I never thought I’d say this, but perhaps I’m experiencing “saving the universe” fatigue. I absolutely adore superhero flicks, and I cherish Marvel Studios’ mighty offerings above almost anything else, but their indulgent repertoire of existence-threatening villains is a bit tiring. That trope is especially grating after watching this latest Guardians of the Galaxy trailer, in which the usually goofy team is rebranded as a serious vigilante group. This revision isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but instead just a bit conventional. Boring. Stale. Average bitch-esque.
Still, this trailer emphasizes some serious problems for Marvel Studios. Big, earth threatening villains, and universe-threatening for that matter, are passé. Much like the first two acts of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (before that huge, spectacle laden third act), Marvel should evolve their flicks into smaller, more story driven affairs. We don’t need the giant set pieces and big explosions. The grand tension of the movie mustn’t always rely on “the world will end!”. I’m totally fine with a smaller threat. Marvel’s surely flirted with this notion in Phase 2, but their third acts always betray the setup, and deliver the overly familiar superhero vs world-ending villain. Thor vs Malekith. Iron Man vs Mandarin. Captain America vs Hydra.
Give me some small time crooks! Can you imagine a Captain America movie in the style of Léon: The Professional? Or Thor as an adventure movie like an old western, maybe True Grit? Thor roaming around the galaxy as he hunts a mid-level villain. No universe ending threat. Just a good ol’ fashioned adventure flick.