What makes James Gunn's scruffier and un-spandex'd band of reluctant heroes so appealing is how they approximate the good-hearted rogues on the raggedy charm of space westerns like Whedon’s own "Firefly".
It's fascinating to watch a young cast grow through the years in (more or less) tandem with the age of their quickly maturing characters. It becomes somewhat less so, however, to watch them undergo the same kind of trials and tribulations from one film to the next.
Salvation, as dirty and battle-scarred as it might look, is a much more optimistic piece of work. In this more straightforward telling, good seems much more likely to prevail, as does the continuation of the series.
Unlike Da Vinci, which threatened to rewrite the legacy of one of the most important figures in world history, all we have here is a bunch of dead cardinals and the possibility of the Vatican being destroyed.
While director Abrams' handling of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman's propulsive screenplay is sleek and spiffy, to say the least, it ultimately hews far closer to his television work than might have been wise for a big-screen reboot.
A loping comedy of displacement that snaps off dozens of easy laughs without breaking a sweat, Adventureland transcends the indie comedy trap by dint of not being content merely to capture its milieu but to animate it.