When the screen fills with the five-pronged army of characters who do not have even a single trait in common, even the mildest of skeptics is sure to harbor doubts as to their capabilities. But all misgivings are dispelled as the movie progresses and the unlikely combination of five does manage to save the galaxy from falling into the clutches of an autocratic tyrant.
Based on a comic strip of the same name, the movie ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ revolves around the main plot and while director James Gunn has retained all the main leads as also the supporting characters, he has deviated a bit from the literary plot. To his credit, the deviation seems to have worked well in the sense that this audio-visual adaptation carries a standalone quality while drawing its identity from a well-known series.
The story begins with the often-discussed theme of alien abduction (courtesy X-Files) wherein a nine-year old kid is nabbed by aliens outside his home while grieving his mother’s death and grows up into light-hearted, no-good and yet charismatic youth in a galactic city. Much of the first half of the movie is focused on development of each of the five characters wherein the youth is portrayed as Peter Quill/Star Lord.
Compelled by circumstances, he joins hands with ruthless green-skinned Zamora and muscle-man Draz who is deeply bitter about his tragic past. This trio expands into a quintet when Rocket Raccoon, a trigger-happy and glib rodent, and his self-appointed guardian Groot, a humanoid tree, also agree to contribute.
Could there be a more unlikely bunch of saviors? At first it is difficult to even imagine them together but the cohesion with which they operate, stand by each other and share an unspoken understanding is reflective of exemplary teamwork. Each of these five characters retains his unique personality but never fails to contribute to the team when the situation calls for it. So they could be described as being distinctly different from each other and yet single-mindedly united in their objective to save the galaxy, which is what teamwork is all about.
For viewers, there is a lesson to be drawn in leadership from Peter Quill as regards the way in which he balances the remaining four members and channels their talents to the team’s benefit. But the greatest lesson in friendship and loyalty is provided by Groot not only when he is busy looking after Rocket but also when he sacrifices himself to save his four friends from certain death by enveloping them within his invincible fold. Tragic though the consequence is but his selfless act provides sufficient inspiration to the others to wage this war till its purpose is realized.
‘Unity in diversity and adversity’ is the message that emanates from this saga that takes place amidst the most overwhelming and amazing backdrops and is sufficiently sprinkled with humor, action and excitement. However, in spite of all the spectacular technological effects, ultimately it is the message of upholding friendship, trust and greater good above self that trickles through in the most subtle way possible. And each one of the five warriors is attuned to respond to it in his/her peculiar way, whether it is the eloquent Peter Quill or the reticent Groot with his varied intonations of ‘I am Groot’.