COMICS PORTAL: The ‘Guardians’ Challenge

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Nobody is happier than I am that more comics-related properties are hitting the big screen. As I’ve said before, each comic can be considered as a possible movie, sometimes even showing how it could look in the movies.

Marvel Studios’ Phase II is going to be very interesting to watch for many reasons, and I’ll outline them below.

WHAT CONCERNS ME

A lot of what made Phase I work so well was that it featured many of Marvel’s most popular characters, including members of the Avengers. I heard person after person, even those who didn’t read comics any longer, say how excited they were to see these characters in a live-action film.

I don’t hear much of that excitement about Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, for example. Granted, Marvel has been doing a good job promoting the latter, especially. But we need to face facts: Without a film on the horizon, these characters couldn’t keep a monthly comic going. And it takes a lot more people to support a movie than it does to make an ongoing comic successful.

The biggest hit right now seems to be Rocket Raccoon, who’s going to be a CGI character. I’m glad he’s getting his chance to shine, but will he be enough to draw the crowds into theaters?

I’m also concerned about the kind of humor Marvel Studios has brought to the table in both films and television. Sci-fi fans want any science fiction to be serious stuff. Any hint of “silly” will send them into the streets, screaming. Guardians needs to attract that fandom in order to be a big hit, in my opinion. One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC and Marvel Universe on Disney XD is that the humor on that show is too “juvenile,” or meant for younger kids rather than adults. That just won’t work for sci-fi fans, especially if there’s too much of it. And the effects needs to “wow” them, too.

It’s also good that Marvel Studios is wooing “name” actors to appear. With Guardians, though, Vin Diesel is rumored to say only a few words, so that’s not going to be much of a draw. It’ll be up to the rest of the cast to make the movie enjoyable, really.

I enjoyed John Byrne’s Starlord, but the rest of the group has never caught my attention. Could a major motion picture change that?

What matters to many of us is that we get a good story. I found a significant portion of Avengers to be too close to comics in how it handled things. There were plot holes you could push Galactus through, honestly. I’m always told that I should shut off my brain when going to see a film, but that’s not something I can do. A good movie not only engages the eye, but also the mind.

WHAT INTERESTS ME

I just love that second-tier characters are getting their chance to appear on the movie screen. The biggest thing that Ant-Man did before this was to lead the Avengers in a short-lived animated series. Guardians, if it’s done well, can boost that team into first-level heroes, and an ongoing comic book wouldn’t be far behind.

It would also open the door for other characters to make it in movies as well. Since I like third- and fourth-tier Marvel heroes, maybe even Black Knight, Stingray or Sunfire might get their day in the sun. Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

I do expect the costumes, sets and effects to be great, based on Marvel movies I’ve already seen.

Marvel Studios is already getting plenty of buzz about Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I’m hoping that will spill over into the Phase II films as well. “Made by the company that brought you Captain America” could be its theme.

TIME TO GET MORE COMICS MOVIES MADE

Right now is the ideal time for more comics properties to get optioned and made into movies, based on Marvel Studios’ success.

When I think about what could happen, I imagine a Wonder Woman movie, something with the Legion of Super-Heroes and even the Metal Men. The Hulk could be back, too!

I also like to consider Invincible getting his shot, not to mention improved Green Lantern and Green Hornet films. Elfquest would be a terrific animated movie. The more realistic crime dramas like Stumptown also come to mind. Nexus even!

I continue to be happy that Daredevil and other Marvel characters are going to debut on Netflix, and that Arrow is such a big success on The CW. Let’s keep this trending as we move forward!

Guardians of the Galaxy will warp into theaters on August 1, 2014. Ant-Man will appear on July 17, 2015.