To say that making Guardians of the Galaxy was a risk is an understatement. Not since Iron Man had Marvel been so bold. An irreverent space opera starring not even B-list heroes? How could this possibly work? We dive into this seeming left-turn for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as part of our retrospective series on Marvel Studios films leading up to Avengers: Infinity War.
I don’t mean to sound like a broken record here, but Marvel’s choice in director was, once again, inspired. James Gunn brought both humor and heart to this movie which caused us to actually care about these guys we’ve never heard of before.
Even more remarkable than the success of the movie itself is the impact it’s had on the film industry since then. From other Marvel movies like Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok to DC’s Suicide Squad both the visual design of the movie and the use of nostalgic music playlists can be seen all over Hollywood. Edgar Wright, who’s movie Baby Driver uses a similar musical schtick, even sent messages to James Gunn to make sure the songs he wanted in his movie weren’t going to also be used in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
One of the things that has made the Marvel Cinematic Universe work so well is that Marvel took its time introducing their characters before bringing them all together. There were five movies focusing on individual heroes before The Avengers came out. Many criticize other studios for not taking a similar approach in their attempts at cohesive universes because their movies often feel rushed, like they’re trying to catch up to Marvel. But it should be noted that Guardians of the Galaxy does the exact opposite of The Avengers and pulls it off splendidly. This movie introduced us to Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, Groot, Ronan, the Nova Corps and an intergalactic side of the MCU that we hadn’t really seen yet all in one movie.
Guardians of the Galaxy not only influenced some of the current trends in movies, but it also proved that you can make an ensemble movie involving a talking tree and a racoon with a machine gun without prior introduction to the characters.
What did you think of Guardians of the Galaxy when it was released? Have your opinions changed over the years?