“Ouga-chacka, ouga-ouga-ouga-chacka.” Chances are this has been stuck in your head since you watched the trailer for new Marvel film Guardians Of The Galaxy, a dazzling two and a half minutes of outlaws, aliens and cooky intrigue set to Blue Swede’s ‘Hooked On A Feeling’. It left many viewers speechless, puzzled, wide-eyed, with no idea what to make of what they’d just seen. Some people embraced the weirdness, others rejected it, but taste aside, Guardians is a good thing for everyone. Here are the main reasons why.
Marvel is a company known for its superhero brands and, so far, the Marvel Studios movies have been focused on bringing these brands to the silver screen. Iron Man launched the studios cinematic universe which would later include Thor, Hulk and Captain America, all familiar names to a certain extent. Avengers solidified Marvel’s status as THE example of a company planning ahead and thereby successfully crafting a bunch of fun films out what their comic book catalog had to offer. And while these proporties were quite different on a surface level, at the core the films so far have all been about one hero standing up for what’s right. Yes, Tony Stark is more flawed than Cap, and Bruce Banner’s Hulk has some serious anger management issues, but these were all decent human beings in a proven formula: protagonist overcomes problems and becomes a better man. Avengers switched it up by being more of an ensemble piece, but after that it was back to the familiar solo outings.
Guardians is different in every way: it’s an ensemble piece with new characters who aren’t well-known and are all unproven. The cast may also be too colorful for a typical Marvel film: a douchy scoundrel, two green-skinned aliens, a walking tree and a feisty raccoon with a big gun are not your typical hero squad. In addition this film isn’t really a superhero movie, but more of a space fantasy action comedy blockbuster with an indie feel. It’s unlike anything Marvel’s done before and unlike anything audiences were expecting. But it really shows us what risks Marvel is willing to take and how much they want to try their hand at something new to open up more options for future projects. After Guardians space adventures will be an option, more comedy-oriented movies will be an option and films focused on lesser-known heroes will be an option. By creating Guardians Of The Galaxy Marvel Studios is taking a big risk, but if they succeed the possibilities are endless, the upside that their movies can keep surprising us. Isn’t this a good prospect: coming out of the cinema in 5 years after having seen the latest Marvel offering that still felt fresh? Last but not least Guardians shows us a respect for a director’s tone and vision: James Gunn always brings a unique style and sensibilty to his pictures and it’s obvious that Marvel didn’t restrain him in any way. In fact, they probably hired him for his specific vision and strengths, which bodes well for Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man (which will be a superhero heist film, supposedly).
In short: Guardians Of The Galaxy offers something vastly different which, if successful, tells Marvel Studios that audiences are willing to try something new and that Marvel in turn can keep pushing new and risky ventures. A superhero movie with a female lead, anyone?