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By 2014 the Marvel Cinematic Universe looked in danger of growing stale. The ever-expending connecting franchise had already seen three Iron Man movies, Thor and Captain America sequels and two Avengers which combined all of the central characters into a full-scale war. But despite the critical acclaim and box office returns of most of these pictures they were slowly becoming formulaic, with more Captain America and Avengers movies to come. One that had very little in the way of expectations was Guardians of the Galaxy. Based on an obscure graphic novel, directed by an alumnus of B-movie veterans Troma and starring an actor more known more for his supporting roles than heroic lead. But the movie achieved something not seen by Marvel since Iron Man in 2008: a fresh start. There were no characters already defined by previous movies, the general public knew little of the source material and the director’s only prior venture into the world of superheroes had been the obscure adult comedy Super.
When Guardians of the Galaxy was released in the summer of 2014, during the same season that also saw a big budget adaptation of Hercules and Luc Besson’s sci-fi action flick Lucy, it received a positive response from both filmgoers and critics, ultimately becoming the third highest-grossing picture of the year. Utilising his love of Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark as a template for his hero, intergalactic scavenger Peter Quill, Gunn created a loud, hyperactive and no-holds-barred event movie that boasted a score of memorable classics, a barrage of witty one-liners and an eclectic cast. A sequel was inevitable and both Gunn and his actors have returned to the saddle for another mixture of space battles and inter-species bitching.
‘I hope they know how much I care about them and that my greatest interest is creating something for them that’s different to eerything else that’s out there,’ claimed Gunn to RedCarpetNews at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. ‘That’s what Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 1 was and I think vol. 2 is even more so.’ Guardians of the Galaxy centred around a mismatched group of criminals who escape the clutches of a sadistic prison to deliver a powerful orb to safety while pursued by all manner of dark forces. Heading the cast was Chris Pratt – later seen in a similar role in the blockbuster Jurassic World – as the Star-Lord, Peter Quill, a human who was abducted following the death of his mother and raised by space pirates known as the Ravagers. Through a series of events he is forced to form an alliance with the beautiful-but-dangerous Gamora, imprisoned warrior Drax the Destroyer, who vows to avenge the death of his family and the film’s most inspired creations; Rocket, a generically-designed and highly intelligent raccoon and his strong-yet-simple sidekick Groot.Starring alongside Pratt was Avatar‘s Zoe Saldana as Gamora, former wrestler Dave Bautista as Drax, the voice of Bradley Cooper as the foul-mouthed Rocket and Bautista’s Riddick co-star Vin Diesel as the heart of the movie, the loveable Groot. And with such classics as Blue Swede‘s Hooked on a Feeling (memorably used in both Reservoir Dogs and Ally McBeal) and Cherry Bomb by the Runaways, it was clear that Marvel had another success on their hands. ‘When the movie starts, it’s only a couple of months after the first movie,’ Gunn recently told ComicBook.com regarding the upcoming sequel. ‘The Ravagers have not gone hard after Peter Quill after he double-crossed them with the Infinity Stone. There’s a little rumbling amongst the Ravagers, like, ‘Where does Yondu’s allegiance lay here? Is he going soft on Quill?’ So, the Ravagers have to make a decision of what they’re gonna do about Yondu and I think Kraglin is a key part of that.’
In anticipation for the May 2017 release of the movie a trailer has been issued by Marvel that once again shows the enjoyable banter between the protagonists, while also revealing the new addition of Baby Groot, following his brief appearance during the end credits to the first movie. ‘Surprise!! First Official Teaser Trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,’ announced Gunn via his Facebook page. ‘It’s my favorite movie ever, and I hope it will soon be yours. Let’s all am Groot it in May, 2017. Enjoy and share, my friends.’