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‘GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY': New trailer packs humor, star power — and the rise of Rocket Raccoon

Team “Guardians” suits up. (courtesy of Disney/Marvel.)


ED. NOTE: When it comes to which Marvel character will have the summer’s highest profile as a brand, this may not be the summer of Spidey, Wolverine or Magneto when all is said and done and McSpent. It could yet be the season of quick-talking Rocket Raccoon. As the latest “Guardians of the Galaxy” trailer is released today to the strains of Norman Greenbaum and Blue Swede, some of Marvel’s strategies – if not cinematic narrative – are coming more fully into focus. So weighing in is Comic Riffs contributor David Betancourt, to break down just what it is we’re seeing in the movie’s new peek.


THE FIRST “Guardians of the Galaxy” trailer was a Guardians 101 introduction, of sorts, to a general public not so familiar with these characters. But now, a slightly more in-depth trailer is released to appease the “GOTG” fanboys vacillating between hyperventilation and bated breath.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” has a difficult mission if it tries to keep pace with the year’s two most recent superhero blockbusters — “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” — both of which debuted domestically with takes north of $90-million. (And “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” opening this weekend, could well, become the third.)

“Guardians” lacks broad character familiarity among the moviegoing public, but what it lacks in character-name recognition, it compensates for with star power. The trailer provides flashes of the big names – and big voices – attached: We see Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista, as well as the characters voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. Because star power is the biggest engine this film has as Marvel aims to launch it as a franchise.

Here are Six Things That Comic Riffs Took From the Trailer:

1. Star-who?

We again get a silly “Who is Star-Lord?” scene that establishes Pratt’s Star-Lord as not being the well-known galactic brand he thinks he is — only in the new trailer, we see his fancy high-tech escape. Star-Lord, a.k.a. Peter Quill, is a leader whose example may not be best to follow — a charming quality when you consider he’s leading a group of rogues (also known as: the thief, the thugs, the assassins and the maniac).

2. Rebels with a cause

The disdain for the group is evident. When they’re prisoners, and considered criminals, for a portion of the movie, you only need listen to their captors. Nobody seems to like these guys. (Not even Zoe Saldana, apparently – as a green assassin who happens to be the most dangerous woman in the universe. And even Glenn Close and John C. Reilly express their serious doubts.) Don’t expect the harmonious superheroics of previous Marvel flicks; this is most certainly a crew of anti-heroes.

3. Looking for laughs

Compared with some Marvel films, the jokes here are ratcheted up. Although every Marvel flick provides laughs (right down to those Stan Lee cameos), this Marvel trailer has an especially comedic vibe — John C. Reilly is a comic standout – but that makes it hard to get a feel for the true tone of this film. Will this all be one big, cosmic laugh-fest? Marvel is withholding plenty of action from these trailers, but what aspects will dominate: The deep-space action? The goofiness? A fusion of both? And if that last option: Will it work?

4. He is Groot

Diesel, of course, voices Rocket Raccoon’s barky pal, Groot. Did you catch his line? “I am Groot.” If you read the comics, you know you’ll be hearing that more than once.

5. Gamora and Star-Lord

The trailer hints at a fling, or at least romantic sparks, between Star-Lord and Gamora. Makes sense, cinematically. He’s the gang’s swashbuckling leader; she’s the leading lady. But how much of an element will this be? The current Guardians Marvel comic series – -which is being written by Brian Michael Bendis (also a consultant to the filmmakers) — portrays Quill as an intergalactic playboy, and Gamora as a warrior with little time to love. If this is something bigger than it seems, how will comic-book fans react? And would such a twist be worth it to appeal to the general public?

6. Rocket speaks

Despite Diesel’s octave-dropping talents, the voice-over that will grab the limelight is Cooper’s turn as Rocket Raccoon. It’s hard to envision an outcome in which Rocket doesn’t become the star of this movie. Modern CGI, a tiny raccoon, large guns and a tree for a best friend? Could Rocket be the furry franchise star?

Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.



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Michael Cavna · May 19, 2014

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