted by a 9-year-old. The difference is The LEGO Movie was a kids' movie with plenty of adult appeal while Guardians of the Galaxy is more of an adult romp with plenty of kid appeal.

It's hard to argue too much with a movie that features a rascally raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook) and a leading man who must be some sort of intergalactic relative to Han Solo.

The raccoon is the legendary gun-toting Rocket Raccoon and the Han Solo carbon copy is the legendary Walkman-packing Peter Quill (Chris Pratt, voice of Emmet in The LEGO Movie). But Peter would rather be called Star-lord, the legendary outlaw of his still-juvenile imagination, despite his 30-something age.

In The LEGO Movie, everything is awesome. Here, everything is legendary.

Awesome Mix Vol. 1

That storyline with the kinetic energy of a gerbil running ram-shod in a discovery ball is best left described rather than explained.

It involves a smorgasbord of cool-looking spaceships, colorful aliens (literally; blues and greens and purples are popular in this galaxy) and something called The Orb, which, like a Faberge egg, holds a surprise inside, a powerful gem called the Infinity Stone.

The fate of the universe is dependent upon its safekeeping.

No biggie.

Star-lord, Rocket Raccoon, a tree creature called Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel, the Fast & Furious saga) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana, who's traded in her Avatar blue for a crisp green) are all over it - and all over the place.

Rocket Man (and Raccoon)

There's also a tender back story for Peter. His mom died of cancer when he was a young boy, but she spent enough time with him to emblem a healthy appreciation for classic rock and the power of the imagination. As it happens, traumatized by his mom's death, young Peter runs out of the hospital only to be abducted by space aliens. Cut to the opening credits.

With its desire to play off of '80s pop culture, including funny references to Footloose and a soundtrack packed with '70s and ' 80s rock, Guardians at times veers toward Joss Whedon terrain. Fortunately, it corrects course each time and provides a pleasant buzz of humor and action, all grounded, ultimately, by a hero (in his own mind, at least) who loved his mom.

Perhaps the best compliment that can be paid to this fizzy caffeine rush is that it seems destined to be a legendary movie of quotability and huge replay value.

And, of course, the Guardians' next movie is already in the works.

• Originally published at MovieHabit.com.

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