Last night, Rush Urbalejo attended the early sneak peek screening of 17 minutes from Marvel‘s Guardians of the Galaxy. Below are his impressions as well as a recap of the previewed footage. Spoilers will be clearly marked, but proceed with caution.
One of the most interesting things about last night’s Guardians of the Galaxy IMAX sneak peek screening was how many of those attending did not realize only 17 minutes of the new Marvel film would be shown. They were simply there to witness Guardians of the Galaxy – a property not many, even comic book fans, were aware of prior to the film’s marketing spree – in any way, shape, or form possible.
These people represent a very important audience for Marvel. Almost sight unseen they’re willing to wait in line for hours just to see what Marvel’s latest has to offer. What movie-goers witnessed last night was more than just 17 minutes of unseen footage: they witnessed, and were a part of, the Marvel movie phenomenon. It was an eye opening experience to realize that simply adding the Marvel name to a property sparks wide interest and brings audiences to the theaters in droves – even for measly sneak peek!
For those that were hoping the Marvel bubble would burst with Guardians of the Galaxy, well… I have some bad news for you. The 17 minutes of the movie that was screened last night in IMAX theaters across the country was some of the best the Marvel Cinematic Universe has offered us yet. If you want to walk into the movie fresh, with no spoilers, without any preconceived notions, now is the time to turn away. However, if you’re still curious, by all means continue reading.
[Beginning of SPOILERS]
The sneak peek screening begins the same way the first trailer and San Diego Comic Con teaser began: The Guardians – Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), and Peter Quill, or, as he calls himself, Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) – are lining up to take mugshots after being captured by the Nova Corps. Each of the Guardians is introduced by name as well as crime, but if you have seen any of the trailers this isn’t really a new scene.
However, in this rendition of the lineup, the movie goes a bit deeper into some of their back stories, albeit briefly. For instance, Rhomann Dey (John C. Reilly), leader of the Nova Corps and the officer booking the criminal team, does mention that Gamora is in fact the daughter of The Mad Titan, Thanos. As a matter of fact, they even give a little bit of a history between Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Gamora so that the audience immediately understands why the conflict between those two exists.
From here, the Guardians are led to their cell. On the way, Peter Quill catches one of the Nova Corps officers trying out a Walkman that Quill considers a very personal piece of property. Quill stands up to the officer, only to be stunned to the ground with electric batons. Quill is thrown into a shower where he is deloused (?) by some sort of chemical, then thrown into a cell before he turns to give the guard his “angry” face.
Quick side note, this scene best showcases the massive body sculpting Pratt went through in order to get that superhero physique audiences expect. Spoiler: all of that hard work really paid off.
For some reason, the criminals that will later be known as the Guardians of the Galaxy are all placed in the same cell, which will likely be explained in the final cut of the film. While in the cell, Rocket comes in naked after his delousing and there are multiple metal ports installed on his body, further confirming the fact that Rocket is a victim of illegal experimentation.
From the cell, the screen fades for a moment and opens back up as the Guardians are now being walked into general population in Kyln, the Nova prison. They are immediately targeted, thanks to the notoriety of Gamora, and it’s clear that if they do not make their escape quickly, they will likely die in captivity. The team is approached by an inmate who wants to do them harm but is immediately made aware of his mistake by Groot, who uses two fingers to pick up the prisoner three feet off the ground by his nostrils. Groot’s fingers (branches?) then grow to uncomfortable proportions in the would-be attacker’s nasal cavities. Rocket takes this opportunity to make the prisoners around him very aware that anyone who tries to get to Gamora will have to get through him and Groot.
Once they entered general population, Rocket immediately begins plotting a way to escape. According to Rocket, he has escaped from 22 other prisons and that getting free of this one shouldn’t be an issue. After letting the other Guardians know what items would be needed for the escape, Groot – always the helping hand – immediately goes for what should be the last item: a battery pack from the guard tower that is supplying the prison with power. Once the battery is in hand, chaos ensues, during which the team is given the opportunity to make it to guard tower to for their escape.
Once inside, Rocket has the brilliant idea to turn off the artificial gravity everywhere in the prison except for the guard tower they’re currently in. Using a bit of brilliance, the team escapes unharmed. The audience is then treated to a lengthy montage of scenes from the movie, including the first full look of Yondu (Michael Rooker), a snippet of The Collector (Benicio del Toro), Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) and even Nebula makes a brief appearance before the preview cut to the ever popular Marvel Studios logo.
[End of SPOILERS]
The scenes shown in the preview all looked beautiful. James Gunn’s usual brand of humor is sprinkled throughout the 17 minutes of footage and it melds perfectly with Marvel’s own snarky personality. The CGI is absolutely mind-blowing – from Rocket and Groot, to Knowhere, and everything in between. The 3D is more than just a little impressive and the scene in which the Guardians escape from Klyn plays like a theme park ride. The acting is strong, though Saldana is obviously the most seasoned of the actors on screen. Rocket and Groot, however, steal the show. The characters audiences will find the most unlikely heroes of this story are guaranteed to be the favorites at the end of the day. Marvel has managed to take a property so few are very familiar with and turn it into something that feels very much like it is part of the MCU.
Guardians of the Galaxy seems to be the perfect way to end the summer and will likely land its punches in every way that matters. Check out the latest extended trailer below, and let us know if you saw the IMAX footage and what you thought in the comments below! Are you excited for the next installment of MCU’s Phase 2?
Guardians of the Galaxy opens in theaters on August 1st.