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Today marks the one year anniversary of the release of Marvel’s unexpected hit Guardians of the Galaxy. While the franchise certainly expects a great turnout to its films, no one was expecting the critical acclaim and international popularity that came with the intergalactic story of a ragtag group of misfits. Here at Cinema Blend, we even ranked the film #1 on our list of every Marvel film through Phase 2. And no one is more proud, and thankful for his movie’s success than the director himself, James Gunn. To mark the movie’s anniversary, Gunn wrote a touching letter to his fans, and it’s truly something of beauty. Get your tissues ready, this is definitely a tearjerker.
Here’s the thing. The movie made money. A lot of money. It dominated the box office, and continued to even weeks after its release. But what made the movie spectacular, was the dedication of its director, cast and crew. James Gunn treated the film like his baby, and to this day, the director actively posts about it on social media, and continues the conversation with fans all around the world. That’s what makes a letter like this so special. Gunn knows he wouldn’t be anywhere without the fan base that understands his passion behind it. And understands that that passion resonates on screen.
Now, star of the film Chris Pratt is one of the biggest names in current Hollywood, but at the time of Guardians, unless you were a Parks and Rec fan, his name really didn’t hold the weight that it currently does. On top of that, Guardians of the Galaxy did not hold the name power that someone like Iron Man or Captain America does. It was one of Marvel’s more obscure (and fairly newer) comic book teams, so it did not start with the following to guarantee success. What it came down to was the film itself. What it came down to was James Gunn’s genius idea in telling a touching story of a badass raccoon, his talking tree, a misunderstood assassin, a revenge-seeking warrior, and half human, half alien leader with a heart of gold.
There was something relatable about the movie that attracted its millions and millions of fans. But it was the strength of storytelling that keeps the film at the top. It made us weep, it made us chuckle, and it made us want to follow this team all the way to the ends of the galaxy. And though Gunn thanks us fans for recognizing his passion for the story, it is us who should be thanking him for having that passion in the first place. It is so rare that both a "filmmaker and audience, were at the same place at the same time".
On this one year anniversary, we can reminisce about the cinematic gold that was Guardians of the Galaxy but even better, we can start to look forward to the sequel, knowing that it holds an abundance of James Gunn originality that made the first so special. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 hits theaters May 5, 2017...let the countdown begin.