Marvel had a national event last night in which they showed off 17 minutes of footage from the forthcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. The presentation consisted of a greeting from writer/director James Gunn, a full, presumably finished sequence from the film, and a new trailer that has subsequently gone online after the events were over. It would appear that music is going to be a big part of the movie (“Hooked on a Feeling” is prominent in the footage screened.), and the new trailer is scored to “Cherry Bomb” by the Runaways, and it’s really good. (I’m a big Joan Jett fan, so that made me really happy.) I may be reading too much into this, but I love a Runaways reference in a Marvel movie.
I got to attend the event at the legendary Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, which has just in the last year or so been converted to an IMAX screen with stadium seating. The conversion was done really tastefully, though the enormity of that auditorium kind of makes the biggest IMAX screen in Southern California look pretty much like any other screen – the huge room sort of swallows its own IMAXness.
But, enough about all that. How was the footage? Based on what Marvel unspooled last night, I think we’re going to get a Guardians that’s a ludicrous amount of fun.
The big set piece involved the crew breaking out of a space prison. It’s difficult to really get a feel for the entire movie with this being taken out of its greater context, but I would assume this takes place in the first act of the film. I’m a big fan of James Gunn’s film Slither, and this seems to be hitting a very similar tone. It’s comedic, but it does take itself seriously. This isn’t an Adam Sandler comedy, where there are no dramatic stakes for anything that happens. The movie seems very, very sure of itself and what it wants to be, which is great coming from a filmmaker who’s never worked on a project with quite this much scope before. There’s been a lot of scuttlebutt on the interwebs when Edgar Wright left Antman, but Marvel’s done an excellent job of hiring the right person for the job.
I’ve been a big Parks and Recreation fan for the duration of its run, so I know what a great comedy actor Chris Pratt is. His physical transformation here is kind of amazing. He dropped about 60 pounds for the part, and it’s taken him from being a chubby character actor to a big damn action hero. Marvel’s track record for casting its films is pretty remarkable, and there’s no doubt Pratt can carry this movie. Add in his involvement in Jurassic World next summer, and I think he’s on that fast track to being a major movie star. Two-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper seems to be having the time of his life voicing Rocket, and I’m interested to see how former WWE heavyweight champion Dave Bautista plays through the rest of the film. We don’t get that much of him as Drax, though he does cut an impressive figure.
I would assume Marvel wanted to show off its digital 3D IMAX footage, and the movie looks great. The film was remastered specifically for IMAX, and it was sharp and detailed. I am mostly neutral on 3D, but this looked really good.
There are also references to Thanos, so even though this seems light years from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is very obviously directly linked to it. There’s no reason why these character can’t interact with the Avengers in some capacity. A recent interview with Mark Rufalo suggests Bruce Banner might be in line to play alongside Peter Quill.
That’s all I’ve really got right now. The footage looks great, the movie looks to be oodles of fun.
Guardians of the Galaxy opens on August 1.