The announcement of Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG) as the 10th installment in the spectacular Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), was met with mixed reactions. I, on the other hand, was super excited; rewatching each trailer dozens of times in anticipation.
After seeing the movie last night, I believe that GotG is the absolute best thing Marvel could have done for the franchise, and I’ll tell you why without any spoilers.
Except the ones in the section marked Spoilers, at the end…
Think you’ve seen all the trailers? Try this one!
Let’s start with the obvious. GotG was a largely unknown property, so there was no market for any merchandise tie-ins to the comic – not like other properties (like Spidey, the Avengers and the X-Men) that have over-saturated markets.
A brand-new opportunity to sell Funko POP! vinyl statuettes to the millions of people you’ve already sold Funko POP! vinyl statuettes to? Yes, please!
All new LEGO sets for characters that have never had any? But, of course!
And let’s be honest: we’re going to buy up all of these cute little guys, amiright?
Marvel doesn’t own the movie rights to all of their properties, because they started selling them back in the 80s and 90s to different studios. At the time, Marvel lacked the resources (and, I think, the vision) to make their comics into great movies, so this wasn’t a bad move at the time.
But this means we aren’t likely to see Spidey fighting alongside the Avengers any time soon. The X-Men and the Fantastic Four aren’t going to be sub-plot tie-ins. Namor isn’t…well, no one cares about Namor. So Marvel is left to tap into it’s lesser known titles to expand it’s universe and tell new stories.
And while there are plenty of lesser-known titles that could have been pulled in, GotG is by far the best choice.
The tie-in to the rest of the franchise is very loose, which means we don’t have to worry much about continuity between films. About 95% of GotG takes place in space far from Earth, and the rest on distant planets, so what goes on back home is somewhat irrelevant.
Given that setting, this expands the MCU to the size of, well, the UNIVERSE! Anything can happen. And I for one really like that Marvel is using the superhero genre to make different kinds of films – fantasy (Thor), period pieces (Capitan America), sci-fi (Iron Man), political thrillers (Winter Soldier), etc. This expansion opens the doors for many other types of stories to be told.
There’s also the origin story to consider. Not many people are as vested in the origins of Star Lord or his motley crew as they are in the origins of the Hulk or Spiderman, so there really isn’t anyone to complain over whatever creative license the writers want to exercise. (That aside, I think they did a good job at staying true to at least a version of the origin story.)
Target Demographic Bullseye
Children of the 80s, be prepared to laugh your leg warmers off. From troll dolls and mixtapes to classic movie references, you will have to see this movie several times to appreciate all the trivia they stuffed in there just to make you nostalgic.
This is a fun movie to see. I went expecting to be entertains and I was not disappointed in the least. Whedon, Gunn and the MCU have clearly figured out who goes to see these movies, and they are catering to them in grandeur. I loved it, and I’ll be taking my kids to go see it.
Wrapping it up here with some things I noticed in the film that I wanted to share – just in case you noticed them, too – and some speculations.
First, Peter Quill’s space ship isn’t named Ship, like it is in the comics. It’s named Milano. Is this a nod to the fact that he was abducted from earth at the age of 12 in 1988, which was 4 years into the 1980s hit sitcom Who’s The Boss, staring none other than Alyssa Milano, whom he likely had a crush on (just like the rest of us)? Moreover, would this preclude Alyssa from potentially playing a role in a future GotG film?
Update: Turns out I nailed this one!
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 29, 2014
Next, Rocket makes reference to his origins, and we see the cybernetics in his back. While not as strong as the references to Peter’s origins, I’m wondering if we will be treated to a “where did I come from” sequence similar to what we got for Wolverine in the X-Men movies in later movies. Oh, you didn’t know? A sequel has already been announced.
Then there is the sweet Cosmo the dog cameo! Are we going to see a Cosmo movie? Please, at least do a Marvel One-Shot with him, that would be awesome! But let’s all pretend we didn’t see Howard the Duck. Seriously. And let’s never see him again.
Finally, the Collector’s collection was blasted apart with great gusto. We know that before the events of this movie he had at least one of the Infinity Gems in his collection. What happened to that? It’s clear to me that the Infinity Gems (and perhaps the Infinity Gauntlet) will continue to be a MacGuffin for the MCU going forward.
Speaking of, did I see a Dark Elf amid the Collector’s collection?
Second update: Yes, I did! I did see a Dark Elf! But was there a Dark Crystal? Not sure…