Grousing About the Guardians
Godzilla more or less kicked off the summer a week early (just how well it did is highly debatable), but there are a ton of awesome movies slated for the blockbuster season–chief of which (in my mind, anyway) is August’s Guardians of the Galaxy. No movie has me more psyched. Hell, I don’t think any Marvel movie has had me more psyched (save for Avengers, perhaps). A month ago, I didn’t think that Marvel could do wrong as far as GotG is concerned. Now I’m not so sure.
Monday saw the release of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s second trailer, and it is awesome! Ronan the Accuser, Knowwhere, and Glenn Close with a space age… hairdo. Not to mention first lines from Groot and Rocket (and that costume “adjustment” is laugh-out-loud worthy). All that is missing by my count is Cosmo the telepathic canine cosmonaut… Basically, it’s two and half minutes of high octane awesome.
“So, what’s the problem,” you’re asking yourself. “If the trailer was so good, why are you complaining?”
My problem isn’t with the trailer. My problem (well, my first problem) is with the three trailers for the trailer.
For days in advance of the Monday release, Marvel was teasing the trailer with three, 30-second ad spots. They felt compelled to tease 90 seconds of a two and a half minute long trailer. I mean, what? Are we finally at a stage in our relationship with media that we need trailers for movie trailers? By the time the actual trailer finally ran, I wasn’t excited to see it (though that passed pretty quickly), I was just annoyed that they didn’t run it on Friday. That’s not a feeling you want to instill in the people closest to your media, Marvel.
Marvel is also making a major push on the comics front, including a new Star-Lord standalone title and a “Guardians 3000” series, a title which conjures to mind images of the original disco-era Guardians. All of this comes in addition to the main Guardians title and the Original Sin event, which heavily features the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe. All of this begs the question: is Marvel betting too big on the Guardians film?
I’m optimistic, of course. I think Guardians will be a smashing success (or so I hope, at any rate), but there is definitely a margin for error. Guardians is going to rely on kids dragging their parents into the theater more than any other Marvel movie to date. The space-ship-zooming, Star Wars-iness of it all makes it an easy win for the core fan, but much less appealing to those whom Disney characterized as being uninterested in movie with “Mars” in the title (hence we got the boringly named “John Carter,” which attracted no one). Of course, a tragi-comic, sociopathic talking raccoon whose catchphrase is, “Blam! I murdered you!” does not necessarily translate well into a kid-relatable movie.
Guardians also has another challenge this summer in the form of Jupiter Ascending, a space opera from the Wachowski clan, the same auteurs who brought us that perennial classic, Speed Racer. Much like the Guardians, Jupiter Ascending appears to be about space ships zooming, replete with Star Wars-iness. I’m not sure if I recall any other Marvel movie competing against another film in the same season with such similar thematics. Will all of the space opera awesome be too much for general audiences to handle, and ultimately hurt my beloved Guardians? I mean I plan to buy, like, six tickets to each, but I’m definitely not “general audiences.”
Honestly, I think Guardians has a chance to break box office records—not just weekend records, but Marvel’s as well. It has everything in the mix to get summer audiences out of the sun and into the theaters. But there are challenges all along the way, from general marketing to cross-promotion to other films competing for the same mindshare. One thing is for sure: at least Drax the Destroyer’s first appearance to the public wasn’t in a Carl’s Jr. commercial…