By Dane La Born
On Friday, Aug. 1, Marvel Studios is releasing Guardians Of The Galaxy. For Marvel, this is a massive risk, as Guardians do not have the clout or fame “The Avengers,” or any of their solo members, have in the mainstream comics.
Even someone like me, who has read comics for the majority of their lives, the Guardians are a lesser known team. I was aware of their existence, but until recently could not have told you their members. On top of that, Guardians also didn’t get the lead-up that “Avengers” had, each major player getting a solo movie — in some cases two — years ahead of time. This ensured that, by the time “The Avengers” came out, we knew who Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and Hulk were, and had also been introduced to Nick Fury, Agent Coulson, Black Widow, and Hawkeye in those films as well, so “Avengers” didn’t need to waste too much time reintroducing us. This is not the case with “Guardians Of The Galaxy.”
The Guardians Of The Galaxy are a team of outlaw heroes located in the depths of the cosmos. They are Peter Quill: a hotshot Earthling who was kidnapped from home sometime in the 80’s, raised on assorted other planets and turned to Robin-Hood-style thievery to make ends meet. He also has a Walkman that contains what promises to be one of the best soundtracks of the summer (a mixtape, of course). Gamora: a bad-ass, green-skinned assassin and the daughter of Thanos, the purple guy teased in the post-credits of “The Avengers.” Drax The Destroyer: whose family was killed, joins the Guardians on his path to revenge against Thanos. Then there’s Rocket Raccoon, a walking-talking raccoon with an affinity for large weaponry, and Groot, a walking-talking Tree with an affinity for Rocket. Groot can only say the words “I am Groot” and functions as part of the team’s muscle. Guardians Of The Galaxy is designed to take the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos — and herein lies the big gamble — with a promised massive payoff.
The concept of The Infinity Gems was introduced in “Captain America: The First Avenger” with the Tesseract (Cosmic Cube). In the comics, the gems are six stones that control every aspect of reality. They are time, space, mind, power, soul, and reality. When all six are possessed and placed onto a gauntlet, the possessor is granted power over all of possibility. Needless to say, this is bad.
The purple guy (Thanos) from the end of “The Avengers” is seeking these gems, and we’ve already been introduced to three in the other Marvel movies. “Guardians” is going to bring the fourth into play, bring Thanos in directly, and take the Marvel Universe intergalactic, which is where we can expect Avengers 3 to take place, in all likelihood.
One thing about Marvel that has always set it aside from other comic companies was their idea of one coherent universe, where all stories can connect and all characters team-up. This has been executed perfectly with the movies, but Guardians is the true test, of the fans and the films. One thing that truly sticks out though; Guardians is such an original story, and very out-of-this-world (pun only mildly intended) compared to heroes more grounded in reality like Iron Man or Captain America. Even the more far-fetched characters like Hulk and Thor seem to pale in ridiculous-comparison to a talking Racoon who fires giant guns. With Guardians, Marvel has shown their true commitment to telling their own stories, and not sticking to the exact same formula that they know works. I, for one, can’t wait.
Guardians Of The Galaxy stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, and Vin Diesel. It opens in theaters nationwide Friday, Aug. 1.
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