Guardians of the Galaxy: A Look At The Marvel Brand Since 2008’s Iron Man

Marvel Studios. Logo.

Guardians of the Galaxy has hit many milestones according the EW this past opening weekend with an estimated $94 million. It’s

  • the new record holder for the highest opening debut movie in August
  • the third biggest opening in 2014 so far
  • the seventh highest opening in history for a non-sequel

Marvel Studio’s 10th film, it is the riskiest project they have tackled yet, due to it being a relative unknown among comic book fans and not wrapped in the superhero packaging that we’ve gotten used to with Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. But is that truly a risk? To the majority of movie-goers Iron Man was an unknown, (although he was a known property within the comics community). So is viewer ignorance really a risk anymore? Maybe the real risk factor is the cosmic adventure and lack of tights (or armour) that we’ve been used to in other Marvel films? Maybe it’s the dominance of humour over drama, the infusion of old school music, or the inclusion of a talking raccoon and tree?

Groot. Gamora. Rocket Raccoon. Star-Lord. Drax. Guardians of The Galaxy. Directed by James Gunn. Marvel Studios. Marvel. Film. August 1, 2014.

The horror spin on the upcoming Doctor Strange film (another unknown to non-comic book folks) could be more of a risk given that we haven’t seen such a tonal shift in the MCU thus far. Does other films like Star Wars help with the ease of Guardians acceptance? So many are linking the two as being similar.

At this point, is anything really a “risk” for the Marvel brand? I don’t think so. Marvel has proven time and time again that it can make a quality popcorn flick. Guradians is colourful, fantastical, funny, and, most of all, inspiring. Despite Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s darker tone, viewers are reminded of why Cap was such a beacon to fellow Americans during WW2. You never leave a Marvel film dejected but instead excited for what’s in store for your heroes. As fellow WWAC staff writer Wendy pointed out to me, Marvel films are also family affairs — with pre-screening of films by parents for inappropriateness no longer necessary — which contributes to their box office success, since they’re accessible to multiple generations of viewers.

Kevin Feige is no dummy. He’s created the first cinematic universe spanning multiple films that instill the need to watch one film in order to watch the next. He’s also very creator-friendly: directors are mostly free to do what they like, as long as they don’t mess with the continuity of the greater universe. The likes of Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Samuel Jackson, and many other talented actors have signed multi-picture deals that would never happen at another studio.

The Winter Soldier. Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Directed by  Anthony Russo & Joe Russo. Marvel Studios. Marvel. Film. April 4, 2013.Ten films. Six years. Three Iron Mans. Two Thors. Two Captain Americas. One Hulk. One Guardians of the Galaxy. One Avengers. With the recent announcement of a female superhero film set in the Spider-Man universe, I can’t help but wonder when new perspectives on what it means to be heroic will be offered by Marvel. When will we see a She-Hulk, Captain Marvel or Black Panther solo film? Marvel hasn’t completely failed in that regard, with Luke Cage getting a solo series on Netflix, and Agent Carter coming later this year, but where is the big screen commitment? Let us marvel at the feat that Feige and Co. have done with this cinematic universe but let’s also use this time to challenge and demand more from them as well. Let’s not let the next six years and ten films go by without any representation of the very people Marvel has to thank for their success.

Ardo Omer

Ardo Omer

Former WWAC editor. Current curmudgeon and Batman's personal assistant. Icon art by Diana Sim.