By Josh Williams With the release of “Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2” this weekend, we are taking a look at the first “Guardians Of The Galaxy” film and why it’s the most effective film Marvel has put out yet.
Click below to see why. In the past decade it’s clear that Marvel has made a name for themselves in the world of cinema. Releasing a few films every year they are now a towering giant among other studios. Bringing to life the comic book stories many of us remember reading as kids Marvel already has a leg up on the competition. Utilizing nostalgia to sucker in a mass audience and then ultimately deliver, the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the MCU has been kicking ass and taking names since its first installment. And fans could debate all day over which MCU film has been more impactful/effective on its targeted audience, but no film quite captured the amount of attention than the “Guardians of the Galaxy” film in 2014.
Marvel has quite a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to what they put into their movies, but the culmination of all the talent over at the studio definitely shines the most in GotG. Marvel has been incredibly smart in the way that they select who is involved in what film and which director will head up what film. They chose low-risk directors who have possibly one or two films under their belt, directors who show potential visually and also create great character connection. These directors who have these one or two simple films get their shot at a large budget blockbuster and absolutely knock it out of the park. Whether that be Scott Derrickson with “Sinister”, “Deliver Us From Evil” and then going on to craft “Doctor Strange,” or Joss Whedon with “Firefly” and “Serentity” and then going on to craft “The Avengers,” Marvel has an understanding of which director to pick for which film.
So it made perfect sense when James Gunn was chosen to head GotG. James Gunn exploded onto the scene with his indie horror film “Slither” and then followed with the comedy film “Super”, it was clear that Gunn not only had an established visual style but also an understanding of how to do character interaction/connection. In each of Gunn’s previous two films, he has larger groups of characters interacting with one another and the thing he pulls off successfully is the interactions themselves and the audience caring about the characters. But versus just this applying to only one or two characters, it applies to the entire group of characters. Which fits perfectly into the mantra of the Guardians of the Galaxy story. James Gunn stepped up to the plate for Guardians and knocked it out of the park.
The thing that makes Guardians so effective is the connection we have with the characters. There are other aspects that make the film effective and we’ll dive into those in a bit but the most effective aspect is the connection with the characters. And not only one or two characters, but the group of the Guardians as a whole. What’s important about these kind of “superhero team up” films is that they possess this very specific dynamic. A dynamic that we see in buddy cop films like “Lethal Weapon” or more recently “End of Watch.” We get light-hearted interactions between characters that make us laugh but also grow closer to these characters. What makes the guardians so special is that none of them are particularly “super-human.” They all have abilities, sure, but on the level of heroes like Hulk or Doctor Strange, the guardians are relatively low ranking. This forces us to connect with the characters on an even more emotional level, thus making the connection all the more powerful. Each character in the guardians has a specific personality and specific traits that we can relate/connect with, making this all the more effective.
Often times superhero films can forget that they also need to be making a film. Some superhero films rely solely on spectacle and forget that they need to deliver a story and some character development. Marvel lacks this in some of their films as well, but “Guardians of the Galaxy” delivers both sides of the spectrum quite effectively. Another thing that GotG plays on is our nostalgia. Now, even if you did not read the comics when you were younger there is still something that feels familiar about the film. One of the things that is reminiscent and brings out the nostalgia within most audience members is the soundtrack. With a lineup of songs that are classic hits among most people, the soundtrack has you ready to start singing along in the theater. Now whether it be that those mountains ain’t high enough or those rivers ain’t wide enough, it is rather easy to enjoy this aspect of the film. GotG brings a whole different delivery to the table, making it one of the more effective films within the MCU.
James Gunn has channeled his directing abilities into “Guardians of the Galaxy” and boy did he deliver. Connecting us with the large group of characters also while playing on people’s favorable memories, he has crafted an incredibly immersive and enjoyable film. With the second installment releasing this weekend it is no doubt that he will not disappoint. We are all rooting for Gunn and the rest of the MCU, and we cannot wait to see what Marvel, James Gunn, and everyone else involved has in store for us moving forward.