One of the reasons for the success of the Marvel films was while there was always humor in the movies, they were never treated as a joke. The films stayed true in tone to the source material, and resisted turning the serious original work into a comedy.
I have a sick sensation in the pit of my stomach that its all about to change.
Deadline is announcing that Chris Pratt, an actor heretofore unmentioned in the casting search, has been tapped to play Peter Quill, the Star-Lord in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Pratt is primarily know for his role as the doughy Andy Dwyer in NBC’s comedy Parks and Recreation and in various and sundry comedic roles.
Hiring a comedic actor for the lead role in a comic book movie does not mean the film will be a comedy (See Michael Keaton and Batman). And Pratt most recently thinned down to appear as a Navy Seal in the drama Zero Dark Thirty. But his casting added to the fact that the list of potential candidates moved from action-oriented actors like Joel Edgerton and Garret Hedlund to more comedians like Zachary Levi and Michael Rosenbaum, and the fact that James Gunn has a lot of comedies under his belt as a writer and/or director and to the fact that Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler were being tapped to provide voices for some of the CGI characters means, well, comedy plus comedy plus comedy plus comedy equals comedy.
It’s not like the source material was an example of Bergmanesque drama–the cast did feature a talking raccoon wielding as ray gun, after all. But it wasn’t a flat out comedy by any stretch of the imagination. Making it one would be a disservice, not to mention be too out of place with the rest of Marvel’s offerings. This film, more than any other on Marvel’s slate, is the one that is meant to set up Thanos as a threat. It won’t do that effectively if we are laughing all the way through the film.
I hope my bad feelings are wrong. And we have a long way to go and plenty more cast members to add on. But this isn’t a reassuring start.