In case we weren’t already excited enough for the adventures of Star-Lord and his motley crew of criminal misfits, Marvel screened 17 minutes of Guardians of the Galaxy to secure our undivided adoration for the next 4 weeks. Fans lucky enough to secure seats in the nationwide screenings of footage were able to experience a pivotal scene from the upcoming adaptation. We’re going to describe it for you here in as much detail as possible, but we’ll be straightforward first: it’s amazing. I tell you this now so that you can skip reading the following description and have faith that the movie is lining up to be the best sci-fi opus this side of Star Wars. That said, potential spoilers abound…
We open on the now familiar criminal line up of our four mischief magnets. Nova Corps members (John C. Reilly and Peter Serafinowicz) are discussing the backstories of the Guardians. Most of the run downs are available in previously released GotG character clips, but the extended explanation of who Zoe Saldana’s Gamora is also gives us a convenient update on the plot. Ronan is stirring up s#!t in the galaxy and Thanos (shaded just enough that we can’t quite tell who it is, no Brolin jaw line yet) has “loaned” his adopted daughters/assassins for those stirring purposes.
Rocket Raccoon, Star-Lord, Groot and Gamora are being shipped off to an intergalactic prison called the Kyln. Woo-hoo pottery enthusiasts! Once there, a Bradley Cooper-voiced Rocket fills us in on a few key facts. First off, he’s an expert at escaping from prisons, with 28 escapes under his belt. Second in the reveals through casual exposition is that he and Groot were after the bounty on Quill’s head, most likely because he’s gotten hold of one of the Infinity Gems. Gamora was after Quill for the same gem. While Rocket assumed it was for Ronan, Gamora is adamant she was going to flip the gem to a third party. Judging by the smack down we caught glimpses of between Gamora and her sister Nebula, we’re going to guess she isn’t planning on turning it over to Thanos either, which is probably where The Collector will come into play — pure speculation on that last part folks, but it works with the rumors that he would be playing both sides.
While being escorted into the prison, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) notices a guard has taken his walkman cassette player. We hear the beginning of the now infamously-associated-to-the-film track “Hooked on a Feeling.” Quill won’t back down when the guard orders him to and ultimately is tazed until he can’t keep his feet. Here is where we are treated to some Star-Lord sexy time (trademarked?) as he is hosed down in a Tang looking substance. Happily, the sexualization of the prison inmates is limited to our fearless leader. Probably not a huge deal, but kudos to Gunn for not taking the opportunity to over-sexualize the situation and focus on Gamora.
As the crew works its way into gen pop (I watched the first season of Oz), Rocket starts formulating a plan to escape. Surrounded by convicts from other systems, including a well placed background cameo from Troma head Lloyd Kaufman. Peter Quill is confronted by a big brute of an alien (Update: this is Nathan Fillion’s cameo) that threatens him. Groot and Rocket Raccoon quickly put him down and tell the population of the prison that if they were in charge and Quill was off-limits.
Rocket tasks the team with obtaining multiple items for escape: a wrist pad on an access guard’s arm (think power glove embedded into someone’s forearm), another inmates prosthetic leg, and a power battery. While explaining that the battery is the hardest to obtain, Groot is seen out of focus in the background grabbing the battery, with the only person paying any attention to Groot being Drax the Destroyer. Just as Rocket finishes explaining that removing the battery will trigger the alarm and should be saved for last in the foreground, Groot is pulling the battery free in the background setting off said alarm.
Quickly moving to retrieve the other parts necessary, Gamora begins fighting her way through guards to get to the one with the wrist pad. Star-Lord breaks off to retrieve the prosthetic and Rocket teams up with Groot to lay a beat down on any guards or sentries that come near them. As Rocket and Groot start to get pushed back, Drax supplies Rocket with some much needed artillery and the sparks begin a flyin’. Rocket and Groot are the new Han and Chewie. They are going to steal every scene they’re in.
As Peter Quill returns with the prosthetic, he is bailed out of a beating from a few guards by Drax. Gamora joins Rocket with her piece of the raccoon’s puzzle as he heads up Groot toward the security tower. Peter Quill and then Drax follow suit, oddly climbing up Groot’s right leg. With all of the pieces in place, the Guardians enter the security tower, giving us our first team “splash page.”
With Nova Corps reinforcements on their way, Rocket moves quickly, implementing his plan that doesn’t actually need a prosthetic (ha). While several barbs are traded between the new colleagues, it’s revealed that Drax has a vested interest in getting back at Ronan (we know from previous trailers and character bios that Ronan killed his family) and is sticking close to Gamora to get to her boss… who she is flipping on to a guy most likely to turn on them… who received an infinity gem from Asguardians in the post-credits scenes of Thor 2. Still with us?
As Rocket’s plan starts taking shape, Nova Corps reinforcements begin using rocket launchers to take out the reinforced windows of the tower. Just as the windows are about to give from the bombardment, the smartest Raccoon ever takes out the prison’s artificial gravity everywhere in the Kyln except within the tower. Using his access to sentries through security tower controls, Rocket reprograms them into thrusters for the now disconnected tower station. Within minutes, Rocket Raccoon has created a ship to get them out of the first layer of security.
The footage then jumps to this extended trailer that details Peter Quill’s plan to save the universe. Well, his 12% of a plan that is.
And that’s it. You now have a very good idea of what we got to see tonight. I say good idea, because I already need to see it again. There are so many layers to this film that I know I missed a bunch of details — details that this movie is obviously full of. From his inclusion of specific alien races that firm up the cosmic Marvel Universe to including his long time mentor Lloyd Kaufman, James Gunn is prepping the richest Marvel film to date. With our eyes focused on Comic-Con, we can’t wait to hear what else this film has in store for us.
Guardians of the Galaxy is in theaters August 1st.