Normally this is my Writer Report slot, but one of the movies I’ve been the most excited about in a long time finally got a full-length trailer last night, and as much as I’m sure other, bigger sites are doing write-ups of it, I want to get my own two cents out there because people should see this when it comes out. So, in case you missed it on Jimmy Kimmel last night, or if you just want to watch it again, here’s the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy.
Breaking it down:
In General: This is really encouraging. Guardians is Marvel’s gutsiest move to date. None of these characters or worlds are anywhere near as well-known as The Avengers are these days, and the House of Ideas have a bit of an uphill battle getting butts in the seats. This trailer is a masterful move. It introduces the characters (we’ll get to them), gives us a bit of the alien worlds and cultures we’ll be dealing with, and hooks us with familiar music, promises of action, and tastes of the film’s comedy. Speaking of which…
Tone: Some folks may be upset that Marvel tends to lean towards the comedic side of things, from Tony Stark’s constant wise-cracking to some of Loki’s less genocidal antics. However, anybody who’s read Guardians in the last few years, be it written by Dan Abnett or Brian Michael Bendis, will tell you that the tone set by the trailer matches the tone of the books exactly. Despite the grave threats they face protecting Earth and other worlds from on a daily basis, the Guardians never take their work or themselves too seriously, especially…
Star-Lord: As the human character of the group, Peter Quill’s the audience surrogate and access point for the weird and wonderful cosmic world we’re going to be seeing. Again, the tone of the character feels pretty spot-on. The characters who don’t know him (Korath, the Nova Corps, etc) have a really hard time taking him seriously, which is kind of perfect. It already feels like a refreshing change from the dire, dour tone of other super-powered being films (looking at you, Man of Steel). This guy isn’t seen as a savior or a Chosen One, he’s seen as a nuisance, moreso than any of the other Guardians. The comic nerd part of my brain is uncertain some of the interesting minutiae will be seen in the film, as his race is listed as Terran meaning they don’t notice or want to discuss his half-breed nature, and I’m not sure we see his trademark Element Gun… and then he yawns while standing in line-up and I forget what I was worried about because I’m grinning again.
Drax the Destroyer: Bautista is perfect for this. Between The Man with the Iron Fists and Riddick, I can tell you that the guy is really good at commanding the screen just with his imposing physical presence. Drax is a lot like that: He doesn’t necessarily need to say anything to make you back away slowly covering your genitals. The shots we have of him in the line-up and under Nova Corps scrutiny look like someone who just wants to rip something, anything, apart, but he’s behaving himself because he’s saving that rage for someone who’s really asking for it. The detail in his red accents, seen in motion, are actually a really nice touch to the character.
Gamora: I have no doubt whatsoever that Zoe Saldana can pull off playing the deadliest woman in the universe. Pretty much everything I’ve seen her in has displayed her confidence and ability to disappear into her character. Gamora is the kind of person who knows exactly what she wants and how to get it, and I don’t think we’re going to have any trouble seeing her as an equal to Drax when it comes to physically throwing down. We don’t get as much of her action as we do a tasteful shot of her back, but Gamora’s always been equal parts ass-kicking, genius and sex appeal. Her little smile during her intro seals the deal.
Rocket Raccoon: I’m actually glad Rocket didn’t say a word. I hope Marvel conserves as much of this guy’s attitude and dialog as possible so audiences really fall in love with him on opening day. The mere concept alone should be enough to sell people: He’s a four-foot humanoid raccoon that likes big guns and bigger explosions. The fact that he’s constantly cracking wise is and should be just a bonus.
Groot: Again, less is more when it comes to Groot. His somewhat curious expression and the reactions of the Novas were pretty much perfect. This presentation can and should make people interested in what he can do. Audiences aren’t used to seeing something as strange as a walking tree-person, at least outside of Lord of the Rings, and his inclusion on the team should really round things out.
Nebula: Most people know Karen Gillen as Amy Pond from Doctor Who. It may come as a shock to them to see her playing Nebula, a very nasty character from Marvel’s cosmic side. I won’t speculate on the role she’ll play in this film, save to say she might also be after that orb Peter’s seen trying to grab in the beginning of the trailer. Oh, and remember the big purple dude grinning at the end of The Avengers? That’s Thanos. Nebula’s his daughter. And he’s the guy Drax is mad at. Just putting that out there.
The Kree: We only see Ronan the Accuser for a brief moment, manhandling Drax, and from the start of the trailer we see the great Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer. I’m excited to see the scope of the Marvel Universe open up to include new races and groups, and the Kree look suitably intense, the more human-like but no less threatening counterpart to the Skrulls/Chitauri.
The Nova Corps: On top of a main antagonist and a new alien presence, we have what amounts to a space police force. Rather than overcomplicating things, they’re a great touch. The Guardians tend to be seen more as troublemakers than saviors, and it makes sense that a neutral party would come into play to keep things from going too crazy. As an aside, the practical costumes of the Nova Corps look a great deal better than anything the similar group on the DC side, the Green Lantern Corps, wore in their movie. Plus John C. Reilly, who is always excellent in supporting roles, is Rhomann Dey, one of the most famous Novas ever.
The Song: This is the cherry on top of everything. It’s catchy. It’s the sort of Earth tune Peter would carry in his Walkman – yes, that’s a Sony Walkman from the 80s. It’s funny. And if you’re anything like me, it does, in fact, get you hooked on a feeling.
Overall: Guardians of the Galaxy has always been Marvel’s answer to Farscape or Firefly. It’s a story about a far-flung group of misfits working together to go after nastiness pro-actively. The diverse characters, the outlandish locations, and the sheer oddity of deep space are a heady cocktail in and of themselves, and if this trailer is anything to go by, a hefty dash of sincere humor and splashes of frenetic, visceral action have been added. I, for one, can’t wait for August. I try not to get too optimistic about films before they come out, but for what it’s worth, I think this is going to be a fantastic time at the movies.