Baby Groot Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

It's no secret that Marvel Studios has a firm vice grip on the blockbuster landscape, and James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy franchise has become one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's crown jewels. The property was about as far away as one could get from the mainstream when Gunn first adapted it back in 2014, and that has allowed him to toy around in unforeseen ways. With that in mind, adaptation is a constant struggle of figuring out what to change and what not to change, and Gunn recently admitted that he has no problem altering the world of The Guardians in the service of his own story, saying:

I always do what's best for the movie. A lot of times, that means taking things from the source material and other times it's changing things. I've changed a lot already from the comics with the Guardians. Groot's personality in the first Guardians, which people loved, was nothing like his personality in the comics. He didn't have that puppy dog innocence that we love about Groot. I don't restraint myself in any way when it comes to using stuff from the comics or not using it.

What works for a comic book might not always work for a comic book movie. For example, version of Groot seen in the comics is incredibly different from the CGI plant monster voiced by Vin Diesel. However, Gunn looked at the source material, realized that he wanted to use Groot in his own movie, and made whatever changes that he needed to accept to let the character fit into his story. He doesn't put The Guardians on a pedestal, and that gives him endlessly more freedom as an artist.

James Gunn's comments to THR about the changes that he has made to the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise also underscore another aspect of the MCU that has worked for the last decade. The Marvel films have made notable efforts to adapt classic storylines, such as Captain America: Civil War, or Iron Man 3's adaptation of the Extremis arc. However, Marvel films almost never adapt a storyline in a beat for beat fashion, which leaves room for interpretation on the part of the filmmaker. This not only allows a director to attempt something that hasn't been done before, but it also creates a nice sense of mystery around a film when the audience cannot predict what will happen next. Marvel has a complicated recipe for success, but that's one of the key ingredients.

James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be available digitally on August 8, and the Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K versions of the film will hit shelves two weeks later on August 22. As for The Guardians' next foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the cosmic team of heroes will make their next major appearance when they unite with Earth's mightiest heroes for The Avengers: Infinity War on May 4, 2018.

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