‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Could Be Swan Song For Marvel

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Dave Bautista (Drax) and Bradley Cooper (Rocket) in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' (2014)

Credit: Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is facing some seriously choppy waters after the events of QuantumaniaWhile the studio still has a list of upcoming projects fans should be excited about, superhero fatigue is still a prominent problem in some circles. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the next big MCU event, but it could also be the nail in the coffin.

Chris Pratt, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista and Karen Gillan as the Guardians of the Galaxy in 'The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' (2023). Credit: Marvel Studios
Credit: Marvel Studios

While the Avengers might be the face of the franchise, the Guardians of the Galaxy arguably have the better films. James Gunn has built the better portion of his reputation by essentially creating a near-perfect superhero series. As Gunn draws the Guardians’ saga to a close and leaves Marvel for the DC universe, could he take most of Marvel’s acclaim with him?

James Gunn Jumps Ship

James Gunn smiling on the red carpet
Credit: Chris Pizello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

James Gunn has given the MCU three of its most incredible chapters (yes, we’re counting the holiday special), and Vol. 3 is already shaping up to be the blaze of glory the Guardians deserve. However, could his departure from Marvel be more than just assuming a better position at DC?

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Marvel has already pulled out of several hyped projects, including a possible return to the Avengers series. It might be the case that the end of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy could also lower expectations for any future MCU project.

A Massive Mistake for Marvel

RDJ as Iron Man using the Infinity Stones to snap Thanos out of existence.
Credit: Marvel Studios

To say the upcoming finale for the Guardians will be an absolute smash, especially if Gunn maintains his gift for blending action and comedy with a killer soundtrack, is probably a safe bet. That being said, Marvel might not be able to compete with it once the director officially steps away from the MCU.

Related: Marvel Comics Confirm Chris Pratt’s Comeback

Gunn has stated that Marvel’s biggest problem might be its biggest event, the Blip. Simply put, the MCU is struggling because it’s trying to compete with a galaxy-wide event that took an entire franchise to reach. While the Kang Dynasty will certainly be an exciting narrative, can it really compete with the Infinity Saga?

What Marvel Has Been Missing

Zoe Saldana as Gamora (left), Chris Pratt as Star-Lord (middle), and James Gunn (right)
Credit: Marvel Studios

James Gunn recently said,

“I really want Marvel to keep making good movies. I think it’s really hard in the wake of the Blip. There’s this worldwide, universe-wide event that happened. And in truth, everybody would be stark raving mad at this point. So it’s hard to write stories in the wake of that. Which is why the Guardians movies have been easier, because they’re set outside of that a little bit.”

Lightning doesn’t strike twice, and it’s nearly impossible for Marvel to compete with the success of the Thanos arc. Because the conflict is so personal, the High Evolutionary squaring up with Rocket Raccoon, the risks are just as dire without involving a universe-wide conflict. The audience is already invested enough with the characters to care more about the team’s survival rather than the size of the foe.

Related: Chris Evans Opens Up About His MCU Return

The Guardians of the Galaxy series represents a return to form more superhero projects need to adopt. If Marvel wants to succeed, they need to get back to the basics of good versus evil. Not every plot needs to have a Thanos-level threat, sometimes a supervillain with an axe to grind will do the job just fine.

Is this the end of the Guardians AND Marvel? Tell Inside the Magic what you think in the comments below!


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