(CBR) As a guy with a very big soft spot for late night talk shows, I'm certainly not opposed to watching Jimmy Kimmel's show -- I just know now that I'll only make a point to watch it if there's a guarantee of a machine gun-toting raccoon. I tuned in last night and I was not disappointed. Sidenote: I hope the Kimmel Promotion Team keeps us all abreast of any future non Marvel movie related machinegun-toting raccoon appearances. The first trailer for "Guardians of the Galaxy" dropped on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" last night, following a walk-on appearance by Chris "Peter 'Star-Lord' Quill" Pratt, and it exited our television atmosphere just before midnight -- meaning I got to avoid Jimmy gabbing with Bill O'Reilly. A night of victories!
So, how about that "Guardians of the Galaxy" trailer? That was pretty awesome, right? I've never seen a James Gunn movie (I'm fully anticipating an annoying barrage of "You GOTTA see 'Slither'!" responses, possibly tying the number of "You GOTTA see 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang'!" comments I got last summer), but this James Gunn movie looks like one I definitely won't miss. Even if my own personal affection for the Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning "Guardians" era was removed, and even if the Marvel ties were completely removed, I would still want to see it. The "Guardians of the Galaxy" trailer not only hints at a drastically different future for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it also presents a movie that doesn't feel like any I've encountered in a good long while.
To address the latter point succinctly, so far "Guardians of the Galaxy" feels like the "Star Wars" sequel I've been waiting to see on the big screen since… well, forever. As a kid born a year after Ewoks overthrew the Empire across multiplexes nationwide, I've never known the joy of seeing a new "Star Wars" that accurately continued the original trilogy's tone. Sure, I got "The Phantom Menace" and its sister films, and I was even convinced that those jams were worthwhile for a good number of years, but I've since come to realize that the prequels don't capture the zest of the original trilogy. "Guardians," you guys, seems to have it.
That's pretty lofty praise! I mean, comparing a film to "Star Wars"? It doesn't get more complimentary than that in these circles. But "Hooked On a Feeling" and Earth shout-outs aside, the two and a half minutes of footage we've seen just scream classic "Star Wars" to me. The characters already seem dangerously alive, even with scant lines between all five of them, with every actor bringing a vivacious energy to their crazy sci-fi dialogue. Inhuman characters like Groot and Rocket are hard to pull off; you either get an unrelatable, cringe-inducing cartoon character like Jar Jar Binks, or you get sympathetic characters that feel fully formed -- despite or possibly because of their inhuman features -- like Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2. Groot and Rocket already feel like the latter. Zoe Saldana's upped her already considerable acting game for her performance as Gamora, one that fills the screen with gleeful menace every time she's seen. She's got Princess Leia's Death Star swagger and Boba Fett's menacing mystique (you know, the mystique he had before a blind guy accidentally sent him rocketing into a sand worm's belly). While Dave Bautista's Drax is still a bit of a captivating enigma, Pratt's Star-Lord makes up for it times a million. His performance feels as effortlessly charismatic as Harrison Ford's in "Star Wars," with the character feeling both ironically detached and passionately committed at the same time. We may never get a real Han Solo movie; "Guardians of the Galaxy" may be the next best thing.


The characters also feel so "Star Wars"-y because of the universe they inhabit. This isn't the clean "Star Trek" outer space, no, no, no. This is a dirty universe, filled with poorly painted starships, dimly lit corridors and walls with chipped paint. You could tell me that the Nova Corps HQ was actually the Death Star and, you know, I'd buy it. Everything that was shown in this trailer looks good and it looks cohesive.

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