Every Guardians of the Galaxy trailer released has been met by heaps of praise and one single complaint; people want to see more of the movie. It seems Marvel Studios heard the demand and knowing bumping up the August 1st release date would be impossible opted for the next best thing, seventeen minutes of unreleased footage scened for audiences for free one night only in full 3D IMAX glory. Of course I had to check it out…
I don’t want to spoil anyone’s first exposure to the material shown so I will not be including a shot-by-shot breakdown of what was shown at the screening. However I will share with you my general impressions and what you might be able to expect from the final picture (very minor spoilers ahead).
Most of what was shown takes place in the prison that we have seen bits and pieces of in previous trailers and Marvel wisely picked clips where each team member is given a chance to shine. If this preview is any indication Rocket Raccoon will the breakout star of this movie. He is set up as the brains behind our band of misfits and was easily the most three dimensional of the five main characters presented. Any fears I had concerning Rocket’s transition to the silver screen are gone and Bradley Cooper’s voice is barely distinguishable as his own coming out of Rocket’s cgi raccoon body. Groot is Groot (as I’m sure he would tell you), the tree of flexible height carries himself with an affable grace and childlike innocence with facial expressions reminiscent of the Iron Giant also voiced by Vin Diesel. Continuing his breakout year Chris Pratt plays Peter Quill with a charming awkward confidence, keeping his in charge attitude even when clearly out of his depth. Gamora and Drax were mostly silent and deadly in this preview with some slick action sequences. I suspect they will likely end up playing the straight man to some of the more flamboyant characters such as Rocket and Star-Lord. Though it should be noted that Drax did get one of the biggest laughs in my theater.
We knew this movie was putting a lot of focus on comedy and rest assured the laughs come fast and furiously, both verbal and visual. I was less prepared to find that there are also some small quieter moments that doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the darker moments of these character’s pasts. Make no mistake, this movie feels grounded in the same Marvel cinematic universe that houses our other familiar superheroes (albeit on the other side of the galaxy).
At the end of the screening I walked away happy with a more fleshed out idea of what we will all be seeing when Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters in just a few weeks. Avatar screened previews of similar length in theaters before that movie went on to make billions of dollars and I suspect if Guardians takes off at the box-office we will be seeing a lot more screenings like this in the future. It’s not a strategy that will work for every movie but in this case it showcases the studio’s full confidence in their end product. Marvel hopes everyone who came last night will not only show up again opening weekend but will also bring their friends and sing the virtues of seeing Guardians of the Galaxy in 3D on an IMAX screen. In the past I have found myself voicing my disappointment with the 3D post conversion of Marvel’s films but director James Gunn has talked openly about the extra attention he has given the 3D “experience” and I must admit it shows. Both the scenes and the slightly longer cut of the extended trailer above looked amazing on the big IMAX screen. This is the first Marvel movie I honestly feel you will be missing out by seeing it in 2D. Regardless of how you see it, you can find me in line opening night.
Those are my thoughts but if you were lucky enough to make it to one of the dozens of screenings across the country be sure to leave your impressions in the comments below!