If you haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet, you will. Director James Gunn and his cast — starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Bradley Cooper — have found that cross section of great action and effects, genuine mirth, and likability, that makes for a movie that kids will fondly remember into adulthood. What was once widely thought of as a long shot in Phase Two of Marvel Studios’ cinematic universe, Guardians could very well be the new Star Wars to this generation’s adolescent filmgoers. Halloween is going to see a lot of trees and raccoons running through the front yard for years to come. Toys will be flying off the shelves. And Marvel has $94 million reasons to celebrate its box office dominance.
Which is not to say that Guardians is the new sci-fi G.O.A.T., but rarely does a film so effectively appeal to both youth and adults. And, unlike Marvel’s previous films, young fans of Guardians get an all-new set of characters to love that don’t belong to their parents. Like Harry Potter before it, Guardians will belong uniquely to this generation of toy-buying, cosplaying kids.