A man, a raccoon, a tree, a hard bastard and the Wicked Witch of the West team up to save the galaxy from a guy who’s using a magic thing to destroy a planet.
This has all the universe-ending consequences of a massive sci-fi movie, with the light, casual feel of a Tarantino movie. With its poppy soundtrack and knowing winks, this takes the wisecracking humour of the first two Iron Man movies and cranks it up a few dozen notches, almost completely abandoning sincerity.
The characters, locations and plot are so zany this film basically feels like it’s being made up as it goes along, with an “if in doubt, paint their skin a primary colour” approach to character design. The magic orb that drives the plot is another glowing object of non-specific powers, like the tesseract from The Avengers and the red sort-of tesseract in Thor 2. It wouldn’t be a Marvel movie without a glowing whatjamacallit, which either gives the holder huge powers or destroys them, depending on what the plot requires.
But to complain about the silliness of a film with a talking raccoon as one of its main characters is rather silly in itself. To call these characters a band of misfits is the understatement of the century, with them feeling more like the product of a child’s imagination than a huge Hollywood studio.
Gently tying into The Avengers continuity, but not so much it would damage the Marvel Cinematic Universe if this were to flop, the baffling number of characters and worlds here don’t allow any time to develop the universe. No backstory is given for most characters, which is largely a good thing – I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s sick of superhero origins stories – but it doesn’t leave them feeling like them most well fleshed out bunch. The dead parents cliché is overused, and the world we are supposed to support the heroes in saving is so briefly sketched it feels completely irrelevant.
Yet for all these flaws, it manages to turn characters it freely acknowledges no-one has heard of into action heroes in their own right. The quips come thick and fast, and would put Tony Stark to shame, meaning this lives up to its promise of an entertaining ride.
Is this a film that will make you think? No. Will it move you emotionally? Nope. But will it provide an exciting break for an evening? Of course, and isn’t that really all you need from a Marvel movie?