The second in a set of posts comparing other franchises to the Star Fox universe in hopes of finding something that would satisfy us Star Fox fans in absence of an actual Star Fox anime.
Guardians of the Galaxy, as a series, came out of virtually nowhere relative to the much bigger names in the Marvel universe like Iron Man, Spiderman, Hulk, Thor, and so on. But, when it hit the movie scene in 2014, it was a surprise hit of good, rambunctious fun. It is an action movie to the core, with just enough character development to make the audience care, without turning it into a drama. Also, this film series has a bright, optimistic view of the future, but only on some planets. Other planets show a more "meh" future, where crime and back-room deals are the norm.
Peter Quill, who would later give himself the title Star Lord, is kidnapped from Earth as a young boy. He is forced to make his way in the universe without the guidance of family or anything familiar. As a result, he becomes a thief and misfit who makes a (small) name for himself carrying out heists while cherishing his few surviving relics from his home planet. He eventually ends up meeting a bunch of other misfits and together, they form a loose friendship and save the galaxy together.
Though many Marvel movies, as well as the Firefly series mentioned before, have jokes and humorous moments within them, Guardians of the Galaxy stands out as being a lot more silly and low-key. Even though there is a big bad villain trying to take over and the whole galaxy is at stake, these characters are of relatively low seriousness. They are easily distracted and fight amongst themselves. Yet, their unique skills and a whole lot of luck manages to allow them to secure victories, in spite of the odds.
The action takes place on multiple planets, in the atmosphere, and in space. Some planets are Metroid-style wastelands while others are full of huge cities. The fighting is hand to hand, weapon-based, and a fair bit of ship-to-ship. Unlike Star Fox, all the characters are primarily working within one ship, like in Firefly. At one point, however, there is a military air force that they coordinate with in a way strikingly similar to Star Fox's occasional assistance to the Cornerian Defense Force. But it's not all fighting. There's also a slight vibe of a heist movie at one point, which is fitting, given the criminal nature of most of the cast. It's a wonder why the Star Fox team doesn't more often explore the idea of covertly stealing plans from Andross or undermining his schemes, rather than directly stopping him by force.
Rocket, the genetically modified, talking raccoon, bears special discussion. While other movies have had talking animals or anthros before, I think this might be one of the first big productions when the talking animal is not the gag character or treated special in any way. Other characters regard him with no more interest than they do any of the other aliens and freaks that are so common in this series. With a few modifications, Rocket is probably the best case scenario when it comes to serious, furry characters upon which photorealistic Star Fox characters might be based. Rocket is more animal-like than human, but in terms of his writing, personality, and rendering, he's just like a Star Fox character might be. Not that I think photorealism is best for the Star Fox series, Rocket at least shows it could be done effectively.
Guardians of the Galaxy is already popular enough to warrant a sequel, which was released in 2017, just a few months ago. It doesn't look like its popularity is going down, and with Marvel's connected universe system of making movies in play, we'll probably see the characters making additional appearances in other Marvel movies in the near future.
Guardians of the Galaxy can be bought on DVD, Blu-ray, and digitally just about everywhere. And hey! The sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, had it's digital release distribution yesterday (DVD/Blu-ray release is not until August 22nd). I actually only saw the first Guardians of the Galaxy recently, and I haven't yet seen Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Was it any good? What do you guys think of the movies? Do you think Star Fox could gain from their more crazed antics, or do you want something more serious? What about Rocket? Good character? Good model for Star Fox characters in film?