Friday, August 1, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: A Who's Who

So, by now I'm sure most of you out there are all well aware that I am more than a little excited for The Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I've mentioned it here and I've mentioned it here too, probably a few other places as well. Yeah, old news, right? What can I say? I tend to obsess a bit. Whatever. All that having been said, it occurs to me that no matter how often I've spazzed-out over this recently, I bet there's still a few of you out there who are all like...

Well, good news, kids, because today I'm gonna lay it all out for you. Today, I'm gonna tell you all exactly what it is that I've been "talkin bout". You're welcome. My pleasure. Especially since the movie opens today... Convenient, right? So, pull up a chair and let's get to it, okay? Great. To begin, let's start off with the latest trailer. I like this one. It's very indicative of Director James Gunn's particular joie de vivre (He's a big reason to watch the film, honestly), but it not only sets the tone of the film, it also does a good job of laying out the story.

Let's watch. Cool?

So what do you think? Looks pretty Star Wars like, right? Totally. But in a good way, I think. What we're seeing here is a good old fashioned epic Space Opera and it's been a long time since we've seen one of these. Think Star Wars, but pulpier. Think Indiana Jones, in space. Hell, think Ghostbusters meets Galaxy Quest, ya' get me? You see what I'm saying here, right? It's got some good comedy and it's got some good action. It looks fun, at least I think so (obviously). And the initial responses have been very positive, and not in a frothing hyperbolic geek type way either, people seem to have really enjoyed it. There's a lot of positive comparisons to the films I mentioned above. So what does that mean to you? Well, here's how I look at stuff like this, folks; this is how I weigh critical responses from a large group. The secret is, it's all about tone. I look at the tone across the board, and in this case, the tone is very consistently positive. Sometimes that says a lot more than any particular individual reaction. In a nutshell: I'm hearing good things.

Interested yet? Yes? No? Maybe?

Well, at least you're still reading... So, let's take another minute here and check out the video posted below. This is a quick featurette that helps to introduce some of the main characters.

So awesome. I love it. Plus, the film is surprisingly star-packed, right? And also, I seems pretty familiar once you get a look at it right? Of course it does. The film, the setting, the characters, they may look strange, but it's all working with some classic themes and tropes. This is stuff you will recognize and relate to, so don't let the aesthetics throw you. And for those of you out there who aren't the biggest superhero movie fans, this one is more Star Wars than Avengers, if that helps. Does that help? Do you need more?

I haven't seen the film yet (I plan on going on Sunday), but what the hell, I can make some guesses. How about I break it down for you with a little character break-down...



I've always hated this particular code-name, it's awkward and dumb, but it's a good nod to its pulpy roots. Besides, I've always like the character of Peter Quill. He's your basic Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, John Crichton type of character, the only difference (at least in the film) is that he left Earth as a kid and has grown up among a band of mercenary outlaws in space. Which would be really awesome, I think. He's your standard-issue charming rogue, swaggering and cocky and a little over-confident, your basic Han Solo... basically, but with the added wrinkle being that he knows about Star Wars and cockily considers himself a "Han Solo". In a nutshell, he's the audience... ahem... Anyway, Quill is being played by Chris Pratt. He plays Andy Dwyer on Parks and Rec, and as everyone of taste knows, he is hilarious. The only downside is, it's hard not to see his version of Peter Quill as just the Adventures of Burt Macklin, FBI... in space. Not that that is a bad thing either...

Drax the Destroyer

Drax is a weird character. I'm not really clear on how much of his past they're actually going to be using in the film. I'm not 100% on it in the comic either, but as I understand it (without bothering to google, because who cares), he used to be an astronaut or something, a human guy, basically, but then Thanos killed him and his family and he somehow ended up in this super strong alien body... as you would expect. Then, perhaps understandably, he went nuts and vowed revenge, probably right before muttering: "Also... fuck shirts." From the trailer, it looks like they're only going to use that last "revenge" aspect, plus the shirt bit. Drax is being played by Dave Bautista and normally I'd be a little snarky about that, because... duh... but from everything I've seen so far, his delivery seems like it's gonna be super funny. I hear he's great. I'll just assume he can pull the action stuff off, right? I mean, look at him... the guy is a monster, which is why I tease him from the safety of the Internet only.


