There seems to be a general feeling among many that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had trouble finding its footing since the end of the Infinity Saga, which wrapped up with Spider-Man: Far From Home. While some of the movies and series in Phase 4 and beyond have been quite good on their own, others have struggled, and it’s been mostly the sequels to popular franchises of the previous phases that seem to have had the most difficulty. We’re on the verge of the release of another big sequel, and it’s one that I’m certainly hoping will be as strong as the movies that came before: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Avengers: Endgame was designed to end many of the stories that the first three phases of the MCU had told. This was the reason that so many fans were excited about it. How would the story end? Who will live? Who will die? How this chapter of the franchise would come to a close was the question that drove record-breaking numbers of people to the box office. I was certainly one of those people, but with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 we will see another big ending in the MCU, and it’s one that I might be actually more excited about than I was for Endgame.
The Guardians Of The Galaxy Was A Funny Movie With Serious Themes
The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie was one that surprised a lot of people. It was a story about a collection of characters that even a lot of Marvel Comics fans didn’t care that much about. There was a strong feeling that moviegoing audiences just wouldn’t care and the movie could bomb, and yet, Guardians of the Galaxy was an absolute monster hit.
I was one of those people who didn’t know a great deal about who the Guardians of the Galaxy were before I saw the movie, but I was blown away by it. It had an incredible cast of unique characters and real humor, but most importantly, it had a heart to it that honestly most of the MCU has been missing, even up to now.
Each of the Guardians of the Galaxy is a distinct character. They have motivations, wants and needs. The story is not about space aliens chasing a MacGuffin, it’s about a team of people, each with real trauma, learning to trust one another, and each of them becomes a better person by doing so.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Was A Very Personal Journey, For Me And Them
I’ll admit, my love for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is very personal. Every movie is an interaction between the art and the viewer. The place we are in our lives always has, must have, an impact on how we see a film. This was a movie about children and their relationships with their fathers, and I saw it for the first time days before I became one.
Prior to having kids, my wife was my constant date to screenings, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was the last movie we watched together in a theater for a long time. There was a chance, however remote, that we might not finish the movie because she could have gone into labor in the middle of it. That didn’t happen, and so I sat and watched this movie about parenthood, seeing these complicated at best, and toxic at worst, relationships between parents and children.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was also an excellent sequel, in a way that many other Marvel movies have not been. One of the reasons Marvel sequels tend to falter is that all of the character’s development happens in the first movie. Once they become a hero, the emotional journey is complete. But here, the events of the first movie inform the decisions on the sequel. The journey is not complete, and it won;t be until the last movie.
Avengers: Endgame Was a Culmination Of Plot, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Is A Culmination Of Character Arcs
I was as excited as anybody to see Avengers: Endgame. The MCU was an incredible feat in cinematic storytelling, taking a decade and two dozen movies to tell a massive story, with all of it coming to a head in one final confrontation. And for the most part, people are quite happy with what they got; I certainly am. If you watch the Marvel movies in order, you get an incredible story, but you don’t get a lot of great character arcs. The characters all served the plot, and it was how that resolved that mattered.
I barely know anything about the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. I’m confident that it will be good, but I’m also confident that the plot is designed to serve the arcs of the characters, not the other way around.
I don’t care where Rocket and Star-Lord end up as far as the plot is concerned. It’s not about whether Guardians live or die, whether they continue as heroes or move on in some way. It’s about where they are emotionally when the movie comes to an end.
Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Was Almost A Movie We Never Got To See
And, of course, it’s impossible to talk about the fact that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is almost here without mentioning the fact that it almost wasn’t. At one point, it was the movie that was going to launch the MCU’s Phase Four, and then we wondered if we were going to see it all.
There’s no other movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which this would have happened. If something crazy happened and the Russo Brothers ended their relationship with Marvel after finishing Avengers: Infinity War, it’s not like Endgame wouldn’t have happened. Marvel would have found somebody else to take over directing, but with Guardians of the Galaxy, you can’t do that, because these aren’t Marvel movies first and foremost, they’re James Gunn movies.
When I first heard about James Gunn being fired by Marvel, my knee-jerk reaction was to wonder about Vol. 3. Would the movie ever happen? Would somebody else direct James Gunn’s script? Would somebody else be willing and interested in coming along and writing their own ending? Neither of these things seemed like they’d be the least bit satisfying.
Eventually, James Gunn would be hired back, and we would learn later there was never really a chance of anybody replacing James Gunn, nor of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 not happening. But for a long time, these were big questions, and they were important to me. No other version of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 could ever do justice to the story up to this point, but the one written and directed by Gunn himself.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 promises to be the end of a story, one I’ve been waiting nearly a decade for. I feel a connection to these characters in a way I don’t to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sure, this won’t be the biggest Marvel blockbuster ever. It won’t have the most epic fight scenes, but if it has an emotionally satisfying conclusion, that’s enough for me.