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Why is Marvel being so stingy about Guardians Of The Galaxy? Their big summer release has received almost no promotional push thus far, the exposure limited to a couple of photoshoppy pics and a Comic Con trailer that didn’t legally surface online. In a few months, the relatively-grounded Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits, and while it’s not difficult to sell the soldier-out-of-time story with some political thriller garnish, it’s going to be super tough to push the starless story of a group of intergalactic ruffians to the masses (particularly if they want to rush out a sequel). Some of the biggest hits of all-time were science fiction. Some of the biggest bombs were as well.
Fortunately for them, Disney’s about to start promoting the film, and according to the Alberta Film Ratings website (thanks, Canada!), a clip has been submitted for approval, and it has been granted a PG-rating, so you’ll basically see it in front of anything that isn’t G-rated. It runs a pretty-confident 2:23. If we had to guess, it would begin with narration over a black background, segue into some action, then a deflating punchline, a bit of exposition, some more action, another joke, an expository line that portends conflict, then the Inception beats, then a deflating punchline, then a big effects money shot. Then after the smash-cut to title, another quip. How’d I do, Ma?
Guardians of The Galaxy is the final Marvel Phase 2 film, though most claim it’s going to affect the Marvel onscreen universe as a whole, and not necessarily Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s pretty risky for them to bank on Captain America: The Winter Soldier essentially setting the stage for the next Avengers, then expecting audiences to want to sit through one more slightly unrelated Marvel picture. But nothing about this strategy is conventional: Guardians is an action-adventure space opera being directed by James Gunn, who last deconstructed the superhero mythos with Super, where a dumpy, deranged Rainn Wilson runs around town hitting people with a wrench.
One of the trailer’s bigger questions is whether they will lean on the premise and spectacle, or try to push Chris Pratt as the next big star. Pratt’s been active in recent years, using his hiatus from forever-ratings-starved Parks And Recreation to show up in films like Moneyball and The Delivery Man, and Guardians is the debut of his new leading man physique, one that will resurface in 2015’s Jurassic World. Pratt is the closest thing the movie has to a star: Zoe Saldana still isn’t established as a household name despite Star Trek and Avatar, and the production’s two biggest names – Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel – are only performing voicework. There’s also Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro, but his appearance as The Collector in the post-credits sequence to Thor: The Dark World produced more confused shrugs than anything else.
Guardians Of The Galaxy opens August 1st.