Guardians of the Galaxy, a Most Unlikely Blockbuster

By Mike Corbett This weekend Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy film grossed 94 million dollars, shattering the record for biggest August opening and easily becoming the number one movie in the country. At a quick glance, this seems like it would have been expected, it’s a Marvel Studios film, distributed by Disney, and every single one of those has made several boatloads of money. However, a closer look will show that this film was anything but a sure thing, and its success is actually kind of mind blowing.

Don't recognize anyone? No one does.

Prior to the publicity blitz the film received, the Guardians of the Galaxy were a relatively unknown property. Unlike pretty much every other comic book film created thus far, these weren’t famous characters with decades of stories to draw from. This version of the Guardians of the Galaxy debuted in comics in 2008, spinning out of Marvel’s Annihilation event, a two year long epic story featuring a bunch of alien characters you’ve probably never heard of. But surely fans warmed quickly to these characters and they’ve had a long running series since then, right? Nope, the series was cancelled after seventeen issues. Yet for some reason, Marvel announced plans to make a film based on the characters. Do you know how long Iron Man was around before anyone bothered to make a movie based on him? Forty five years!   The Avengers were around for forty nine years before they got their film, and it took four years and five other films to build up to that point. These Guardians of the Galaxy existed for barely two years, got cancelled and still their film pulled in 94 million dollars in its opening weekend. Maybe you can chalk this box office triumph to Disney and Marvel knowing how to market their products, or the blood sacrifices they make to Satan, but even that doesn’t fully explain the film’s success.   This is not just simply a film full of characters you’ve never heard of, it’s full of weird characters you’ve never heard of.

Arguably the two biggest stars in this film are Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. Do you know how much screen time those actors get? Zero, zilch, none, you won’t see them for a single second, because they’re only there to lend their voices to a talking, gun toting raccoon, and a walking tree that can only say a single phrase. Go ahead, read that last sentence again; does that give you a clearer picture of how amazing this film’s success is? That raccoon, Rocket, and that tree, Groot, join up with Star-Lord, played by Chris Pratt, in his first starring role, Gamora, portrayed by green painted Zoe Saldana, and Drax the Destroyer, played by former WWE Champion and inexperienced film actor Dave Bautista. Their adventure takes place entirely in deep space, at a bunch of locales you’ve never heard of and it’s all directed by James Gunn, whose notable film credits include the indie superhero comedy Super, and the gross out horror comedy Slither. This is not the recipe for a summer blockbuster, much less a record breaking one, and yet that’s exactly what happened.

Oh, you’re going to watch a talking tree and a talking raccoon, and you’re going to love them.

Against all traditional logic, Guardians of the Galaxy has become a smash hit. In a world where, not too long ago, people were skeptical of whether or not a Batman film could be a hit, it’s an incredibly impressive feat. Yes, a lot of the praise should be given to the marketing arms of Disney and Marvel for doing such a good job promoting the film, but don’t sleep on the film itself. It’s a great movie; it’s got humor, heart and action. It may be a weird space opera full of talking raccoons and walking trees, but it stands shoulder to shoulder with every other film that Marvel has released thus far. If you had any doubts about this film, there were entirely reasonable, but I’m happy to report they’re entirely unfounded. Cast those doubts aside and go see the movie, because through either witchcraft, human sacrifices, or maybe just some magic from that famous mouse, Marvel and Disney have done it again.

Who are we kidding? It was definitely through witchcraft or human sacrifices.

Mike Corbett is a level 3 sketch writing student and intern for the DCH blog. You can find more about Mike HERE.