Why GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Could Be the Best Marvel Movie Yet

     September 5, 2013

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Starlord. Drax the Destroyer. Gamora. Groot. Rocket Raccoon. Remember these names, my friends, as these are about to reach the same level as Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America for the general public.  Guardians of the Galaxy is Marvel Studios’ next team movie.  Hitting the silver screens on August 1st, 2014, Guardians will be the summer movie to beat.  Considering this is Marvel’s first original, and certainly different, property making the jump from comic books to the movies in some time, they’re hedging their bets that the film will stand tall alongside its fellow Avengers.

What is it about this motley cast of characters that elicits positive reactions from those who have read their stories?  What is it about the movie itself that gives Marvel such high hopes?  What makes this ragtag group of universe travellers better than their earth based super hero counterparts?  Hit the jump for Collider’s look into what Marvel’s next big enterprise is all about.

The Castguardians-of-the-galaxy-cast

OK…Deep breath folks. In the cast so far, we have Chris Pratt as Starlord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Bradley Cooper voicing the wise-cracking, machine gun-toting Rocket Raccoon, Glenn Close as leader of Nova Corps, John C. Reilly as a cop in the ranks of Nova Corps, Michael Rooker as Yondu the bounty hunter, and Vin Diesel is confirmed to be in talks to play the living tree, Groot.

But wait! Those are just the heroes! On the villains’ side we have Karen Gillan as Nebula, Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser, Benicio Del Toro as The Collector, and Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer. A name hasn’t yet been attached to the main villain, Thanos (the big purple figure grinning after the credits in last year’s Avengers), who might also be appearing. With Marvel’s track record, we can expect a big name to be attached to the Mad Titan.

Guardians has one of the most star-studded casts for films being released in 2014 and it will be quite a sight to have them assembled.

The Story

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There have been many iterations of the Guardians of the Galaxy in comics over the decades. For as many roster changes as there has been for the Avengers and the X-Men, such is the case for the Guardians. Originally created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan, The Guardians are a misfit band of heroes, billions of lightyears away from Earth, fighting intergalactic threats. The current version of the team, and the one we will see in theaters in 2014, was brought together by creators Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning during a Marvel comic book event entitled, “Annihilation: Conquest.”

The roster includes Starlord (the leader, an Earth-born native named Peter Quill), Drax the Destroyer (a powerhouse whose sole purpose is to hunt and kill Thanos), Gamora (a one-time assassin dubbed “the universe’s deadliest woman”), Rocket Raccoon (a walking, talking raccoon who acts as the team’s strategist and weapons expert), and Groot (a giant tree who resembles an Ent from the Lord of the Rings franchise).

The current series is being written by Marvel writer, Brian Michael Bendis, so feel free to visit your local comic shop to get in on the action before next summer.

The Director

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James Gunn has directed some out-there movies in his past, which is really something that Guardians of the Galaxy needs. His past endeavors include the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, sci-fi horror/comedy Slither, and the recent indie superhero hit Super. In each of these movies is a combination of action, comedy, and some things that you have not seen before. Gunn has a unique ability to balance genres and can have audiences bouncing from one emotion to the next almost instantly. It is these sensibilities that will help to convey the mad world of Guardians to audiences across the world.

On a side note, Gunn has been living with a raccoon, and several other exotic pets, to get into the head of fan-favorite character Rocket Raccoon. If nothing else, the man is committed.

The Humor

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In all of Marvel studios’ films, there has been just as much discussion about the humorous scenes as there has been about the action scenes. From Thor smashing a coffee cup on the ground while demanding another to everything about Robert Downey Jr.’s performance as Tony Stark, the Avengers franchise has audiences rolling in their seats. Guardians of the Galaxy should be no different. Aside from the fact that the team has a raccoon with weaponry in its ranks, the team’s walking tree, Groot, can only say “I AM GROOT!” in different inflections. Did I mention that the two are best buddies?

Chris Pratt has been seen on the airwaves delivering laughs as Parks and Rec character Andy Dwyer for the past several years. As leading man Peter Quill, expect many a one-liner to be dropped. Does anything need to be said about John C. Reilly of Talladega Nights and Step Brothers fame, who will be acting as the team’s Nick Fury/Agent Coulson?

Better Than the Rest?

guardians-of-the-galaxy-concept-art-finalSo aside from the star-studded cast, expansive story, eccentric director, and copious amounts of humor involved in the project, what will pull Guardians ahead of its predecessors and make it the best Marvel Studios movie yet? Experience. As you read this, Marvel Studios has seven movies under its belt and has become old hat at understanding which formulas work and which don’t when it comes to their properties. While they’re certainly delving into new territory with Guardians, they’ve come to understand what audiences are looking for in their summer super hero movies.

With Guardians, Marvel is taking everything that they’ve learned and applying it to a different kind of story. They’re putting a good number of eggs into this basket, and the basket is getting a lot of folks excited.

Guardians of the Galaxy may be the film to watch for 2014, and I, for one, cannot wait to see what Marvel Studios has in store for the rest of “Phase 2” of their movie franchises.

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