Not a #SlatePitch! See my reasoning after the jump. Some very light spoilers.
So, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is basically just a mashup of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. The film opens with him as a child; he quickly leaves his homeworld after his closest relative dies. Gee, where have I seen this before?
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The film picks up 26 years later and Quill is now an intergalactic pirate/smuggler/lady's man. Just like, well:
Guardians features two characters who are easily turned into toys and provide comic relief for the kiddos.
One's short, the other's tall. One speaks in a phrase that is meaningless to outsiders but is easily interpreted by the other. Just like, well:
Of course, Rocket and Groot are a million times cooler than R2D2 and C3P0.
Rocket and Groot and Quill team up to save a princess who has been unjustly imprisoned:
Gamora, like Leia, is the take-charge type. But she's not shooting holes in trash chutes:
Gamora, it should be noted, sneaks on to a ship in order to deactivate an energy system. You mean like
Yes, I mean exactly like that.
I could go on in this vein. Drax the Destroyer is just Chewbacca with a penchant for Shakespearean dialogue. The big bad, Ronan the Accuser, is attempting to use an intergalactic weapon to blow up a planet. Kinda like
But smaller. And Ronan answers to a shadowy guy whose face we barely glimpse but is obviously the real power. Kinda like:
So yeah. When you hear someone describe Guardians of the Galaxy as just like Star Wars, they ain't funnin'. But here's the rub: Guardians of the Galaxy is better. It's funnier, the action sequences are more thrilling, the stuff for the kids plays better for adults, and the acting is, top to bottom, superior.* Director James Gunn set out to make an homage to the space operas of years gone by—but his homage is better than the source material he's aping.
*Seriously, go back and watch Star Wars and try to avoid cringing whenever Luke Skywalker speaks. Ugh.