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Explaining My Anticipation of the Guardians of the Galaxy

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I must admit, I’m only mildly interested in the raccoon, and that puts me in an odd minority of folks who are excited to see the upcoming Marvel anti-Avengers pic but aren’t in it for the small, furry one.

Guardians of the Galaxy Trailer #1, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways:

1) Ooga-chucka-ooga-ooga-ooga-chucka! It’s the song. I’m of the age where I became aware of this classic at exactly the moment that I was at a high school party and some much cooler person than I put in the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack. So what does this allusion bring to the film? Anti-establishment connotations. Like Mr. Pink and co., these anti-heroes are flawed, but we are meant to be fascinated and even root for them (root–like on a tree–ha!). In a Marvel Universe that has increasingly come to be palatable to even the non-geek masses, Guardians is posing as early Tarantino, all homage and avant garde, ripping up the joint.

2) Chris Pratt. After watching a season and a half of Parks and Rec, Chris Pratt’s dumb-as-a-box-of-hair, free-loading boyfriend was my least favorite character. I haven’t yet seen The Lego Movie. So how do I explain the sudden appeal of Chris Pratt? Well, first of all, he’s gotten buff. Second, his character appears to be your basic Han Solo-type. Third, he flips off his captors. New muscles + new character type + new attitude = attractive Chris Pratt. And yet this is Chris Pratt–not Chris Evans. He’s no beefcake hero. He’s an everyman anti-hero with (I imagine) a heart of gold. He’s a Bogie. He’s a Fillion.

3) Supporting actor: John C. Reilly. First experience with John C. Reilly was Boogie Nights. And while he has certainly done a number of more mainstream films, like Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, he remains, in my mind, a sign of a thoughtful, but funny, independent spirit in a film. Add to that Michael Rooker and Lee Pace, and my indie heart is all a-flutter.

4) James Gunn is an intriguing wild card. He’s got a track record for dark comedy spliced with genre (see: Slither, Super). He’s no Edgar Wright (omg, if Edgar Wright were directing this…), but he’s got the potential to hit it out of the park. Still I think the key is tone–it has to be consistently right. If it goes too silly or too dark, the whole thing could fall to chaos.

5) The return of FUN to the Marvel Universe. Remember, back in 2008, when we geeks dutifully clamored into theaters to check out the new superhero summer flick directed by that guy who did Swingers and starring the soon to be entirely rehabilitated Robert Downey Jr.? No one knew it would be the blockbuster it was. But it shattered the studios’s expectations. Word got around that this was a film everyone would enjoy. Why? Because it was fun. It wasn’t The Dark Knight, who it would share the summer docket with. In fact, it was the antidote to the dour and depressing world of superheroes that Nolan was pushing. Iron Man had fun being a superhero, and we had fun watching him have fun. But as often happens when characters are led into a sequel or two, the filmmakers gotta get all serious. Iron Man 2 was a downer.

Joss Whedon successfully shot some fun back in The Avengers with his distinctive dialogue and wit, but the mainstream Marvel heroes are neck-deep in questions of corruption and compromise. The indie, punk rock spirit that infuses the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer gives me hope that this will be a grin-fest.

6) Oh, and I think there might be a talking raccoon.

Trailer #2 goes a slightly different route. Now they’re showing off the blockbuster special effects.

This is the “get the masses interested” trailer. How do I know? It’s all explosions and exposition–heck, Pratt’s character even gives us their D&D classes–and rather than score with “Hooked on a Feelin,'” we have the rock classic “Spirit in the Sky.”

But what do we also finally get? Raccoon talking. So that’s cool. I’m not unexcited by it.

And there’s plenty of spectacle. For the non-geeks it’s all just pretty lights promising action and awesomeness. For the geeky, we’re drooling over a giant space head.

And I’m all like, they got Glenn Close? They must be doing something interesting/right. Plus there’s the tease of a romance between Pratt and Zoe Saldana’s green-skinned alien. Capt. Kirk, is that you?

So trailer #2 is a little less designed especially for me. That’s okay. They had me with the first one.

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Author: Erin Perry

I'm a high school English teacher specializing in AP Literature and Film Analysis. I'm interested in most things geeky, including superheroes, vampires, zombies, teen culture, postmodern philosophy, pop culture analysis, and combinations of the aforementioned. Follow me on Twitter @eriuperry.

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