Marvel Studios has enjoyed a pretty solid track record with their various big screen superhero universe, which is currently in the Phase Two stage (set to conclude with Avengers: Age of Ultron next summer). Guardians of the Galaxy, the next film on the Marvel slate ready to hit theaters next month, promises to fly way out of the established comfort zone with its outer space setting and a main cast of misfit characters that are fairly unknown to mainstream moviegoers.
Tonight at 150 locations across the country, Marvel held IMAX 3D First Look screenings for 17-minutes of exclusive footage re-mastered for the large format. I was on the invite list here in New York City and thrilled to have to opportunity to take in this extended sneak peek at the space epic.
For the most part we were treated to the complete Klyn prison sequence that has been seen in various bits and pieces over the course of the various trailers. The preview opened with the familiar line-up scene as the GOTG are booked by John C. Reilly’s Rhomman Dey and provides welcome intros to Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket. It’s nice to not have Quill’s middle finger blurred for broadcast, so the joke obviously plays better as intended on the big screen. Fear not, Gamora is linked to not only Nebula and Ronan The Accuser, but Thanos as well, so we will have that connection to the larger Avengers arc. When Quill sees one of the guards messing with his Sony Walkman, he fails to get it back and is promptly shocked with a space age cattle prod to the sounds of Hooked On A Feeling. The group is then hosed down and issued prison garb.
The rest of the sequence deals with their action packed escape from the prison, masterminded by Rocket. It’s interesting that the talking raccoon does not immediately sound like Bradley Cooper, which I feel is a plus. Rocket is hands down going to be the breakout star of this film. Fans were skeptical about a movie with a sarcastic talking raccoon, but even from this preview it’s easy to tell he’ll have all the best one-liners and will come out way on top as the crowd pleaser. We will be getting a lot of “I am Groot” in the movie, which does sound like Vin Diesel. We’ll see how that plays off over the course of an entire film.
There wasn’t a lot of new insight to Quill, Drax or Gamora. But when the actual prison break happens, director James Gunn lets them all go hog wild with kick ass action. To nobody’s surprise, this is at its core a sci-fi adventure not that doesn’t easily lend itself as a piece in the larger Marvel puzzle. From the first trailer, the film has been honestly marketed as such, and there was nothing here to change that view in my mind. This is a risky move on the studio’s part. Will there be enough perceived synergy to get the legions of Marvel fans out to see it?
The preview was entertaining, but fell well into the expectations I have for the film. It was capped off with the high octane extended trailer below. Set to the Runaways‘ Cherry Bomb, this is the film’s best trailer to date and includes quick shots of the very bass ass looking Ronan The Accuser (Lee Pace), Yondu (Michael Rooker), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and The Collector Benicio Del Toro. I definitely could have enjoyed more of Nebula and a longer sizzle big finish, but we’re less than a month away and the course for the perception of the film is pretty much on auto pilot from here on.
Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn, hits theaters on August 1st and stars Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Lee Pace (Ronan the Accuser), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Glenn Close (Nova Prime), Benicio Del Toro (The Collector), Michael Rooker (Yondu), John C. Reilly (Rhomann Dey), Djimon Hounsou (Korath the Persuer), plus the voices of Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon), Vin Diesel (Groot) and Josh Brolin (Thanos).