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Guardians Of The Galaxy ***

Is it worth $10? Yes

“Guardians Of The Galaxy” is an unabashed entertainment that isn’t afraid to get a little silly amidst all its end-of-the-universe drama. Chris Pratt is an action hero, Zoe Saldana is green, Vin Diesel voices a tree and Bradley Cooper voices a psychotic raccoon. Conventional it certainly is not. That’s part of its charm.

The characters are a deadly, quirky lot who fall backward into saving the universe. It’s all about an orb. Peter Quill (Pratt), who calls himself “Star-Lord,” steals it, Gamora (Saldana) steals it from him, and the villainous Ronan (Lee Pace) can’t wait to get it (a college drinking game based on who has the orb is in the near future). In prison after publicly battling for the orb, Quill and Gamora team with Drax the Destroyer (pro wrestler Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Cooper) and Groot (Diesel) to escape. Their plan is to sell the orb to The Collector (Benicio Del Toro) and split the money, but when they realize the danger Ronan and his boss Thanos (voice of Josh Brolin) present, plans change.

Director James Gunn has essentially made a comedy with roaring action, and infused the narrative with ‘70s and ‘80s pop music to give it a little flair. Never in an interstellar space adventure do we expect to hear “Come and get Your Love,” “If you Like Pina Coladas” and “Hooked on a Feeling,” but doing so never lets the story feel too far from home, meaning it’s relatable and engaging. Watching Pratt (“Parks & Rec”), who’s headed to the A-list after this, dance to the songs in the face of grave danger helps. In fact, his Quill doesn’t take much of anything seriously, which gives the film lighthearted appeal.

It is often the unexpected that makes us laugh the most with comedy, and because nothing is what you expect in looking at any of the five Guardians, there’s ample room for creativity. Gamora is a sexy and lethal green alien, Groot has one oft-repeated line, “I am Groot” (which Diesel said he recorded “about a 1,000 times”), but proves repeatedly resourceful, and Cooper sports a New Yawk accent to give Rocket Raccoon needed attitude to offset his diminutive size. Acting newcomer Bautista takes everything literally as Drax, which leads to some of the funniest bits.

Although this takes place in the same Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as “The Avengers,” none of the main characters from the Avengers’ storyline appear.

Here’s how it all comes together: There are six infinity stones that offer absolute power: The Tesseract from “The Avengers” was one, the Aether from “Thor: The Dark World” is another, and the orb is the third. The other three will be introduced leading up to the third “Avengers” film (likely 2018), at which point it’s believed that the Avengers, Guardians, Ant-Man and whoever else Marvel has presented on screen will battle Thanos for the stones.

Back to “Guardians Of The Galaxy.” It’s a trip, and you certainly don’t need to have seen any of the other Marvel movies to get a kick out of it. It’s funny, action-packed, has spectacular visual effects, and most importantly is an out-of-this-world good time.

Did you know?

The next MCU film, “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” opens May 1, 2015.

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