guardians of the galaxy vol. 2

Ranking Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

That’s right! We’re back again with another installment of ranking the MCU films. It’s become an HPN tradition to bitterly fight behind closed doors about where the new films rank. We almost look forward to destroying our friendship each time Marvel releases a new film.  With that said, we are placing the newest film: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. We’ve already done a super-spoiler podcast on it, so if you want to give that a listen first, feel free to check that out here.

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Before we get too deep, let’s remind you what the line up was previous to the film.

14. Iron Man 2
13. Incredible Hulk
12. Iron Man 3
11. Thor: The Dark World
10. Captain America: The First Avenger
9. Doctor Strange
8. Thor
7. Avengers: Age of Ultron
6. Ant-Man
5. Iron Man
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
3. Guardians of the Galaxy
2. Avengers
1. Captain America: Civil War

Where does Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 fall?

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How it Succeeds

I will say that we all decided Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was overall a fun movie. It does quite a few things really well, being one of the better sequels that the MCU has produced. One thing that really impressed all of us at the HPN is the additional characters this time around, particularly Mantis and Ego.  Both were well developed and blended into the created universe seamlessly.  It’s easy to tell that director James Gunn did not want to shove new characters into the film just for the sake of having new faces around. He wanted to make them just as beloved as the returning characters.  Newcomers Kurt Russell and Pom Klementieff were easily some of the highlights of the film.

Speaking of characters, the most compelling story of all had to have been Yondu.  His role in the first film was a fun antagonistic one that lead us to think he’d be flying in and out of films to come. With this latest venture into the Guardians world, his role isn’t necessarily expanded but a heavier importance is put on him.  He proves to be more than just another alien, with back story revealed, confirmation of his Kree heritage, and a suitable ending for any hero.  We may not see Yondu again, but his effect on the MCU will be felt for multiple films to come.

The easter eggs and the name drops were great. Bringing back both Cosmo and Howard the Duck was an absolute riot to see on screen. I’m convinced James Gunn does whatever James Gunn wants. He brought in an Adam Warlock reference (hope you stayed for all the follow-up scenes) even though the MCU has come out multiple times against his character joining. He even referenced the original Guardians, tapping Sylvester Stallone, Michelle Yeoh, and Ving Rhames for some star power, leading everyone to believe they’ll appear in Guardians 3.

How it lets us down

While he’s a huge bright spot, Ego is also a huge sore spot for the film too. This time, though, it’s more with the writing behind him and not the acting. Ego is presented as a formidable foe, but one that is just a little too EGOtistical to pull off his plan (see…. see what I did there?). He was so perfect up until the very last half hour. He monologued! If he hadn’t, he would have been just fine! He would have won! It seems too convenient a plot point to have the entire ending hinging on Ego revealing he killed Starlord’s mom.  Absolutely ridiculous.

Also, what’s the deal with Gamora? The comics portray her as the most deadly woman in the galaxy, being in the top 5 fighters of the entire Marvel cast of characters and we’ve seen very little proof that she’s any better than the rest of the Guardians. Not only does she not get her due when it comes to how she’s written, but she also isn’t allowed to have a personality. Zoe Saldana is a great actress, reigning as the current queen of the nerds, and yet, none of her vivaciousness and sass get to show through.  Gamora isn’t just the serious one in this goofy boy band, but she’s dry wall. She’s written as if she exists to be lusted after and nothing else. I do appreciate the attempt to have Nebula bring out some of her goodness, but it was for naught.

So, where is it already?

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After very little deliberation on this one (I know, we actually agree), we have decided that the film was a solid follow up to a great movie and deserves to rank in the upper half of the 15 MCU films.

15. Iron Man 2
14. Incredible Hulk
13. Iron Man 3
12. Thor: The Dark World
11. Captain America: The First Avenger
10. Doctor Strange
9. Thor
8. Avengers: Age of Ultron
7. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
6. Ant-Man
5. Iron Man
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
3. Guardians of the Galaxy
2. Avengers
1. Captain America: Civil War

Do you agree? Do you disagree? Would you rearrange everything? Yeah, so would we. But this is where we are and we’ll be happy to reevaluate in July when Spider-Man: Homecoming releases.

Ranking Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2