Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Trailer Review - Guardians of the Galaxy

Once upon a time, there were two comic book companies who turned their comic properties into movies.  Both had stables of well-known and much-loved characters, and both had giant reserves of creative talent at the ready to do their bidding.

One company was called D.*. Comics (name partially obscured to protect their identity), and they decided to take a character that was known by most of the planet and attempt to make a fast-paced space adventure to launch a series of movies.  The other, called Marvel (name not hidden because they don’t need to hide in shame), decided to make a space adventure movie as well, but based it on a series of characters not well known outside of your typical comic shop patron.

Now the trailer for GOTG is out there and I couldn't be more excited.

Flash back to 2011 when DC began showing trailers for Green Lantern, and they looked OK.  The flashy costume grew on us and the constructs looked cool.  This had the potential to launch an awesome series of DC space movies starring the Green Lantern Corps.  Then the movie came out….and it was a massive disappointment to fans.  The studio didn't have enough faith in the movie to stretch out the story over a few films in order to avoid the cramped mess that happened (mostly on Earth, by the way and not much space….for a space cop).

My rants on what Green Lantern should have been are now legendary and most of my friends can repeat them verbatim so I’ll save it here, but DC killed the opportunity for any further GL movies.

Go forward in time a few years, and Marvel decides to take a HUGE risk and announce a Guardians of the Galaxy movie.  Now, even some comic book fans are saying “Who?” because this is a group of not very well known characters even inside the comics scene.  Personally, I hadn't read any of the GOTG books until they announced the possibility of a movie.

When I say HUGE risk, I mean it.  This is more of a risk than when Marvel announced they were making an Iron Man movie.  Most of us don’t recall that before the 2008 Robert Downey, Jr. movie, Iron Man was not the massive marketing darling that he is today.  With GOTG, Marvel is banking on 5 generally unknown characters (including a 7-foot tall tree guy and a talking raccoon) to kick off a potential new area of the Marvel Cinematic Universe…..Marvel Cosmic as it is called in the books.

So, last night the full trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy premiered, after the now obligatory trailer for the trailer which is honestly an annoying new trend….just show us the whole thing.  Luckily it posted online before I was forced to sit through any length of Jimmy Kimmel, so I watched it…….and watched it….and watched it again.

It looks incredibly fun, right??  Something that Marvel has excelled at is making their superhero action movies fun and injecting humor, a talent that DC has yet to master (no, Batman saying in his Batman voice to himself “So that’s what that feels like” doesn't count as humor).

The characters look great and Chris Pratt seems like he will be a solid Star Lord.  He definitely dominates the trailer but we get sneak peeks of Nebula, Ronan, the Nova Corps, and the Collector as well.  Spaceships and aliens and battles and Marvel characters are all over this teaser and it has a massive scale that, I hope, stays in space and maybe only comes to Earth for a flashback or two.

The movie has a Firefly-esque tone to it where space is not the gleaming high-tech utopia of older sci-fi movies, but a dirty and gritty place of danger and many different alien species interacting with each other.  The humor is definitely going to be there, just as it was in the Abnett and Lanning run of the comics, and that is welcome in my opinion.  These movies should be about fun and adventure, a concept that DC has yet to grasp with their films.

With every announcement about the Superman / Batman movie I become less interested, but with every Marvel announcement I become more and more intrigued with where they’ll take the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

This trailer also shows the potential of the Marvel Cosmic section of their characters.  If this succeeds, could we see a Nova movie that could be what Green Lantern should have been?  Could we see Quasar and the Kree and Mar-Vell?  How about if they all tied together eventually into an adaptation of the Conquest storyline?  If GOTG performs well, it’s a whole new door opened for Marvel.

Guardians of the Galaxy has just topped my list of Most Anticipated Movies for 2014, taking over from Captain America: The Winter Soldier which is now a very close second.  Marvel continues their amazing run of comic book movies that is leaving the other companies in their dust and, in my opinion they have yet to take a bad step.  Ten years ago, we would have laughed at the concept of a cohesive cinematic comic book universe such as this, and Marvel keeps this train moving at a speed that has fans excited and that excitement is pulling in the mainstream viewer at the same time.

Will there be a falling out eventually?  It seems inevitable, but until then DC can play catch up all they like.  To use a metaphor from the automotive world (my other fascination), Marvel is screaming around the track in a Formula One car that is running perfectly and DC is in a twenty year old Corvette that keeps breaking down and they have to fix it every other lap.

August can’t come soon enough, and I will definitely be there for a midnight screening of GOTG.

- Jason