By: Carter Caldwell
On April 19, Marvel’s long awaited Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 premiered at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood leaving the audience more than satisfied. The film, which takes place in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, is a sequel to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which was praised for its comedy, soundtrack, and visual effects. For the sequel, Marvel writer/director James Gunn returns. Gunn also acted as an (uncredited) director and writer for a scene in Doctor Strange, and will be an executive producer for Avengers: Infinity War, as well as returning to write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3.
The Guardians debuted in the comics in 2008, as a revamp of the late-sixties team of the same name. Originally an obscure property, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige singled out the team for a film in 2010, and then again in 2011, culminating in the announcement in 2012. Although it featured relatively unheard of characters, the film’s trailer was viewed upwards of 22 million times within 24 hours, and the song “Hooked on a Feeling” (sung by Blue Swede in the trailer) saw a 700% increase in sales.
“Hooked on a Feeling” was part of a widely acclaimed soundtrack of songs from the seventies and eighties that topped several charts. This set the bar very high for Vol. 2, but Gunn claims that the new soundtrack surpasses it’s predecessor in diversity and features former chart-toppers “My Sweet Lord” and “Southern Nights.” All songs were worked into the script by June 2015, and Gunn announced them via Twitter on April 19, in tandem with the film’s premiere. Also in a similar fashion to Vol. 1, Vol. 2’s trailer had 81 million views in its first 24 hours, which set the record for Marvel Studios films, and also pushed Sweet’s “Fox on the Run” to the top of the iTunes Rock Chart.
The premiere was essentially a who’s-who of the MCU, attended by actors such as Clark Gregg and David Hasselhoff, as well as prominent filmmakers such as Joss Whedon and Taika Waititi and mainstay Stan Lee, who cameos in the film. With a run time of 2 hours and 16 minutes, the film has been praised for its visuals and humor (much like its predecessor), but has been criticized for overusing the once-new ideas used in the original. However, it is unlikely that any criticisms would impede the film’s box office potential, as the MCU is the highest grossing film franchise of all time, with each film averaging a worldwide gross of $779,557,590. If Vol. 2 could reach this total (and thus out-gross Vol. 1), it would be an almost surefire bet that Marvel will put out a Vol. 3 someday, especially with Gunn recently announcing that he would return to write and direct such a film. Until then, audiences will have to wait until May 5, and then again when Avengers: Infinity War is released on May 4, 2018 to see the team again.