Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: MCU Wrap-up

Theres one year left until we get Avengers: Infinity War. Where do we stand now?

In 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe as relative unknowns but quickly became fan favorites among casual and hardcore Marvel fans alike. It exceeded nearly every expectation and depending on who you ask, is the best movie in Phase Two.

Almost three years later, we get Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Was there really any way for it to be beat out the first? Uhh, probably not. Part of what made GOTG so good was how much lower the expectations were for it from the start. When the MCU really started picking up steam with the premiere of “The Avengers” in 2012, expectations were high and the movie properly delivered. We had already seen Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk (sorta) and a bit of Hawkeye and Black Widow. These characters were and are generally more high profile in pop culture and we’ve already gotten full length movies for some of them. In short, we already knew the characters in The Avengers. Hell, we had already met the villain in it once before.

GOTG was virtually the opposite. The Guardians and their lore were basically unknown to the average person. Yet, the ragtag team of unknowns organically became one of the most beloved franchises in the MCU. The big difference between Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 is that the expectations are going to be much bigger than they were (as they normally are for sequels). Unfortunately, they don’t really live up to them (which is also pretty normal for sequels). To be honest, I’m pretty okay with that and it was still a fun movie worth watching. Let’s take a look at how Guardians Vol. 2 is and how it fits into the grand scheme of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

So… how was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 actually?

In a word: Fun.

The best (and possibly worst) thing about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is that it gave us more Guardians of the Galaxy, which is great. What makes that possibly the worst thing about it is that it in now way moves the MCU forward. This movie is what I like to call an “Adventures of…” story, in which there little to no lasting effect of the story on a given timeline. It’s sort of like the “slice of life” genre for any anime fans out there. The story starts, the conflict appears within the story, the conflict is resolved within the story, and everyone moves on with their lives. In a vacuum, this movie was solely character and relation development for the Guardians themselves and the characters within the lore. Almost nothing actually happens in the grand scheme of things (the inevitable fight against Thanos) from the beginning to end of the movie. I say “almost” for a reason, more on that later. If you are looking for a fun, entertaining, and highly comical Marvel movie, you’ve come to the right place. If you are looking for pivotal things that will move the MCU’s story forward as a whole, you’re kinda out of luck (again, the keyword is “kinda”).

The good news is that this is more or less sticking to what made Guardians Vol. 1 such a success. That’s not to say that the GOTG franchise will never be able to move the MCU forward, but the thing people enjoyed most about the first movie was that each of the five main characters together was greater than the sum of its parts. Sure, it was the most got to see of Thanos and there was an Infinity Stone involved, but it isn’t like that was more entertaining than seeing Star-lord, Drax, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot together. Guardians Vol. 1 gave us a movie with characters we didn’t know we wanted. Guardians Vol. 2 basically just gave us more of that.

Should you watch it? Yes. it’s about as zany and enjoyable as the first one. If you’re a fan of the superhero genre, you’ll have a good time. Now, I’m a huge sucker for the MCU model, so you can take my opinion with a grain of salt. One, superheroes are dope as hell. Two, having an extended universe and different moving parts to a story that branch together in harmony is extremely cool in my opinion. Sort of like how people love Star Wars and are glad to pay money to get more movies a full decade after the prequel trilogy ended, I’m happy to throw money at Kevin Feige as long as he keeps making movies. That being said, I still think it’s a good watch.

You said “almost nothing” important happens. Does something important actually happen?

NOTE: Spoilers start here. I REPEAT SPOILERS PROBABLY START HERE (also a little for Doctor Strange too)

As of right now, I think most people can agree that there wasn’t much that happened to affect the MCU in this movie. Now, that may change as time goes on and more movies come out. I’m not saying this movie is going to be Iron Man 3, where you could virtually remove it from the MCU and nothing would change. There are a few things that happen. Let’s do a check of the important things:

Infinity Stones: Nothing new here. We still don’t know where the sixth one is. It’ll probably come in Thor: Ragnorak, although I really wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see it until Infinity War. It doesn’t really make much sense to put it in Black Panther and it definitely doesn’t make sense to put it in Spiderman.

