By 2014, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was well into Phase 2, having already achieved cinematic dominance. It built a multi-billion dollar franchise upon the backs of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the other Avengers, but now was the time for their biggest swerve to date.
For their first film not featuring one of the core team, Marvel Studios decided to go with the Guardians of the Galaxy, to collective cries of 'who?' from most moviegoing fans. They took a ragtag group of D-list comic book characters - Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon - and gave them to the guy behind cult superhero spoof movie Super.
It was easily their weirdest movie to date - a talking a--hole raccoon, a walking tree who only says his own name, the 'fat' guy from Parks & Rec as an action hero - and one of their biggest risks, but somehow it all paid off. Guardians of the Galaxy grossed more than Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which was released a few months earlier, spawned a successful sequel, and the beloved team then factored massively into last year's Avengers: Infinity War.
As we await their return in Endgame and, eventually, Guardians 3, it's time to take a trip down memory lane and look back at the movie that got us all hooked on a feeling.
NCTJ-qualified journalist. Most definitely not a racing driver. Drink too much tea; eat too much peanut butter; watch too much TV. Sadly only the latter paying off so far.
A mix of wise-old man in a young man's body with a child-like wonder about him and a great otherworldly sensibility.