With the first official trailer debuting tonight, fans everywhere are about to start truly talking about Guardians of the Galaxy. The one thing everyone agrees on so far is that this movie represents the single biggest risk Marvel Studios has taken thus far. The success or failure of this film will surely show us how the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be. If it is a success? Obviously Marvel will be more willing and eager to take risks on other lesser-known properties (Inhumans, Heroes For Hire, etc). If it is a failure, however... we could see a more streamlined, linear MCU that focuses solely on established commodities like The Avengers, Thor, Iron Man, etc.
For that reason alone, even people who aren't interested in Guardians should be pulling for it to be a huge hit. Because rest assured: if this film fails? We will NOT be seeing films of any other cult-favorite Marvel comics anytime soon. That Punisher reboot you were hoping for? No way in hell. That Hulk sequel starring Ruffalo? A *lot* less likely. Marvel may not be saying it... but the entire direction the MCU is going in may well rest on our beloved Rocket's furry little shoulders.
Which brings me to five reasons why this movie COULD be a colossal hit...
1. Star power: One thing this film has going for it right off the bat is star power. Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper both have huge fanbases, Chris Pratt has a sizable fanbase, WWE fans will want to see Dave Batista, and Star Trek/Avatar fans will want to see Zoe Saldana. As long as the marketing people do their jobs, the cast in and of itself should account for quite a bit of box office revenue.
|Vin Diesel is a tree hugger.|
2. Rocket Raccoon: The big X-Factor of this movie. Rocket, if done properly, has the potential to be the breakout star of the MCU, on a massive, Iron Man level. He's got the attitude, snarky humor, and penchant for violence that will bring in the older fans, and cute, cuddly appearance that will endear children to him. Rocket is the film's biggest gamble, but one that if utilized properly, should pay off HUGE.
3. Snark In Space: If we've learned anything from JJ Abrams "Star Trek" reboot, it's that a mix of high-energy action, witty and snappy banter between the characters, and well-placed drama will bring in crowds. At least in the comics, this team has all three things in spades. The banter between Rocket and Star-Lord is constantly entertaining, Groot is used for a perfect mix of comedy and kick-ass action, Gamora should be good for at least one amazing fight scene, Rocket's origin (if they go where we all suspect they are with it) is good for some drama, and there should be plenty of great sci-fi action to be had. This has all the earmarks of a huge hit.
|They made a movie out of those toys?|
4. Merchandising: Marvel is doing one thing right already - they are marketing the HELL out of this film in regards to merchandising. I don't think I've seen this much merchandise for a Marvel movie right out of the gate other than Avengers. They're doing their best to assure that every kid is going to want to see Rocket, Groot and company on the big screen. Hell, I'm 40 years old and I'M excited for some of the merchandise.
5. The Avengers Connection: If Marvel Studios is smart, they'll be making damn well sure that EVERYONE knows this is the last film before Avengers: Age Of Ultron. By now, everyone who loves these movies knows they all connect in some fashion, so being the last movie in line before the sequel to the biggest movie in recent history has to create SOME buzz. Now, granted... if the MCU is going in the direction we think it is, "Guardians" will likely tie in far closer to the THIRD Avengers film than the second, but shhh. That can be our little secret, right? Right???
|"Those guys are like Guardians of the Galaxy on Earth."|
...and five reasons it could be a (gulp!) utter failure.
1. Rocket Raccoon/Groot: As I mentioned earlier, Rocket is the X-Factor here. If people think he and Groot seem cool, they'll support the characters (and the film) in droves. However... as much as I love Star Wars, the prequel trilogy did a LOT of harm to people's opinion of CGI and CGI-based characters. If people get the impression either of them are going to be another Jar Jar Binks type of character, or if they think the concept of either is too ridiculous, general audiences will turn on this film faster than you could imagine.
|"But..but..raccoons can't talk. I'm confused."|
2. Marketing: Despite the initial merchandising onslaught, a lot of fans fear that Marvel isn't totally on board with supporting the film properly. If that is the case, the movie could fail spectacularly. We all can be honest and admit that to the casual fan, this movie is going to be a HARD SELL. Your average person who watched Avengers but doesn't read the comics is NOT going to be leaping in excitement over the chance to see a movie full of characters they've never heard of, a talking tree, and a raccoon with a rifle. With Avengers, there wasn't a whole lot of marketing needed. It more or less spoke for itself. Marvel is going to have to WORK for this one.
3. Casting: While Chris Pratt seems, on paper at least, to be a good choice for Peter Quill, he's also a highly unproven commodity as far as being a leading man goes. If this becomes the breakout role some of us are expecting it to be? Boom. A star is born and so is a franchise. But if he's a bad fit for the role it could create a disaster.
|"Chris Pratt? Who's he? I'm confused."|
4. Too much story, too little time?: This is *my* biggest fear. You've got five main characters, all of whom have never been in a movie before. Meaning you've got to find a way to properly tell us who all five of them are in a way that will make us care about them, PLUS fit in the plot of the movie, all in the span of about two hours.
5. Timing: Between the new Transformers film, Amazing Spider-Man 2, 22 Jump Street, Rise of The Planet of The Apes, X-Men, and so many more, there are a LOT of movies coming out this spring/summer that people are looking forward to. Meaning, they might be more thrifty when it comes to seeing movies they're not sure about. This is where Marvel HAS to act. They've got to *make* people want to see this movie. If not.... uh-oh.
|"Now X-Men! That's more like it. I'm not confused anymore."|
Now, having said all of this, let me state for the record that I personally think the film is going to be a hit. Whether or not it makes as much as we'd all like remains to be seen, but I still think it's going to be at the very least a big enough hit to warrant the rumored sequel in Phase 3. We all need to do our part to hype this film up. Tell your friends about it. Tweet about it. Post to Facebook about it (because really... nobody needs to see another 100 photos of your kids. WE WANT ROCKET!).
This could be an exciting new phase beginning for the MCU. So many great things could come of this movie being a hit. So keep your fingers crossed, fellow Galaxians! Only thing we know for sure here is... AUGUST 1ST CAN'T GET HERE SOON ENOUGH!