[This is a review of the Guardians of the Galaxy season 1 premiere. There will be SPOILERS.]
Disney XD's Guardians of the Galaxy delivers an exhilarating action-packed adventure into an already expansive Marvel universe that shows no signs of slowing down.
While the series' first episode, entitled 'Road to Knowhere' aired a few weeks ago, Disney is calling this two-part hour long premiere the official launch of the series. Director James Gunn has stated that while this series takes place after the events of the highly successful film, it is a standalone story with no ties to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, you can kiss canon goodbye and just sit back and enjoy this wonderful production by the good people at Disney.
The freedom bestowed upon Disney XD is actually a blessing, as the creators have little to worry about in terms of making sure every aspect of the story fits in perfectly with the films. Instead, we are given a delightful dose of our favorite heroes as they begin their new adventures as an official team.
From the very beginning, we learn from Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord) that the group has decided to call themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy, but the dilemma they all face is if they want to be known as heroes, or outlaws. Quill, in all his carefree charm tells Rocket Raccoon that they should be able to be both. Like Joss Whedon's Firefly series, which had a similar ragtag group of scoundrels, the Guardians will have discover what it is they actually want to do with themselves in this big old galaxy.
Thankfully, the team runs into Star-Lord's old running mate Yondu. The highly volatile blue alien is up to no good as usual when he lures the Guardians into a trap of his own making. A change from the film is immediately made known as Korath the Purser is revealed to be alive. Veteran actor Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator) portrayed this character in the live-action adaptation. In last year's movie, Korath was killed by Drax the Destroyer, but thankfully through the magic of animated television, he is very much alive and in possession of a cosmic item referred to as the Cryptocube.
Thanos himself makes an appearance, as we see him speaking with Korath. According to legend, the cube needs a key to open it and that key is of Spartax origin. Fortunately, Quill is half Spartax, thanks to his father that we have yet to meet in the cinematic universe. In Marvel comics, however, Peter Quill's father is named J'son and is the emperor of the Spartoi Empire. Even though the television series and movies are on a different trajectory, it will be interesting to see how much they differ when the live-action sequel hits theaters in 2017.
Even with Thanos forever looming over the Marvel universe, Guardians of the Galaxy doesn't have to worry about going "big" with every outing this season. Sure, there is a larger story on the horizon, yet watching this group of misfits go on simple adventures like raids, or trying to escape the confines of a Celestial's head, are reason enough to give this series a chance. Perhaps this is just a dream, but Guardians would make an excellent live-action television series as well.
What did you think of Disney XD's journey into the world of the Guardians? Now we just have to see if the exciting action and engaging storylines can stay strong throughout the entire season. Only time will tell.
Guardians of the Galaxy continues with 'One in a Million' next Saturday @9:30pm on Disney XD. Check out a behind the scenes look below: