Note: This article contains significant spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was a fantastically fun movie. Just like the first film, #JamesGunn delivered another out-of-this-world adventure within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yet, despite the colorful setting and gut-busting comedy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is Marvel’s most personal film to date.
The sequel wasn’t about saving the world, even though it went that way through the overarching plot. The film is really about family, and the hardships that keep it together. Our heroes are family, the villain is family, and the ones we least expect are family.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Has The Best Ending Since Captain America: The First Avenger
Unlike the first film, however, the sequel didn't end on a happy note. It wasn't the third act battle sequence, but Yondu’s death that was the real climax of the story, all the way to the closing shot of the film. Not since the first Captain America has a Marvel film ended on such a somber and bittersweet note. The beautiful ending revitalized the safe endings Marvel usually puts out. It also tells us that #Marvel can reestablish their almost decade-long franchise in completely new territory. It’s gotten me all excited again for everything in the MCU.
Except...one of the things that fans were most excited about in the film was the exact thing that, for me, almost ruined my excitement—and almost ruined the film's perfect ending, too: those five post-credits scenes.
How The Post-Credit Scenes Ruined The Perfect Ending
Marvel wasn’t the first to incorporate post-credit scenes, but the studio revolutionized the way we use them by incorporating the technique right into their storytelling. Major characters like Nick Fury and Thanos were first introduced at the end of #IronMan and #TheAvengers, respectively. Throughout the years, Marvel has successfully propelled their stories forward via their post-credit scenes, but they don’t necessarily have to do it.
The extra footage in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel was a perfect example of that. It clashed with the final emotional hook of the movie and felt felt tacked-on. It overshadowed the tone of the closing shot, stealing the gravitas the film had been building the entire movie. Yondu’s death and funeral were the perfect way to end a film about family, and would have been more powerful if the movie hadn't undermined it by immediately including those scenes.
Don't get me wrong, the post-credit scenes themselves were great, including a hilarious Sean Gunn moment, but they would have been better saved for the third film. They deviated from the sweet ending we’d just experienced in favor of quick humor, without giving us the proper time to process how beautifully James Gunn had directed the final scene and the emotional poignancy in it.
Sometimes Bittersweet Endings Should Stay Bittersweet
Sometimes endings resonate not because they make us laugh but because they make us grieve.
Nick Fury: You gonna be okay?
Steve Rogers: Yeah. Yeah, I just... I had a date.
We learned that from #CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger. That line gutted us, but somehow, it was okay, because it fit. We learned from #Logan that sometimes, what we see is exactly what we get, and that's death. Both films had impactful, meaningful endings that didn’t get undermined by post-credit sequences (while Captain America did have a teaser for The Avengers, it still fit the tone and didn't overshadow his loss).
If the next phase has more moments like the ending to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, then I am all in for another decade of Marvel fun. Fans and general audiences alike seem to enjoy every single second of post-credit scenes from Marvel, and that’s okay, too. It's just worth remembering that what lies underneath all the fun are moments are the ones that really resonate, like Yondu’s farewell.
Do you think the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 post-credits scenes were out of place? Let me know in the comments!