6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)
Landing at number 6 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 stands out as a painful and powerful conclusion to the Guardians' interstellar odyssey. Director James Gunn infused it with a blend of raw emotion and the typical, whimsical humor that has become the hallmark of the Guardians series, but it felt a lot different than previous Guardians movies.
This installment takes a bold step in exploring the deeper, more vulnerable aspects of its characters, particularly Nebula and Mantis. Their portrayals by Karen Gillan and Pom Klementieff, are nothing short of spectacular, continuing to flesh-out characters who were once just supporting players. Gunn’s skillful direction elevates the narrative, combining tragic backstories with a space escapade, ensuring that the audience is emotionally invested. And we were. Thank you, Gunn. The movie's ability to make you laugh, then cry, and then laugh again, all within a few scenes, is a testament to its well-crafted script and direction. The humor, while still present and delightful, takes a backseat to the more heartfelt storylines, showing growth and maturity in both the characters and the franchise itself.
The reason Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 doesn't climb higher on the list, despite its many strengths, is because of its accomplishments. It's an emotionally charged goodbye, a story of closure and healing that necessarily spends more time looking inward at its characters than outward at the broader MCU. This introspective focus, while deeply satisfying, makes the film a more self-contained chapter in the Marvel saga. Guardians 3 is a more personal, character-driven story. Its impact, as profound as it is, resonates more within the world of the Guardians' universe than across the wider MCU.
This doesn't take away from the movie's quality - in fact, it's a strength, allowing for a more focused and emotionally resonant story.