Friday, 1 August 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy - Hell Yeah!

I knew little about Marvel outside of X-Men and Spider-Man when the Marvel Cinematic Universe started up. I had never heard about Iron Man, and Captain America and Thor I'd only heard about in passing. But after I watched Thor, and then Captain America, and started to get really into the MCU I looked for all the information I could find. I watched all the cartoons, read the wiki articles, watched the live-action films of course, I even read some of the comic books (although, to this day, I just can't get into them for some reason). Whenever a new film was going to come out I knew almost everything about it beforehand. That all changed with Guardians of the Galaxy.

To my credit, this really was Marvel Studios throwing everyone for a spin. A film about a raccoon, a walking tree, a human kidnapped from the '80s, and all set in outer space with no other humans? It was as different as it got for the MCU. Every film in the franchise so far was grounded in humanity. Stark struggled with the burden of saving people while still being only a human, Banner tried his best to hold onto his humanity, Rogers is the most man man you can find, and Thor was all about him learning humility through humans. Then comes the space flick where the most talked-about character is a raccoon in space.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like Guardians of the Galaxy is about how stupid humans are, and how awesome being baddies is. It just doesn't have that same groundedness the prior films did. Everything is awesome from the get-go, everything is magical and amazing. There's no struggle in being only human, they're all "just people". That's what makes this film so different, and therefore so great. I never knew what to expect around the corner. Even though I hadn't actively steered away from new info and trailers, more so I tried to get all the information I could up front, I was still surprised. Still I was left in wonder at what was happening. It was all just so crazy.

That's maybe what frightens me most about this film, as well. That it's so crazy and different. I'm not suggesting that people don't like different and crazy things, but people have come to expect a certain standard from Marvel and superhero films in general. And this is very different from that. I find it hard to even call it a superhero film. It's a film about heroes, and most of them are physically superior to ordinary humans, but it's no more a superhero film than Star Wars, Avatar, or the Matrix. It's an adventure film at its heart, it's easier to compare it to Indiana Jones than to Iron Man, and maybe the audience isn't expecting that. I am however glad that Marvel is willing to take that risk. Its Thursday night opening was the biggest of 2014 so far in the USA, so the fans are at least turning up in the beginning. And if this goes out and makes the same kind of money as the other MCU films, that is going to spark a new type of film, both from Marvel and others. This will be just the beginning of Marvel playing around in the so-called "cosmic Marvel" and "magical Marvel" worlds. People will see that once and for all that "superhero" films aren't just about people in tights and capes flying around saving damsels in distress, they can be nearly anything. They can be political spy thrillers, comedic heist pictures, magical fantasies, or crazy space operas. The only limit is on what people actually are willing to watch.

Guardians of the Galaxy rekindled my love for Marvel Studios. It brought me nothing but joy from the second it started to the second it finished. I'm just hoping people are willing to take that leap again and again for Marvel. Next year's Ant-Man might be even more different, at least in terms of superhero films. It's going to stretch our definition of on-screen superheros to the limits. And if Doctor Strange comes after that, then it will be stretched again. Even farther. Marvel isn't slowing down the least, they've only just begun. They've given us the "standard" superhero films. They've given us the brutes and brainiacs who fight for the good of mankind. Now they're giving us the oddballs who aren't necessarily as guided and centred. They're going to keep on expanding and expanding their universe until it encompasses all of it, all at once. And I can't wait until they've done so.


Do you want proof of how crazy Marvel is willing to get? Do you really want to know? You can either watch the best MCU film there is, Guardians of the Galaxy, or you can click below to read a sentence that might just change the course of your life.

Click the button ->:
Howard the Duck is now an MCU canonical character.

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