Guardians of the Galaxy

Rated 5.0

If someone was gonna make a swell comic-book movie despite the aggressively calculating influence of both Disney and Marvel—it would be writer/director James Gunn. And yep, he did it. Gunn was writer of the better-than-the-original remake of Dawn of the Dead and he’s been a filmmaker to keep an eye on since graduating the Troma School of low-budget filmmaking, and wrote, produced and starred in The Specials, one of the first deconstructionist swipes at superheroes. The story here: Charming half-human/half-alien rogue Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) steals a MacGuffin and teams up with a band of misfits—including a foul-tempered talking raccoon and a sentient tree (voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, respectively)—to avert the destruction of the galaxy from some intergalactic dude. It’s kind of shambolic, but in a good way, and easily the most entertaining movie of the year, a delirious romp through the CGI cosmos. Gunn isn’t shy about wearing his influences on his sleeve, evoking the best aspects of the original Star Wars, Joss Whedon’s Firefly and all sorts of other fun stuff. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated PG-13.