Why GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Is My Most Anticipated Phase II Film
I, The Incredible Hulksta, break down all the reasons why Guardians of the Galaxy is a great comic, but also my most anticipated Marvel Phase II film. A heads up, this is not a primer for Guardians of the Galaxy, but rather why I'm excited for the film.
I recall the rumors heading into San Diego Comic Con last year that Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's Guardians of the Galaxy was going to get the big screen treatment. As much of a fan as I am, I was also admittingly thinking that the film had a snowball's chance in hell of happening. Why? Well, because for as awesome as the Guardians are, they aren't a household name. Names like Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, Drax, and Groot may be gaining recognition even by the most hardcore comic book fans but before the announcement at SDCC, I doubt that sentimentality was the same.
"I think anybody -- I don't care how devoted a Star-Lord or Rocket Raccoon fan you were even two years ago -- who would have said that this would make a great main movie would have been laughed off. It's such an unlikely thing to do. So I think it's lovely to work on something and expose its potential to the point where a company like Marvel will say, 'Yes, this makes sense.'"
A year later, and Guardians is now under direction from James Gunn (Slither, Super) and has garnered a rather ecclectic cast featuring Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Buatista as Drax the Destroyer, Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser, Michael Rooker as Yondu, Karen Gillian as Nebula, Djimon Hounsou as Korath, Benicio del Toro as The Collector, John C. Reilly as Rhomann Dey, Glenn Close as Nova Prime, Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, and Vin Diesel as Groot.
While many people may look at that cast and wondered what Gunn, Feige, and Marvel in general are thinking; this casting is in many ways capturing the essence of the Guardians are in a way that only a few fans may realize. In this article, I want to discuss a few of the finer reasons as to why I think Guardians of the Galaxy is not just a great comic, but will also make for what I'm predicting will be my favourite Phase II film.
But do bear in mind...
1. A Band Of Misfits
Part of the reason that many fans such as myself bought into the 2008 reboot of the Guardians is because after Annihilation, the group was formed. It's after the group stops the Phalanx, this cosmic threat, that they decide that it's in everyone's best interest that they work as a team, rather then by themselves. That said, each and every member has as big of an ego and some trickery to match their skill.
It's a similar theme to what we saw in The Avengers where the members all have egos, and on paper shouldn't work together -- but something happens that unites them and bands them together despite their egos. This is something that I enjoyed when I read the 2008 reboot. It was about a group of people with singular goals and visions ultimately coming together, a band of misfits. Even as the story goes on, the characters still have personal motivations that clash with eachother. One such example is SPOILERS in The Thanos Imperative the group needs to work with Thanos to stop the Cancerverse from invading the universe. Yet, Drax, who's sole purpose is to kill Thanos; ends up sabotaging everything all due to his primal drive to kill the Mad Titan.
In this sense, not all of the conflict simply comes from a Good Vs. Evil, Black and White sense. Part of it comes from the team itself, and that's an element that I'm excited to see in the movie, and is something I definitely enjoy about the comic.
Something that almost surprises everyone who's a newcomer to Guardians is just how essential Thanos is to the whole story. The aforementioned egos and goals are in many ways tied to the Mad Titan himself.
Thanos has always been my favourite Marvel villain, partially because he just enjoys all the crazy bat-shit stuff he does. You have to give the guy credit for the passion he puts into these things. Killing half the known universe just to impress a girl. All of a sudden your cheesy pick-up line just doesn't measure up. If it weren't for his own ability to sabotage his own plans; Thanos would almost always get away with his plans.
With the 2008 reboot; Thanos was placed smack dab in the middle of the Guardians story. Drax and his daughter are attacked by Thanos; turning Arthur Douglas into the Thanos-killer known as Drax; and his daughter Heather eventually becoming Moondragon. Gamora is the adopted daughter of Thanos. I could go on further, but to say the least, everything eventually comes back to Thanos.
While many fans of the comics argue about who's the Guardians greatest foe; whether they think it's Michael Korvac, or Magus; I'll always believe that with everything that this team is and will be -- Thanos will always be the Guardians greatest foe. He's what drives many of these characters, and gives them something to strive towards.
3. The Humanity
When you're dealing with Gods, Eccentric Billionares, Super Soldiers, and otherwise very larger than life characters, it's a nice change of pace to have a character or two who's not just biologically human, but human in nature.
This may come off as strange considering how many of the Guardians are aliens; but there's moments of true sincerity and vulnerability amongst the members of the Guardians that makes them grounded in the real world. Something that's hard to do when you're talking about a giant tree and a talking Raccoon.
Rocket and Star-Lord share a drink, and Gamora loves to find men to bed. These are not perfect characters. This has always been what interests many people like myself about Marvel is how grounded in reality their characters are. These are not the characters of myth and legend, they're people that you can see yourself hanging with. It's important that when you have these epic set pieces and wondrous displays of the universe that you keep that core human element alive and that's something the Guardians does well. It keeps that human element within all of this galactic chaos.
4. The Marvel Cosmic
While keeping the humane elements of the Guardians a core idea; I think another reason I enjoy the Guardians is due to the large and epic scale of their jurisdiction. Unlike the Avengers who generally deal with matters of Earth, the Guardians have so much more to deal with.
Having to deal with the Phalanx, the Universal Church of Truth, the War of the Kings, the Cancerverse, and of course Thanos. It's amazing to see the scale of such skirmishes, it's a delicate balance of maintaining the humanity of these characters while also tossing them into near-impossible situations that ultimately defines who they are. We get to learn about the team as things go on; and I think that if the team was the 'Guardians of Earth' (Ugh, could you imagine that!?) the members wouldn't be as interesting. Seeing Star-Lord blast Thanos with the Cosmic Cube was actually one of my favourite moments in the 25 issue run -- simply because you get a showing of who Peter Quill is when he's against the ropes and it isn't until he realizes what he's facing that he pulls out every trick he has. It's the definition of character through adversity, and nothing is more mass-scale adverse then constant galaxy-wide annihilation.
5. Witty Dialogue
My last point is the witty dialogue. Whether it's the leaked footage, or the book; that Whedon-esque dialogue is something almost made perfectly for the Guardians. I don't think I have to cite much here, whether you've read the books or seen the leaked footage; you know that the Guardians are always well written in almost any medium they appear in, well besides their appearence in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. Ugh.
Part of the reason I like Marvel is due to the humanity of their characters, and while almost every Marvel creation has this amazing human element to it; it's the 2008 reboot of the Guardians team. A team that had not seen that much attention from Marvel in years, if not decades, that it then showed this incredibly well-rounded cast of characters. It's action, emotion, and anthropomorphic trees and raccoons. It's all these amazing elements that blend together, and like the members of the team -- we don't expect it to work but in a miracle, it somehow manages to succeed.
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