Guardians of the Galaxy is what happens when you hire a graduate of the merry Troma schlock factory, hand him $170-million, and set him loose on a lower level of the Marvel Comics empire—a place where X-Men and Avengers would never think to tread. The result is a fresh kind of blockbuster, a picture with wit and charm and a wonderful wisecracking sense of humor. All the familiar comic-book elements are in place: the fantastical planets (Morag and Xandar and Dark Aster—home of the fearsome Kree!) and exotic MacGuffins (there's a mysterious Orb, and an Infinity Stone of a sort that will be familiar to Marvel adepts). But while director James Gunn—the Troma guy—clearly loves this stuff, he doesn't take it too seriously. He knows that only fan folk will likely be able to keep track of it all, so he just ladles it on and plows right through it. What a relief, writes Kurt Loder, who also reviews Get on Up, a problematic tribute to the great James Brown.