When news first leaked about Marvel Studios putting out a Guardians of the Galaxy film, most people (me included) first responded with “Whuh?” followed by a furrowed brow. If you have any acquaintance with the comic, you’d react the same way. A smart-ass jerk, a female assassin, a vengeful warrior, okay. A tree-like humanoid? Ooookay. But a belligerent racoon who’s an expert in weapons and battle tactics named, gulp, Rocket Racoon? (Every time I think “anthropomorphic raccoon” I think “tanooki.”) How is Marvel going to sell a movie like this alongside the Avengers and their individual hit films? This has got to be one of their biggest gambles to date.
As if things weren’t challenging enough, Marvel also picked James Gunn as director. Gunn’s previous works include Slither (2006) and Super (2010), both of which are brilliant films in their own right but not exactly mainstream hits. In other words, Marvel decided to put weird and weird together in left field. What will come out of there? Best case scenario: Guardians of the Galaxy will blow your socks off with a scintillating mix of the brilliant, the crazy, and the weird. Worst case: Nobody will care whether it’s any good or not.
This is actually the second trailer for the film, and things are looking very good. (I totally dig the use of Hooked on a Feeling and Spirit in the Sky in the trailers.) Honestly, I really really want it to succeed. (Yeah, I really said “really” twice.) The casting is already excellent: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Glenn Close, John C. Reilly, Djimon Hounsou, and even Benicio Del Toro. Comic scribes Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are also sharing writing credits with Gunn, so Guardians looks set to stand out from the rest of the Marvel films.