Perhaps Marvel can do for diversity in the film industry what Spice Girls did for diversity in the music industry. The girl band was deliberately designed by marketeers with audience demographics determining the very make-up of the group which somehow managed to transcend its inception and help a generation of young girls realise there were many different ways to express femininity that broke traditional stereotypes and yet could harmonise. The Spice Girls showed that femininity could include ferocity, sporting ability, elegance and cuteness and no one was the lesser for it. Girl power was in my opinion a positive cultural contribution. It engendered acceptance.
The Guardians trilogy speaks to our cultural longing for an enchanted universe where we are not isolated bodies who happen to be coexisting in the coldness of space but a place where we are known for who we really are and are loved and accepted, despite our differences. Most of the Guardians heroes begin life isolated, abandoned, rejected, betrayed or bereaved. During the course of the films, their social coldness thaws and they each find the warmth of fellowship, community and even family.
The storyline is not a new one. Thousands of years ago another disparate group of outcasts were brought together on a mission to save the world. They were hunted down for their allegiance to that mission but did not give up on their belief that God wanted to create a genuinely inclusive community, where people of all abilities, genders and race could experience welcome as equals. Jesus Christ formed that original band of disciples and is now followed by millions. Churches at their best are similarly diverse. Rich and poor, refugees and natives, old and young, male and female and everything in between are united, not just by being in the same place at the same time, consuming religious services together, but by a purpose beyond them, seeking to share the boundary-breaking, radically welcoming love of God to all without distinction, and to be the guardians of that purpose, of our planet and of all its people.