I’ll start this list with Guardians of the Galaxy because in 2009 it wouldn’t have been on anyone’s list of comic book properties they wanted to see adapted into a film by 2019 (apart from Jon Schnepp’s). It was such an obscure property that questions were asked by some as to whether it was even based on a comic book or if it were Marvel Studios’ first original film.
Guardians of the Galaxy works so well because of James Gunn’s unique directing style – the choice to hire him (also an obscure name from cult B-cinema) was another reason there was doubt over whether the film could be a hit, the main causes of scepticism being Rocket and Groot.
These two characters could’ve worn thin easily, especially with Groot’s limited vocabulary. That they became the breakout stars and, depending on who you ask, the most popular on-screen comic book heroes is testament to the way, not just in which Marvel Studios can make a blockbuster franchise out of anything, but in which there’s no limit to what can be done with comic book characters if the story’s being told by people who love the source material and its unlimited potential for great stories.
Guardians of the Galaxy is now streaming on Disney+