James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy looks like it could be the Marvel film that breaks away from the pack of monotony. Starring Chris Pratt as Star-Lord (whom no one seems to have heard of) and Zoe Saldana as Gamora, along with mixed martial artist Dave Bautista (cast undoubtedly for his thick build more than his acting prowess), and the voices of Vin Diesel as a tree and Bradley Cooper as a vicious fox, Gunn’s movie has a certain aura of fun about it. The trailers prominently feature the song “Hooked on a Feeling” and emphasize humor over big action, though there’s plenty of that, too.
The newest trailer (which is being taken down from unauthorized sites that embed it) shows most of the same clips from the last trailer, but with a few added bits. When Star-Lord is approached by armed men and he tells them who he is (to their confusion), we now see him dodging a blast of energy and flying away. Even these action scenes seem to have a humorous edge, as in the shot where Star-Lord leaps toward the camera in slow motion, looking triumphant, and you just know that something is going to shoot him down (since he’s captured in the next clip).
The film’s subversive use of silly pop music is a welcome change from the Inception-derived scores that every action film uses these days, and the casting of Pratt was a bit of genius (as any fan of Parks and Recreation knows).
Gunn was a risky choice to helm the Guardians film, since the film is already a risk (the characters are considered “obscure” compared to, say, Spider-Man or Captain America). Gunn’s previous credits include the screenplays for the two live-action Scooby Doo movies, both of which are unfathomably awful and shockingly disturbing for children (the first one is concerned with demons possessing the bodies of the Mystery Inc. gang and the female characters are hyper-sexualized) and the screenplay for Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake (to date, Snyder’s one good film). Gunn also wrote and directed Slither, a fun comedy-horror film about monstrous slugs, and Super, a brutally mean-spirited superhero film that was rendered irrelevant by Kick-Ass, which came out at the same time.
Super, starring Rainn Wilson, is a cruel and bleak movie masquerading as comedy, and it looked like it might have set Gunn’s career back a ways — but Guardians is a new chance for Gunn to get things back on track.
Gunn got his start with infamous Z-movie production company Troma. His first film, Tromeo and Juliet, featured a giant, slimy, phallic monster and a horde of horny teenagers getting punched, kicked, stabbed, and beaten. One can only hope that Gunn brings the same kind of fun to Guardians of the Galaxy.