Gamora is the daughter of Thanos, the Mad Titan... I know, I know: "Who?" Relax. I'll get to that. Anyway, she's the daughter of Thanos and she has been raised from birth to be the perfect killer. Okay, she's not really his daughter, not by blood at least, but when Thanos says you're his daughter, well... it's decided. Which is probably bad news for your actual parents, since they're probably dead. Anyway, she's a bad ass of the highest degree. She's a killer-diller, people. Look out. In the comics she was originally dressed in a massive cape, two straps, a belt, and a band-aid, so kudos to the folks behind the scenes who have recently put the character in pants. She is played by Zoe Saldana, who at this point deserves some kind of award because she has been working her ass off to be in all the sci-fi movies she can. I think she's been in a billion of them at this point... or four, actually... whatever. Shut up.

Rocket Raccoon

You people are going to love Rocket Raccoon. Y'see, he's a raccoon and he like, burps and farts and swears and stuff. You'll love it. Seriously though, he's awesome. I'm not clear if he's an alien that looks like a raccoon, or a raccoon from Earth that's been kidnapped and augmented, but... six of one, half a dozen of the other, amirite? He's a bounty hunter who likes big guns. It's probably fair to say that Rocket is the type of character who likes two things: Kicking ass and chewing bubble gum... and he's all out of bubble gum, pal. Interesting side-note: Rocket is voiced by Bradley Cooper, which seems like the most ridiculous, out-of-left field choice you could think of, but when you hear it? I didn't expect it, but it seems to work.


Groot is an... odd character. He's a living tree, kind of like an Ent from Lord of the Rings, but not really, because he's in space. If he gets blown up and a splinter is recovered and potted and watered regularly and gets plenty of sun, he will grow back. That's definitely a species bonus. The downside for me, of course, is that I would probably be considered the worst monster their species has ever known (I'm not a good gardener, see?). Also, he can only say one single phrase: "I am Groot", just those three words and only in that order, but every utterance is layered with deep and specific meaning. He's Rocket's partner in crime. He's funny and sweet, but is strong enough to "pull the ears off a gundark", to use the classic parlance. Groot is played by Vin Deisel, Senor Fast and Furious himself, a man who has spent the last few years desperately trying to get Marvel to like him. So, congratulations, Vin, my man! You have finally succeeded, and all it took was your pride.


Everybody loves Michael Rooker, and by "everybody", I mean nerds mostly. He's a current "It Geek". I'm not sure why. I don't disapprove at all, I myself am a nerd and so therefore like him, I'm just not sure of the specifics as to why we're all so hot on him. Whatever. Bottom line: The people love him. So, when it was announced that he was playing Yondu, folks gleefully shit themselves, because... yeah... like I said: mystery. Anyway, Yondu is maybe the one character in the film who's not like his source material at all. In the comics, Yondu was on the original Guardians of the team and that comic took place in the year 3000-something, and he was from a species that was very tribal and favored energy bows. Also, his people have giant red fins on their heads, and as you can plainly see in the picture above... no fin. It's more of a... stubby mohawk, I guess? Because of that bit and the fact that the film takes place in modern times, not the far flung future... he's different. Non-canon, as the kids say. In the film, Yondu apparently leads a gang of mercenary outlaws called The Ravagers. He raises Peter Quill, and he starts chasing Quill across the galaxy after Quill steals a certain valuable orb from him. I will just go ahead and assume it's the one in the picture above.

Corpsman Rhomann Dey

Wait. I take that back, Rhomann Dey might be the character the most changed from his source material. In the comics, he's the guy who pulls a Green Lantern origin story basically, and makes Richard Rider into the hero Nova, a character who doesn't appear in this movie and as a result, is not important information for you to retain. Forget I said anything! Ahem... Dey is part of the Nova Corps. They're space cops. From the trailer, he seems like he's going to be playing the part of the put-upon and somewhat wry career cop who occasional appears and is wry, oh how the harsh realities of life on the space beat have ground him down... Somewhat fittingly, he is being played by John C. Reilly.

Nova Prime Irani Rael

Whoa. That's Glenn Close, and she's playing Nova Prime Irani Rael. What? Who? How? Don't worry about it, it's just one more person in the craziest cast for this type of movie ever. Anyway, as you can probably guess from the "Prime" in her name, Rael is in charge of the Nova Corps, at least in the movie. In the comics? I don't know. And it doesn't really matter. Moving on. Glenn Close, man!


