Fun with Franchises: Our Favorite Images from The Marvel Universe – Guardians of the Galaxy
One of the recurring features that we do in Fun with Franchises (a feature within a feature) is, after we finish watching a film, we go through and pick out our favorite images from that film. These images could be anything from really famous images from the film or franchise, really beautifully composed shots, shots that are funny to us because of the facial expressions being made in them or because of what we said about them in the article in which they appeared, or simply because they have boobs in them.
How we do this is, in the same way we watch the films, Colin and I separately pick out about ten to fifteen shots that we really liked. (This typically ends up being him picking out around 30 and me having around 70.) Then we compare lists, and whichever ones we both chose automatically make our final list. Everything else we talk through. We have it down to a science by now. Within four total emails, we’re left with a final list of ten images we liked the best, along with ten honorable mentions, which were also as good, but just missed out on making the list proper. (And then more we just work in. Just cause.)
It’s not very complicated (like most things we do here at B+ Movie Blog), and is just a way for us to point out shots that we really liked in the films, especially since we tend to pick stuff that’s not always on the beaten path. (We also don’t officially rank the list of shots. We just put them in chronological order. Simply picking them is hard enough. We don’t want to make our lives any harder. Plus, we’re lazy.)
That said — here are our favorite images from Guardians of the Galaxy:
Aww, shit, we have to do shots?
All right, let’s get ready.
All right, I’m good. Let’s get going.
1. Awesome Mix Vol. 1
First, I like the simplicity of the shot. Just the tape deck. Really simple, also really memorable. Second, I like how tricked out 80s it is. This is what a child’s tape deck would have looked like in the 80s. Why he had it or how he got it is beyond me. I assume there was a period where he had to acclimate to Yondu and his men (since they basically stole him) and they got him this for his birthday (how fun would that be, celebrating your birthday among a crew of space pirates?). Probably had to steal it from Earth or had someone make it specifically from some picked up broadcast from an old Radio Shack commercial and had him make it from that.
It’s pretty amazing how simply evocative this is of a certain time and place. Mike mentioned the stickers — we all had those stickers. The troll doll is an obvious choice. But to me, it’s none of those things, and not even the cassette. It’s the wood, or rather, what I assume is just wood-pattern vinyl. Nothing screams late 70s to late 80s Americana like wood-pattern vinyl on stuff.
Like, if you think about it — the movie Christmas Vacation features an ’88/89 Ford Taurus with simulated wood trim, despite the fact that the car didn’t exist. Why? Cause the original car from Vacation had simulated wood trim and it was so in..grained…in our minds as the trim of an American family car.
So I look at this image, and I’m immediately taken back to that point in time. Bizarre that a color and visual texture can provide such instantaneous context, but it does.
2. Colors in Space
I like the use of the color palette. It’s fucking space. Have fun with the colors. Otherwise, what are we doing?
They picked a color palette and stuck to it. Good for them. Space in this movie looks so much less boring than it usually does in movies. This looks like the crazy stuff they print from the Hubble Space Telescope (or as Thor calls it, the “Hooble”), not like the stupid void we usually get.
3. Space Silhouettes
I like the space coloring — their silhouettes — and the framing of it all. This is one of those shots they know looks nice and deliberately cut wide to have it at the right moment?
Also — where can you get a shot like this? Knowhere.
Thank you everybody, and be sure to tip your waitress.
Just not too far, though, she has vertigo.
Space silhouettes in a frame. Come on. That looks great.
This shot is hilarious. They say “Oh no,” and you know that he did something, but then you see this image and you can’t not laugh. Just him laughing and going, “YES! FINALLY!” is just incredible. Everyone should show up to everywhere like this.
This is how Dennis Hopper showed up everywhere in Blue Velvet.
This image will never not be hilarious to me because it’s the ultimate ‘fuck it’ shot. It’s like when someone shows up at a buffet hungry as shit and decides to eat it all, even though you know that they’ll still only make it through a little bit before giving up. You’ll be vanquished, but you show up spitting game.
You don’t see coloring like this in any movie. This stands out. This is memorable.
This is also brain and spinal fluid from the head of a celestial being. Which adds to it.
This is how I wanna go.
Yellow. I want to point out that this is the fifth shot on this list. Yellow No. 5.
The red on her face making the nice purple color is nice. Plus the fact that she’s two-toned is also nice. Huge fan of this.
Real light on a real person with real makeup on. This is so crisp. And she’s usually pretty dark blue, so when she goes this red color, it’s stunning. Look at the texture on her face!
7. More Red
This is another one they knew would be good. It’s the red covering this whole place and the silhouette that makes it.
Color. This movie did NOT fuck up on color, that’s for damn sure.
This was a money shot in the trailer and in the movie.
If there’s one thing Colin and other people will remember about all of my living situations since they’ve known me — I like things that glow in the dark. So this type of shot will always make a list of favorites.
For once, the darkness in one of these movies doesn’t annoy me.
I was so happy that we both picked this shot, since we both didn’t really call it out at all in the article. These are my favorite inclusions, when you’re picking shots and you go, “Oh damn, this is nice.” And I always have that moment of, “I hope Colin picks it too, so I can get it on the top ten rather than trying to get it on the rest and making a case for it.” The only thing that would make this shot better is the lack of CGI in the background. It’s the top framing and the widescreen aspect that make this. The dangling body is just a plus.
