I'm high on believin'...
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the headliner movie right now, and, of course, I love this franchise and these characters, so I have some more rankings and reviews coming out. The Guardians of the Galaxy themselves are some of the best characters in the MCU. From Yondu to Drax to Star-Lord, these lovable weirdos have touched our hearts for almost ten years. This was a really difficult ranking, because I think all eleven of these characters are good to great to some of the best in the MCU. But, at the end of the day, some are better than others, so here is my ranking of all eleven Guardians of the Galaxy.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3!!!
11. Ravager Gamora
I didn't hate what they did with this resurrected Gamora in Guardians 3. It gave her a bit of a different arc that made sense. I liked that they didn't go too far in terms of her relationship with Star-Lord. It felt balanced. It felt good that they didn't end up together, because that just would've felt forced and out of place. That said, I don't think what they gave her to do in this movie merited bringing her back to life. Obviously, that wasn't a choice made by James Gunn, but regardless, it still doesn't feel entirely earned. She's not a bad character necessarily, but compared to the rest of the Guardians, she isn't even close.
10. Cosmo the Spacedog
For being a talking Russian dog that was basically introduced in The Holiday Special, Cosmo is actually a pretty good character. She doesn't have a ton to do in Guardians 3, but whenever it cuts to her and Kraglin, their banter and dynamic is really fun. She also has a nice little role in the finale that I really enjoyed. She's not a major character, so I can't put her any higher, but I really enjoy her presence in both The Holiday Special and Guardians 3.
9. Kraglin Obfonteri
Another one of our more supporting Guardians, Kraglin is an entertaining, lovable airhead. For Guardians and most of Guardians 2, he is just kind of Yondu's sidekick and isn't particularly memorable. Near the end of Guardians 2, though, we spend a little more time with him as he takes over the arrow in wake of Yondu's death. Like Cosmo, his role in Guardians 3 isn't huge, but it's fun. He has a small arc as he finally learns to use Yondu's arrow and his banter with Cosmo (as I said before) is tons of fun. For being a pretty minor character, Kraglin is really, really awesome.
8. Yondu Udonta
I wasn't sure I liked Yondu when I first met him in these movies. He essentially kidnapped Star-Lord from Earth, but he fathers him and helps him navigate what must've been a really weird childhood. He's aggressive and tough, but at the end of the day, he has a good heart, and that makes him really likable. Star-Lord's realization that Ego isn't her real dad and Yondu is right before Yondu's sacrifice is absolutely devastating and it rounds out Yondu's character perfectly.
Of our main Guardians, Groot's always been the weakest. Not to say he's a bad character, because he isn't, but he's always been given the least to do. For only being able to say three words, this is a fantastic character. In the original Guardians, he's a gentle giant who eventually sacrifices himself for his friends. In Guardians 2, he's adorable Baby Groot. I'm not as much a fan of the teenage Groot in Infinity War, but I think they redeemed his character more in Guardians 3 as he was given some awesome moments of action and payoff. Is he the worst of our main Guardians? Yes. Is he still a great character? Yes.
I fully disliked Mantis in Guardians 2. I thought she was weird and kind of off-putting. Her dynamic with Drax in that movie comes off as more awkward than funny. But through the Avengers movies, The Holiday Special, and Guardians 3, she has become a much better character. They gave her a personality and a much better dynamic with Drax in Infinity War and The Holiday Special. In Guardians 3, she almost feels like the glue that's holding the Guardians together. Her arc and eventual decision at the end of Vol. 3 makes sense and feels like a great completion of her character. She's great.
It's easy to forget how tragic of a character original Gamora is. She spends her entire life in Thanos's grasp and eventually finds herself a real family with the Guardians. This only lasts for a few years, however, as she eventually falls back into Thanos's grip and ends up being killed by the Mad Titan in exchange for the Soul Stone. She's such a sad character, and that shows throughout her entire journey in the MCU. It's absolutely devastating, but it makes her one of the best characters in the franchise.
Another character that I really didn't like upon her introduction, Nebula has grown on me. She starts off as an emotionless villain due to Thanos's torture. Eventually she escapes him and starts to warm up. She is welcomed into the Guardians, but remains somewhat cold. Through Endgame and Guardians 3, she learns how much she cares about this family that she has found. I loved that they kept her consistent in Guardians 3 while also showing that she truly is a Guardian of the Galaxy and cares about these people as much as they care about her. She has had one of the most underrated journeys in the MCU. It's fantastic, fantastic stuff.
3. Drax the Destroyer
Drax is the most fun character on this list. It's tough to pick a funniest Guardian, but I'd say he earns that title. He is absolutely hilarious. Dave Bautista's comedic timing is fantastic. But beyond the incredible comedy, Drax is a really heartfelt character. He's this man hell-bent on revenge because he lost his wife and daughter, but once he gets his revenge, he learns that his true purpose is to be a father to all of these children that were slaves under the High Evolutionary. That's an incredible, poignant journey for a character to go on. Writing this, I want to put him at number one, but the other two characters are ever so slightly higher than Drax.
2. Rocket Raccoon
Rocket was a great character in the first two Guardians films. He's this wisecracking war raccoon that has so much sadness hidden behind his eyes. James Gunn hints at his horrific past in the first two films while never really telling us what happened. When we finally get his backstory in the third film, it is absolutely heart-breaking. Some of the saddest and darkest stuff in the MCU. It reframes his entire journey in this new tragic light that makes you appreciate how great of a character Rocket truly is.
As much as I wanted to put Drax and Rocket in this spot, at the end of the day, Star-Lord is the best Guardian of the Galaxy. He starts off as this scared little kid who gets abducted by aliens immediately after his mom dies of cancer. He navigates the galaxy as this outlaw that doesn't have a purpose, only to find the Guardians and have a true family. By the end of Guardians 3, though, he realizes that he's been running from his true fears his whole life. He goes back to Earth and reunites with his grandfather after all these years. It's a perfect arc for a great character, and it puts him in the number one spot.