Ego/The Sovereign: I was a little surprised that Ego ended up being the villain. I was also surprised that the Sovereign played such a minute role. I have a feeling that both are going to be back in later movies. It’s pretty obvious that the Sovereign will be back since they are making Adam Warlock (more on this later). I also don’t think Marvel Studios would invent an entirely new race just put make them a secondary villain in one-ish movies. Ego is also a celestial which I would guess are a lot harder to kill than planting a bomb. He might just need some time to reform again then come back to help the Guardians somehow.

(Sidenote: Me hoping Ego is coming back could be me projecting that fact that I hope we see Dormammu again. Him being portrayed as a giant angry face in the sky beaten by a magical time loop was, while indicative of character development, kind of lame.)

Nebula: I feel like Nebula is going to be like Loki in the sense that she was a villain but now she is going to be an anti-hero/we don’t really know what she’s doing but she’s going to be around. She’ll probably have much better intentions than Loki now that her and Gamora made up, which is cool.

Mantis: She was a fairly secondary character, but she is signed on for Infinity War so she seems in it for the long haul. I’m interested to see if she will be anything more than witty banter to bounce off Drax. While she was pretty integral to beating Ego, she isn’t exactly combat ready and there won’t be a whole lot of breathing room with nearly every Marvel character in Infinity War (remember how cramped it was in Age of Ultron?) We may need to wait until Guardians Vol. 3 for some real character establishment/development from her.

Or maybe she dies. Who knows?

Adam Warlock: OKAY. This is where the interesting stuff comes in. If you missed the post-credit scene, The Sovereign are PISSED at the Guardians and the high priestess mentions that she is making something to destroy them. She calls it “Adam.” This references Adam Warlock, which is a frequent adversary of Thanos in the comics. This could (probably) go one of two ways. One: it ends up being an Ultron/Vision situation where Adam finishes being created during Infinity War, defies the Sovereign’s orders, and helps the Guardians/Avengers/anyone else who is in that movie fight Thanos. Two: Adam is fully created before the movie starts and makes his reveal in some sort of fight or something. Then they decide to explain him later for people who don’t know who he is. It’ll probably be the former and the Marvel Execs will find a way to make it different from Ultron.

Groot: In a mid-credits scene, we see teenage Groot. This probably means we get regular Groot back. Thank God. Baby Groot is cute and all but he was also entirely useless the whole movie and was basically there only to be cute and/or funny. This was a good gimmick for one movie but not a good gimmick for more than one movie.

What’s Next?

Can we not cancel this Spiderman please? I’m excited for this one, but more importantly, I’m just really sick of getting NEW Spidermans. I just hope this Spiderman sticks.

Spiderman: Homecoming is coming soon. Like REAL soon. I’m very excited because it looks very good. I do have some thoughts on what is going to happen.

How much more RDJ are we going to get? I feel like it is going to be a delicate balance of how much screen time Iron Man has. It won’t be just a cameo, but there’s probably a fine line between getting too little and too much Iron Man. I hope they lean on the “more” side, since the number of times we get Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man may be limited. It’s not like there are any plans to restarting the Iron Man movie franchise any time soon.

Donald Glover is gonna be in Spiderman. DONALD GLOVER IS GOING TO BE IN SPIDERMAN?!?!?!?! If we get a Miles Morales (who is a Black/Hispanic(?) Spiderman) reveal in this movie to become another Spiderman in the future, that would be AWESOME. OR. Just give us Miles Morales now. I’d be okay with two Spidermen.

Will this movie fix the never-ending villain problem that Marvel Movies have? Probably not. I highly doubt it.

(This really isn’t a question for this Spiderman: Homecoming, but the future Spiderman movies) Since there’s a Flash Thompson cast, are we going to get a post-credit scene or something showing him getting the Venom symbiote or starting the process to? We very well may get another Eddie Brock in the future, but who knows?

How many characters in this movie am I actually going to care about? Sure, there’s Peter Parker, Iron Man, the surprisingly attractive Aunt May, and the Vulture and Shocker, but are we going to care about Peter’s friends in high school? I don’t know if Liz Allen, Ned (who we haven’t established is actually Ned Leeds), and a new character named Michelle will have the same pull for the general audience as Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy, or Norman Osbourne. I hope Marvel makes them good characters, especially since redoing the three latter characters would probably bring a collective groan from the audience.