I love the cliffhanger shot. Good clouds, framing at the top, and a person hanging. Wide shots, people. They will take you far.
Mr. Groot’s Neighborhood.
But seriously, how great is this? He turns around and smiles and there are like a dozen bodies just strewn all along the background.
This movie actually made you love a fucking tree. That’s impressive.
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- This shot
I can say a lot of things about this shot. My major reasoning behind it is — you look at this, and you don’t need any sort of context whatsoever. You don’t need to know what’s happening in the movie, what’s happening before this, or after this. This single image tells you everything you need to know about what’s going on. You can take this picture, print it out, put it in front of a second grader and ask them “What’s hapenning in this shot?” and they can tell you exactly what’s going on.
Also, the color scheme is still here, which is nice.
Mike’s not wrong. You do like a kid who loses things. That’s pretty much plotting 101. But I will also say…Marvel has way too many orphans in it.
- Black Bag
It’s a tree about to kidnap a guy and throw him in a black bag in broad daylight in Space New York. Is that not hilarious to everyone else?
None of these people are saying anything to the guy who’s about to be put in a sack by a walking tree. I misspoke earlier — this might actually be space Thailand, if we remember the lessons of Man with the Golden Gun.
Simple shots. There were a few choices, but I really liked the blue against the red background for this. I felt bad trying to get this into the top ten and go for too many of these shots, but I really like these up close shots of Nebula. They did a really good job with the makeup and look of this character.
She pretty. I also like how she has the different colored face parts. Granted, the shot’s a bit dark for my liking, but I’m not against a dark shot if it’s a simple dark shot.
- Long takes
Because they let this scene play out in a really long take (because remember, it’s them going over the plan, then Groot walking all the way into the back, then yanking on this thing long enough for people to realize what’s happening, and then pulling it out and having it hit the guy on the head. It spans a good minute-plus), and really let the comedy play out, and used it to set up a playful scene. Where they set up an elaborate plan and then have to basically wing it and take care of everything immediately rather than over a couple of days.
Long shots with action in the background are a key to comedy. I was so thrilled when they did this because you see it coming and it’s still funny.
Michael Rooker is the best. He’s been the secret weapon of a lot of movies, and I’m glad James Gunn uses him in everything he does. (It’s like how Paul Thomas Anderson puts Philip Baker Hall in everything. I like when directors have their one favorite character actor they put in everything.)
But he’s also great here. He adds so much to Yondu that they theoretically could have killed him. But Rooker is so good, you feel like they deliberately made it so he’d survive and keep going because he’s so good. The whole “oobily boobily” thing he does — not scripted. He just went off the rails and they kept it. And the way he plays certain moments is so good.
I specifically chose that last shot as one of the two because he chooses to respond without words, and the entire point comes across. Quill tells him not to open it, because a lot of people can die. And he simply does this point, which is mostly a whole, “You know, you’re all right, Quill,” or “You turned out okay.” You understand everything about it without him having to say a word. And I like that Rooker was able to do his thing with this character, because he turns out to be one of the best Marvel has to offer. (In everything.)
Mike can confirm this — when I chose shots from this movie, a solid 30 percent were just Michael Rooker making faces. Something about him smiling and looking devious brings me great joy, so I wanted him on here. Big fan of this character.
And yes. Colin had at least five or six Rooker shots on his list.
It’s the severed head of a celestial being that serves as basically Space Tombstone. Would that not make it here? What a perfect location.
Also, this looks like Megatron, doesn’t it?
What an awesome location. Colors aside, it’s a space skull that people live in. That’s a brilliant idea.
The coloring makes this for me. Plus I like that this little ship is basically “pew pew”-ing the big one.
This is a matter of scale, and it that regard it reminded me of some of the shots we had while we were watching the Pirates movies. Big ship and little ship. Scale in space is always something you should take advantage of because there’s nowhere like space for dramatic scale differences.
I came across this randomly and went, “Oh, that looks nice.” It’s like right after the previous shot. I like the little circular framing thing they have going here. And the colors are also nice behind it too. Mirroring the colors of the Milano.
Framing. Really just like the space silhouette, the framing here, as well as the muted tones, do the trick. But this isn’t a silhouette and we’re still dealing with only one tone, so this isn’t quite on that level.
- Yondu Part II
This is a pretty badass moment. His arrow mows down like thirty paper people, and then you cut wide, see them all fall down, and at this point it’s impossible to not love Yondu.
Still curious where the hell this is, though. Space Long Island? Didn’t look like this was anywhere near the Xandar we see everywhere else.
It made no sense, but I don’t care. Awesome.
- Dave Bautista petting a raccoon
This shot is just funny. In context and out of context. Because on set he’s sitting there with his hand on a stick with a tennis ball on top of it. Which is pretty funny.
And all these people are just looking at him.
Aw. That is pretty sweet. Mostly you just laugh because Dave Bautista is petting something that isn’t a raccoon. Also, why are there not like a jillion Groots growing up right here in a few weeks?
The Grooting Tree
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Yeah, you’re just staring at a brick wall like a jackass.
One more day and we’re done with Marvel!
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Tomorrow we go over our final thoughts from the film.
(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)