With the [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073) opening, the landscape for superhero movies, and honestly all superhero properties, are going to change dramatically. Get ready for Star Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Groot, and of course Rocket to become household names. This very idea would be laughed off as some kind of fever dream not even a decade ago, and yet here we are.
As of this writing the movie is one week from opening. The buzz is stronger than any movie in recent memory and a sequel is already greenlit. How did this happen? What are the elements that came together to make this possible? From a comic fan standpoint it’s pleasantly baffling, and from a fan of superhero genre movies it’s unprecedented. I will attempt to lay it out there how the wackiest concept will take the world by storm.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has developed a formula over the course the years that has not only worked, but has trained audiences to watch movies differently. The once bold idea of a shared universe is now the hot ticket, and fans are now used to seeing franchises mix together. The movies have also trained everybody to stay until the very last credit rolls for stingers that touch base on the entire shared universe. This approach has been grounded to this point, with each movie tying into each other in a way that possibly limits the absolute freedoms of the film-makers. It’s enjoyable, but we are now used to the formula.
The Guardians of the Galaxy take that formula and chucks it out the window at light speed. While certainly the movie will be tied to the MCU, notably by The Collector seen in [Thor: The Dark World](movie:206462) and Thanos, last seen as the stinger for The Avengers, the movie is its own thing and delights in the fact. These characters are not as universally known as Captain America or The Hulk, and not even on the average movie-goer’s radar like Iron Man or Thor. These are fresh faces in a new setting, space, that are blank slates for personal investment. That idea is exciting. Audiences who expect quality from the MCU know only these characters must retain the standards set, but otherwise are shiny and new. The movie will break new ground based on curiosity alone.