Like Gamora, Nebula is another daughter of Thanos. ("Who?" Shut up...) Also like Gamora, she isn't really Thanos' daughter, but close enough. Also, still very much like Gamora (jesus lady, get your own schtick...), she will easily kill the shit out of you and everyone else you're hanging out with. Naturally, all of this can only mean one thing: GIRL FIGHT TONIGHT! Green vs. Blue, bitches. Get ready. And in an "interesting" crossing of the streams, Nebula is being played by Karen Gillan. She played Amy Pond, everyone's favorite companion to the Doctor, so all this alien whosa-whatsis-hoo-haa is old hat to her. Plus, she actually shaved her head for the role and looked phenomenal afterwards. That's extra bonus points.

The Collector

If you happened to stick around through the credits of Thor: The Dark World, you might remember a scene with Benecio Del Toro dressed up like a weirdo and acting like a crazy person. Well, mostly that was just Benecio Del Toro, but also he was playing a character named Taneleer Tivan. Taneleer Tivan is one of the Elders of the Universe. That group-name kind of makes their whole deal self-explanatory, right? Most likely so does the reason why Taneleer Tivan is often called "The Collector", at least I hope so. He has the Aether thing from Thor's last movie on his ship and the nerd-word on the street says the orb that Peter Quill steals is a similar object of power, and just as rare too, so... perfect for The Collector's collection...


Korath the Pursuer is a bio-augmented hunter/soldier. From what I can tell from the trailer, he is also after Peter Quill for the orb. Notice the pattern here, people... I'm pretty sure he's in the employ of a person named Ronan the Accuser, who I'll introduce next. Ronan is in the employee of Thanos, the Mad Titan (I'll get to him too, I promise). I don't really know anything else about him though. He's a mid-level bad guy, I think, basically inconsequential I would assume. He's the one the heroes deal with early on, before the main bad guy gets there. Korath is played by Djimon Hounsou, who was in Blood Diamond, which was a dumb movie that decided the guy who was trying to save his kidnapped son from being forced into becoming a child soldier should really be the secondary character to Leo Dicaprio's arc-less mercenary character. It was kind of weird, but he's good.

Ronan the Accuser

Ronan the Accusar is part of a race of aliens called the Kree, you might remember them being mentioned once on Agents of SHIELD (BOOOO!), unless you have taste, in which case you don't watch that show. Anyway, he belongs to the Kree's elite Accuser Corps, they are a bunch of really strict military governors and hard-ass judges who carry these huge hammers and smite people left and right. He's a major ass-kicker and kind of a dick. I don't know if they're going to mention any of that though. Well, probably the ass-kicker part, that's a good bet, and that he's a dick, although that might be self-evident...but the rest? Probably not. Especially because, in the comics, the Kree all serve the Supreme Intelligence, which is a giant blobby biological organism in a huge water-filled tank that contains the totality of the Kree's knowledge and wisdom. In the movie though, Ronan appears to be working for Thanos, the Mad Titan (wait for it...). Ronan wants the orb and he knows Peter Quill has it, and he's willing to burn everything to cinders in order to get it. He's played by Lee Pace, who was the best part of the last Hobbit movie, except for Smaug, of course.

Thanos, the Mad Titan

Finally! Right?

Okay so, Thanos is the big bad guy behind all of this. You already caught a quick glimpse of him at the end of the Avengers and you will probably catch a glimpse or two of him in this film as well, maybe as much as a quick scene at the end. You can expect him to be the main bad guy in Avengers 3. Why? Because Thanos, the Mad Titan is a genocidal tyrant. He kills planets. He destroys entire species. He talks during movies. He'll knock your ice cream out of your hand. He takes his sweet-ass time backing out of his parking spot, even though he knows you're waiting for it. He's evil, people. EVIL. He wants nothing more than to wipe us all out and rule over the ashes. So what's his deal? What's his end-game? And why does he want the orb so badly, the one that Peter Quill happened to steal from Yondu on a whim? Well, supposedly this orb, plus the Aether that appeared in Thor 2, and the gem on Loki's staff in the Avengers movie, not to mention the Tesseract from both the 1st Captain America movie and the Avengers movie, are all specific objects of power that in the comic book are known as the Infinity Gems. They are things of great, great power. There are six of them and together they can be assembled into this golden gauntlet called--unsurprisingly--the Infinity Gauntlet, and when that happens... the very pillars of heaven quake. The Infinity Gauntlet gives the wielder total and complete power over reality. Total power. It's basically the last thing in the entire universe you want a crazy-ass, bloody-minded, psychotic Space Tyrant to get ahold of. And the weirdest part of all of this? Thanos is being played by Josh Brolin

Look, just go see the movie. It'll be fun.

We'll talk after,

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