How Guardians of the Galaxy Might Hurt Marvel
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Can this rag tag group of space cowboys round up enough fans to make this film a hit?

The Avengers was a big deal. It not only broke box office records, but it set a precedent, heralding the age of the comic book film as the new blockbuster. While the Avengers sequel is in the works, we’ve still got a ways to go. No worries though, as Marvel is well into what they call their “Phase 2” wave, which includes follow-up sequels to established series like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. However, as the next Avengers movie (entitled Age of Ultron if you hadn’t already heard) will take a more “other worldly” approach, expanding the sci-fi element significantly (possibly seeing some of our heroes go off world). So what better way to set the stage and introduce fans to other cosmic locales than Guardians of the Galaxy?

Galaxy is kind of a dirty dozen style hero movie that definitely brings us something we’re not exactly used to in other Marvel films. While previous outings have introduced us to things like mutants, aliens and thunder gods, the environments we’ll see in the upcoming flick will be a removal from are usual Earth based endeavors. For example; one character is named Groot and hails from Planet X. Voiced by Vin Diesel, Groot couldn’t be more different when compared to a familiar character like Thor. In fact (as writer of Guardians of the Galaxy James Gunn recently explained), finding someone with a sound and voice to match his unique look was just as important. Ultimately, Gunn states it was Diesel’s commitment to getting just the right take on the lines that proved he was the man for the job. “…Vin came in and in one day, laid down all these 'I am Groot' tracks, and he's a perfectionist. He made me explain to him with ever 'I am Groot,' exactly what he was saying…..Then Vin would sit there and he would do it and he would it again and again and again, and his voice is so rich and so beautiful and he really opened up and was this character. It was amazing when we first put that voice in there how much the character changed and how much he influenced the character." Said Gunn.

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While the world of Marvel comics span many universes (and even timelines), is a character like Groot a good example of a step too far for some fans?

Don’t get me wrong, with a name like Guardians of the Galaxy, you’d expect a wide array of colorful characters representing all corners of the universe. Naturally, I don’t expect them all to be your typical humanoid. However, I’m wondering if the extremely sci-fi influenced nature of this particular film will put off many who went to see other Marvel films in the past. Avengers had the ability to pull in casual movie goers who never really followed the comics (or perhaps even the previous films). One look at the Guardians of the Galaxy poster, and it almost seems like a flier advertising a band who’s playing at the cantina on Tatooine.

With the end of Phase 2, we’ll officially move away from your standard Earth based heroes and step into a completely different realm. I understand not tapping into the huge mythos that makes up the Marvel universe would be doing a great disservice to fans and filmmakers alike. But I also feel you can run the risk of audience’s eyes glazing over, at the thought of the movies taking a Farscape-esque turn. Of course there are some fans that would love such a move, will that draw in the general public in the same way?

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If you can’t tell by the title, Age of Ultron suggests that (as things progress) each challenge the Avengers will face continues to escalate the threat facing our planet. Guardians of the Galaxy will help set the stage for this confrontation, just as Captain America: The Winter Soldier is rumored to lead directly into the events of Galaxy. All of this will culminate with the real showdown Marvel fans are truly waiting for; the arrival of Thanos.

I’m looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy as well as where the end of Phase 2 will take the Avengers sequel and beyond. I just hope the general populous sticks around for the ride. We still have several more films ahead in Phase 3.

Jason Messer
Jason Messer
@J8sonMesser

Contributing Writer
Date: 02/26/2014

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