Today the full length trailer for “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie premiered to much fan fare.
My initial reaction was: “Holy shit. That’s the Guardians of the Galaxy?!” Let me emphasize the “Holy Shit,” because when I was a kid growing up in the 90’s, this was the “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Don’t get me wrong, the comic was okay, but I rarely ever bought it or read it. But holy shit, when did this new cinematic adaptation become the Guardians?
When did Chris Pratt become such a bad ass? Why are raccoons suddenly so amazing?! That said, I loves me some movies about a motley crew of rough necks that learn to trust one another and to get ready for “Guardians of the Galaxy,” here are five great “team” movies you should watch as an appetizer. Or if you want to see “Guardians” now and need something to tide you over. Either way the movies on this list are great..
United they stand, Divided they fall.
The Dirty Dozen (1967)
Major John Reisman has to commit to a top secret operation. He’s taking a group of felons and criminals, and turn them in to a bunch of warriors. Not only does he have to contend with their violent personalities, but he also has to condition them to be soldiers and finish their operation once and for all.
Reisman is, of course, played by Lee Marvin, the bad ass of bad asses, who tailors the group to his needs, and really does manage to kick some pure ass when he has to. Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, Telly motherfucking Savalas, just to name a few, all star as the mismatched group of mercenaries that have to assassinate German soldiers during World War II. Come for the stars, stay for the magnificent story and brilliant performances.
Follow It Up With: “The Inglorious Bastards.” The Italian version!
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
One of the greatest remakes of all time, “The Dirty Dozen” is an ensemble picture featuring some of the best character actors in Hollywood, all of whom star as a rag tag team of cowboys. It’s a very condensed version of Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece, about a town being held hostage by a group of Mexican bandits. In desperation, they recruit Chris, a Cajun gunslinger, to form a team of their own bandits to teach those damn criminals a lesson!
“The Magnificent Seven” garners an immense cast of performers including Charles Bronson, Yul Brenner, Robert Vaughn, and the king of cool Steve McQueen, and it delivers on action, excitement, and engaging characters. True, the original is near flawless, but this remake pays respect to Kurosawa’s original while also carving out its own style.
Follow It Up With: “Seven Samurai.” Yes, it’s black and white and has subtitles, you little bitches.
Watch “Firefly” first. Watch “Firefly” first. But that said, “Serenity” is a fantastic continuation of Joss Whedon’s ill fated series about a group of intergalactic pirates. Now that most of civilization is out in the black (ahem–space), Malcolm Reynolds leads a group of pirates that live by jobs that help feed and fuel them.
When they pick up a fugitive young girl who happens to be a brilliant warrior with the secrets of the all powerful government known as the alliance, they do whatever they can to keep her and her brother safe. Not to mention avoid the evil Operative who is a merciless murderer and assassin. “Serenity” is a brilliant finisher and book end to “Firefly,” that garners action, laughs, tears, and a team of mismatched anti-heroes that find solace and love in one another until the bitter end.
Follow It Up With: Watch “Firefly.” Now on DVD, Blu-Ray, and likely streaming online legally.
Not exactly a team movie per se, but it does feature a greater emphasis on the team that can battle evil, and keeps Earth from being consumed by Hell’s fires. Rupert Evans plays John Myers, a young FBI recruit, who is brought aboard to join the BPRD, a paranormal team that investigates and fights the occult. Wouldn’t you know it? The team of monster fighters are comprised of monsters!
He meets the fantastic Abe Sapien, a fish man who is wonderful at telepathic abilities, there’s Liz Sherman a pyrokinetic with a tortured past, and there’s Hellboy. Hellboy is a giant demon with the attitude of a teenager, who loves Liz, and loves his team more than his own well being. John Myers learns to love the team, and also discovers how much they love each other, especially in the face of Rasputin and his demonic forces of Nazidom. It’s a down beat, but excellent team film about monsters fighting to save the world.
Follow It Up With: “Hellboy II” is a fine follow up with a deeper emphasis on team work and family.
Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
The team movie to end all team movies! Or… the team movie that is setting the table for more exciting team movies. Like the upcoming sequel and “Guardians.” Marvel Studios’ journey to establish singular superhero movies, and then unite them in to one movie was ballsy. If any of the movies failed, or if they all failed, this would bomb. But “Marvel’s The Avengers” is a fun, exciting, and often amazing movie that puts the Avengers on the big screen finally, and pays due respect to the team we know and love.
Surely, Iron Man is the most popular of the Marvel movies, but as the comics usually follow, Captain America eventually becomes the leader of the group who leads the charge against Loki. And the Hulk FINALLY gets his day in the sun with Mark Ruffalo giving an incredible portrayal as the damaged and tortured Bruce Banner who becomes the ace in the hole for the team. This is a wonderful team film, where a bunch of freaks come together to defend Earth.
Follow It Up With: “The Incredibles.” Family, superheroes, Pixar, it’s all good!