To this day, Guardians of the Galaxy is the biggest gamble Marvel Studios has ever pulled off. While the studio has continued taking risks with other properties such as Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, and Black Panther, none of those films were as risky as Guardians. The fact that Marvel found a way to introduce five new heroes nobody except die-hard comic fans knew and still managed to make the film a success is impressive.
Guardians of the Galaxy stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper along with Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, and Benicio del Toro. In the first film, Peter Quill (Pratt) stumbles across a powerful artifact that attracts the attention of Ronan, a galactic terrorist, and the Ravagers, a group of thieves that Quill is a member of. After failing to find a buyer, Quill gets arrested along with Gamora (Saldana), Rocket (Cooper), and Groot (Diesel). Their arrest and bond over the treasure makes them form an unlikely alliance which leads them to being the last line of defense between the galaxy and its destructions.
While a majority of the Marvel films stay very interconnected in their stories since the events of The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy took fans to a world that had very little connections to prior films. Not only was this a story to bring new life to the MCU but conveniently a new avenue for fans to enter the vastly dense property of Marvel. At the time of Guardians of the Galaxy's release, Marvel had released nine films. While not as daunting as trying to catch up on 18 films today, Marvel understand that many moviegoers are not going to watch 8+ films to catch up with the story. Instead of disregarding late fans to the franchise, they gave them a new avenue to jump into the property. I would not be shocked if the Marvel brand's expansive growth over the last few years is due in part to this film bringing them in to the world.
It would be a failure for me as a critic to not mention the amazing soundtrack in this film. Guardians of the Galaxy's use of music in the film makes almost every track memorable. Whenever a song such as "I Want You Back" or "O-o-h Child" comes on my Spotify, my mind immediately gravitates towards this film. How James Gunn produced a soundtrack that was so entertaining yet so memorable is just as impressive as the film he put on the screen. It is sad that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 could not live up to this soundtrack.
The only problem and I know it sounds like a broken record at this point is the villain. I don't know how many times I have to sit here and write sections about Marvel's failure to create compelling villains. At this point, I'm absolutely shocked how a franchise so massive as Marvel spanning tons of films and billions of dollars can keep its success up with any gallery of villains. Marvel seems to be getting the picture as recent films have started to step up their game by creating relatable villains.
Guardians of the Galaxy is still one of the most entertaining films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The fact that a ton of these jokes still land is impressive. It might also be the MCU film that I have re-watched the most. The film's accessibility and timeless nature help make it one of Marvel's most successful franchises in its universe. To this day, Guardians of the Galaxy has made $1.6 billion worldwide. That number is the fourth highest grossing franchise in the MCU with only Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor beating the property in money. Granted, each of those heroes I mentioned have three films compared to Guardians two. With the Guardians and Black Panther joining the Avengers in four weeks, one can only imagine what astronomical box office number might spawn on opening weekend. Could Infinity War be the first $300 million opening weekend?