Who knew that a talking raccoon and a walking tree — who also happens to know only one phrase to say over and over — made for good inclusions in a superhero ensemble? Even director James Gunn thought Guardians of the Galaxy was a “stupid idea” when he was first tasked to do a movie about it back in 2014. However, the unlikely quartet grew to be as loved as the Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the recent release of the sequel sure did more than its fair share of drawing in new fans.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had stood out in a saturated environment that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Variety reported that as of Sunday morning, the movie has already earned $145 million domestically, and $427 million globally. They even went as far as to say that GOTGV2 could be on its way to be another billion-dollar earner for Marvel.
James Gunn found success in incorporating elements into the Guardians franchise that can be considered unique; that is, not found in the other films in MCU. Most notable of these is the music. The Guardians of the Galaxy movies are infused in identity with catchy ’70s and ’80s hits. This became a central element in the movies’ advertising, as the music is made out to be coming from protagonist Star-Lord’s personal mixtape, which he plays in his Walkman.
This also makes for fight scenes that are a bit different from the cookie-cutter, bone-crushing and skin-bruising. Most of the fight scenes in Gunn’s masterwork incorporate the catchy tunes, and he actually makes some of the scenes work for the music and not the other way around, as most movies do.
It’s no secret that James Gunn’s creativity shone through when he took on the Guardians franchise. A New York Times article mentioned how the director was having “complaints” about Hollywood, saying that “the idea of cinema is dying in so many ways.” He implied distaste for studios that churn out these movies just to make money. In retrospect, he thought that the offer to make Guardians of the Galaxy back then was a chance for him to fill this creative void that Hollywood is suffering from.
Now, years later, James Gunn is still “fulfilling his urge” to tell complex stories with characters that have believable personalities, with the most innovative and creative ways of storytelling as only the director could master. Granted, one of those characters is a talking raccoon, and another a tree, nevertheless Gunn proves that no matter how silly a premise may be, good story telling can’t be beat.
The actors playing the parts didn’t hurt, either. Chris Pratt’s goofy charm as Star-Lord works well with the light-hearted tone of the movie, and his teaming up with an irritable raccoon and a female alien who takes herself too seriously just creates a memorable dynamic for the film.
Incidentally, Guardians of the Galaxy also marked a career breakthrough for Chris Pratt. In the same New York Times article it was said that the first Guardians movie helped propel Pratt from being a TV sitcom star to an A-List actor. The movie’s success was important for both celebrities, with Pratt saying that the first movie was a way for Gunn to “earn Marvel’s trust.” This way, the director can “make the movies he’s always wanted to make.”
The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie went on to earn $773 million globally; a testament to James Gunn doing the comic book franchise justice.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe itself has already earned $11 billion from all 15 of its films since 2008, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 contributes a significant addition to this amount.
[Featured Image by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images]