On Monday night, Marvel Studios and theaters across the country hosted packed theaters of fans and skeptics to share 17 minutes of the film that is asking the biggest question of this summer, “Will people go see a Marvel movie without any of the Avengers in it?”
Judging from three factors: the billions earned from Joss Whedon’s Avengers ensemble two years ago, Captain America bounding from the majority least favorite to absolute favorite with The Winter Soldier in April of this year and this short reel of Guardians of the Galaxy… The answer is yes. Yes, you will see this movie.
The footage opened up with a greeting from the director James Gunn (creator of Slither and Super, both very fascinatingly high in energy and weirdly fun films) in which he and his crazy spiky hair tell us about his excitement for the film and the use of IMAX 3D.
Usually, I scoff at directors just throwing thanks to IMAX and three-dee conversion, but when the reel began, I’m glad it was, because boy did I see everything.
Avast, there may be spoilers up ahead…
The exclusive reel then segues into an extended, much more thorough cut of the Usual Suspects lineup of our unlikely heroes, the biggest detail from which to take away is the introduction of Zoe Saldana as the green skinned assassin Gamora, who is referred to as “Personal assassin of Thanos, the Mad God of Titan.”
Let’s be clear: that Thanos dude we’ve been talking about is in fact this guy. Remember this guy?
Let me also be up front by saying, I have been a Marvel fan since my teenage years, but knew very little about the mythos of “Cosmic Marvel” outside of Ms. Marvel, The shape shifting Skrulls and that Thanos was the leader of the Skrull. For me, and a lot of other self proclaimed nerds trying to retain their street cred, we had homework to do after seeing The Avengers. Regardless, Thanos is the baddest of the bad, and now we are over two years beyond first seeing his ugly purple chin, and we know that his nigh invincible butt is being played by Josh Brolin. There was no sight of Thanos himself to be seen in this exclusive preview, but hearing his name uttered on screen for the first time (even if it is by the dorky John C. Reilly) is just as excitement worthy as hearing Iron Man and Captain America exchanging words for the first time.
Moving on past the prison lineup, we see the main four heroes moved to a detention prison, from which point onward it becomes clear that Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon is going to be the star of the film. As each are walking to their decontamination session, we have an introduction to Gamora having no patience for morons, Rocket’s loud-mouthing, and unawareness of what a Raccoon exactly is (“Ain’t nobody like me, except me.”) and the living tree Groot, as voiced by Vin Diesel, has exclusively three words in his vocabulary: “I, Am, and Groot, in that order.”
We also get a taste of Chris Pratt as the audience surrogate in playing Peter Quill, the half earthling who goes by his thief alias, Star Lord. Peter Quill, within the preview scene, is just as lost as any audience member in this gritty, overly colorful alien world, and gives a first hint at the nostalgic importance of his walkman with the mix tape that’s been playing that Blue Swede song I haven’t been able to get out of my head since the teaser trailer.
From this point I was completely absorbed in the footage, and the four characters introduced so far are thrown into a wretched hive of scum and villainy, where the Star Wars influences really show in the art direction and visual effects. It may have been the IMAX 3D going to my head, but I got a true sense of otherworldly awe in a way that can only be described by applying the words “Mos Eisley Cantina.”
Rocket devises an escape plan, set in motion much sooner than expected by Groot’s, um, proactivity, where we get to see each character execute their own style of kicking ass. It’s in this sequence where we are introduced to Dave Bautista as Drax, whose acting ability is literally my only concern about the film up to the point. However, the dialogue for his character is so hilariously formal, and things the other characters say go over his head much like Cap experienced in The Avengers, that I got over it quickly.
Before I knew it, the scene was over, and then we got a new trailer buttoning it at the end, which just so happens to be right here.
It was like being given a King Size pack of Reese’s cups, but you are so enthralled in the first one that the package is wrapped up and put away when you’re not looking, at which point you’re told “You can have the rest on August 1st.”
Is that a fair metaphor? I don’t even like Reese’s cups all that much.
Marvel Studio’s Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn, starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Karen Gillan, Lee Pace and Benicio Del Toro releases in theaters on August 1st.
Tickets are available now on Fandango.