Guardians of the Galaxy is almost here, folks! And I don't know about you, but this new trailer has got me ready for some extra crazy Marvel excitement. Ever since director James Gunn was hired to make this film his own, I've been positively geeking out over the fact that the man who's had indie success, cultivated by his early work at Troma Films, is now behind a big budget comic franchise. There are a couple of things that really hit my brain with the right signals to get me excited about this project, and if you'll all be so kind, I'll show you just why I think we're not only ready for Guardians of the Galaxy, but we're also ready for a whole new subset of comic movies.
Rocket Adjusting His Junk Tells Us EverythingWe FINALLY got to see more material from the character I know I'm most looking forward to seeing, Bradley Cooper's Rocket Raccoon. A character that stereotypically pushes in the opposite direction as Disney animals do, he's a violent, crude, and generally unpleasant being... and I couldn't be having more fun with him. Seeing him really get into the firepower aspect of his job, as well as the little character beat where he adjusts himself in his new suit (something James Gunn was even surprised Disney let him get away with) it just made me excited for the fact that the compromise between Gunn's twisted, off kilter sensibilities are not too watered down in the family realm.
In fact, the vulgarity is probably the only thing missing in Guardians of the Galaxy, and it looks like they skirt around it perfectly in the line up scene with Star Lord flipping off the camera. I can just tell that Rocket is going to be the break out character of the bunch, and to a similar extent Groot will make himself a fan fixture as well. Like fans all over the Internet are keen on pointing out, we're in an age where making a female-centric film is a problem for DC, while Marvel is giving us a genetically altered raccoon. Step up the game, DC.
This Would Have Been A Harder Movie To Make Without Disney's Ownership Of Star WarsTake a good, long look at the awesome visuals that are found in this Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. Awesome-looking ships, cool looking planets, and an oddly familiar structure if you really think about it. A rag tag band of heroes and anti-heroes, joining a force for good and putting aside their differences to serve said good. You've got the short one with an attitude, the tall one with the calm wisdom; the feisty female and the roguish male she's destined to be with, and the exotic muscle rounding out the group. Could this movie be more like Star Wars than we think?
Indeed, this movie looks like a cool throwback to A New Hope, if everybody was a smuggler like Han Solo. Of course, every space based science fiction movie is going to invite the comparison, but this one in particular looks like a very familiar mapping of the hero's journey. And yet, those similarities are superficial enough for the product to work as an independent product. As much as I have compared this to Star Wars or even any other Marvel film like The Avengers, this isn't either of those films. James Gunn threw down a gauntlet with his post credits tag at the end of Thor: The Dark World, and that gauntlet was one that promised a fun, exciting time at the movies that would involve interesting costumes, even more interesting characters, and good old fashioned storytelling. We're probably getting one more trailer after this, as the villains and the actual plot are still sketches at this point. Judging by the two trailers we've gotten so far, I'm already prepared to buy my ticket and take the ride.
Teach Your Kids What A Mix Tape IsAh, the Peter Quill "Awesome Mix Vol. 1". We've presumably heard two tracks from it, and so far it's a hell of a mix. But besides being a set of killer tunes, James Gunn had specified in the Q&A that this tape is the emotional tether to Earth for the man who would be Star Lord. The songs on here are going to be his link to childhood memories, and I have a feeling that we're going to see this mix tie the team together as a cohesive whole. Think about it – Peter is going to be the audience surrogate, and we've already established his Walkman as a recurring gag, most recently when Gamora is spotted wearing his trademark headphones, right before it looks like she's going in for a kiss. You could pick any 70's slow jam, drop it into that scene, and you've got your Star Lord/Gamora love story.
Of course, the group's unofficial theme song, and unifying bond between them all, is destined to be "Hooked On A Feeling," or at least it looks like that's going to be the case, and that's perfectly awesome with me. An important aspect to any film is the musical content underscoring the characters and events of the film, and while we don't know the full playlist just yet, you can already begin to assume that the tape is going to be key to the proceedings of Guardians of the Galaxy. Probably so important, that there will be at least one moment in the series where Quill risks his life to retrieve that tape.
The Marvel Universe Is About To Get WeirdWe've gotten off pretty light with the levels of comic book reality in recent years. A lot of franchises, the Marvel Cinematic Universe included, have taken the grittier, more serious route that Christopher Nolan set down on with his Dark Knight films, and it's worked with varying results. Yet when I remember the comics of my childhood, I remember all of the outlandish heroes and events that took place within those books, and I compare that to the movies of today – only to find we're not that weird in the world of comic movies.
Guardians of the Galaxy looks like it's going to be the movie to say, "It's ok to be weird again", and its proposed success should allow Marvel, DC, and indie companies alike to give audiences more grounded entertainment side by side with the stuff that really takes flight. This is the movie that has to happen before Doctor Strange, otherwise it will be too much of the "out there" material for the general public to handle.
This Is Going To Be James Gunn's Break Into The MainstreamJames Gunn, the man who brought us such hard ball classics as Slither and Super, is now making a Disney/Marvel movie. That's a fact that still hasn't sunk in with me, and probably a lot of fans, and yet this trailer makes the perfect case as to why this is something perfectly fitting. Underneath the exterior of bad ass misfits he's working with, each of the Guardians has a score to settle. These guys have the hero gene in them, and they just need the right push in the right direction to use it. If anything, Super proved that Gunn could handle a crime fighting/comic movie with a fresh enough take to make fans take notice, and I bet more than anything that was the movie that got him the job. If you sand down the R rated edges of the film's content, and throw in lack of an oxygenated atmosphere and the addition of exotic characters and species, you'd basically have Guardians of the Galaxy.
Much like Joss Whedon before him, this is going to be the movie to bring Gunn into the limelight, and it's going to afford him so much more creative control and big budget potential than he ever would have sticking to his smaller (but infinitely awesome) scale films. This is what happens when you give the keys to your Ford Focus to a Formula 1 racer... you get a smoother, more impressive ride out of a standard vehicle, and you get to see what the limits look like up close.
Guardians of the Galaxy will hit theaters on August 1st, 2014.