At the time of this writing, Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The Winter Soldier is at the top of the domestic box office charts with $259.7 million, but it won’t be there for long. Another Marvel film – Guardians of the Galaxy – is poised to reach the number one spot by the end of the week, having earned $255.2 million through four weeks of release. Not bad for a film that entered 2014 as a serious commercial risk.

As Star-Lord, Rocket, and friends continue to captivate audiences, moviegoers up for a fun cosmic adventure aren’t the only ones taking notice. Robert Downey Jr., the longtime poster boy for the studio, offered a fair share of heavy praise for what James Gunn and company have achieved.

Many feel that Guardians marks one of Marvel’s best offerings, and Downey is one to agree. In an interview with The Toronto Sun, the once and future Tony Stark said that the movie is, in fact, their “best ever.”

“‘Galaxy’ in some ways is the best Marvel movie ever. And it’s odd for someone with — on occasion — an ego the size of mine to actually say that!”

Muppet Guest RDJ Robert Downey Jr. Praises Guardians of the Galaxy

Downey has starred in arguably two of the best installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (at this time), in 2008’s Iron Man and 2012’s The Avengers, which were both extremely successful with critics and paying customers. Guardians is seeing similar results, having already surpassed the domestic totals for both Thor films and (soon) the two Captain America solo outings. Not only that, the critical reception ranks among the studios’ finest. It’s no surprise that Iron Man sees Star-Lord as his equal.

Since everyone got hooked on a feeling this month, the sky is the limit for what Marvel will do next. With Guardians of the Galaxy becoming one of the biggest films of the year, the Marvel brand is the clear winner and moviegoers have shown they’re willing to flock to comic book films that don’t feature Batman or Spider-Man. This is great news as the studio looks to take other obscure properties and turn them into blockbuster sensations.

This fact wasn’t lost on Downey, who acknowledged that the door is now open for any hero to become a movie star:

We’re talking about how the Iron Mans and the Thors and the Captain Americas and the Avengers movies have afforded Marvel the opportunity to essentially take what was a third-tier, minor, kind of upstart bit of potential from one of their comic books series and say: ‘Look!’

Inhumans Kree Marvel Comics Robert Downey Jr. Praises Guardians of the Galaxy

Save for the forthcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America 3, most of the projects Marvel has in development do cover the so-called “third-tier” characters that Downey is referring to. Ant-Man is hitting theaters in July 2015, Doctor Strange has a director attached, and Inhumans is gaining traction behind-the-scenes.

There’s no guarantee that they’ll all see similar numbers to Guardians, but the fact that Rocket Raccoon and Groot are household names will make Kevin Feige all the more confident that the same thing can happen to Black Bolt (King of the Inhumans) and his family. If audiences will accept a sentient tree, there’s no telling how far they’ll go. We have no reason to believe Marvel is in danger of losing its standing as one of the top brands in the industry.

guardians galaxy trailer rocket raccoon Robert Downey Jr. Praises Guardians of the Galaxy

Regardless of if you agree with Downey’s words or not, it’s justifiable to say that Guardians of the Galaxy is the most important development for Marvel Studios since Nick Fury wanted to talk about the Avengers Initiative. Its success may even go beyond the Marvel banner and impact the genre at large.

It’s no coincidence that a week after Guardians made $94.3 million, Warner Bros. announced several DC adaptations were in the works, potentially turning their “second-tier” characters like Flash and Aquaman into global superstars. We’re not even close to peak superhero yet.

What say you Screen Ranters? Where do you think Guardians of the Galaxy ranks in the Marvel cannon? Let us know in the comments section below.

Guardians of the Galaxy is now in theaters.

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.

Source: Toronto Sun

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