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Is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 the best James Gunn movie ever?

James Gunn’s career in cinema began in 1997 when he wrote the low-budget Troma Studios film Tromeo and Juliet. His subsequent movie scripts included a lesser-known superhero flick, The Specials, two live-action Scooby-Doo movies, and a remake of Dawn of the Dead. In 2006, Gunn was finally given a chance to direct his first movie, Slither, before making his mark on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy eight years later.

Late last year, Gunn was named co-CEO of DC Studios, and he is slated to direct Superman: Legacy. That’s why Gunn’s newest film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, is his final Marvel Studios movie. It’s also the perfect occasion to look back at Gunn’s filmography to date and list them in descending order based on their Rotten Tomatoes rankings.

6. Super (2010)

Rainn Wilson in Super.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 49%

It’s ironic that so many of Gunn’s films have been superhero flicks, since one of his earliest movies, Super, is a dark parody of comic book cinema. Rainn Wilson stars as Frank Darbo, a husband who becomes increasingly unhinged after his wife, Sarah (Liv Tyler), leaves him for a man named Jacques (Kevin Bacon), who fuels Sarah’s drug addiction.

Inspired by a TV superhero called The Holy Avenger (Nathan Fillion), Frank reinvents himself as The Crimson Bolt and tries to impose his comic book morality on the real world. This appeals to Libby (Elliot Page), a female friend who buys into Frank’s warped ideology before becoming Boltie to fight alongside him. But attempting to battle crime without any superpowers is a recipe for disaster in this story.

You can stream Super on AMC+ via Prime Video.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)

The cast of Guardians of the Galaxy.
Image via Marvel Studios

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

Gunn’s most recent film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, is also his swan song at Marvel Studios before joining DC Studios full time. In this sequel, Rocket (Bradley Cooper) is seriously injured during an attack by Adam Warlock (Will Poulter). To save Rocket’s life, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and the rest of the Guardians find themselves on a collision course with Rocket’s deranged creator, the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji). Peter also reunites with Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the variant of the woman whom he loved deeply.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now playing in theaters.

4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

The cast of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

In the first Guardians sequel, Peter and Rocket are at odds after the latter brings down the wrath of the Sovereign on the team. The arrival of Peter’s long-lost father, Ego (Kurt Russell), also splits the Guardians in two, while Gamora’s estranged sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan), attempts to end their feud in fatal fashion. But as the truth about Ego’s intentions comes to light, both Nebula and Peter’s former Ravager leader, Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker), side with the Guardians to help save the universe.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is streaming on Disney+.

3. Slither (2006)

Jenna Fischer in Slither.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

Slither was Gunn’s feature film directorial debut, and you may recognize several actors from his subsequent movies in this one. Nathan Fillion stars as Bill Pardy, the Police Chief of Wheelsy, South Carolina. Pardy’s small town life is upended when a local man, Grant Grant (Michael Rooker), is infected by an alien parasite. And once Grant begins to change, he starts infecting other people in town.

Soon enough, Bill, Kylie Strutemyer (Tania Saulnier), Mayor Jack MacReady (Gregg Henry), and Grant’s wife, Starla (Elizabeth Banks), are the only uninfected humans left. And despite his hideous transformation, Grant is convinced that he can still reclaim Starla’s love.

You can rent or buy Slither at numerous digital outlets, including Prime Video.

2. The Suicide Squad (2021)

The cast of The Suicide Squad standing on a forest.
Warner Bros. / Warner Bros. Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

During a brief period in which he was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Warner Bros. swooped in to sign Gunn to direct The Suicide Squad, a loose continuation of a previous Suicide Squad movie. Only Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Colonel Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), and Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) return for major roles in this film, which primarily follows a new team on a suicide mission in Corto Maltese.

Waller blackmails Bloodsport (Idris Elba) into leading a new squad that includes Peacemaker (John Cena), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), and Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior). But the true nature of their mission means that this makeshift team will have to step up and save the world.

The Suicide Squad is streaming on HBO Max.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

The cast of Guardians of the Galaxy walking toward the camera.
Marvel Studios / Marvel Studios

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Gunn’s career shifted into a higher gear with Marvel’s first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and it remains his highest ranked film on Rotten Tomatoes. In this origin story, Peter Quill steals an Infinity Stone, but Gamora, Rocket, and Groot (Vin Diesel) want to steal it from Quill before he can sell it.

After the quartet is arrested and sent to space jail, they join forces with Drax (Dave Bautista) to escape and split the money for the Stone. But much to their surprise, they bond as a team and stay together to save the universe from Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace).

Guardians of the Galaxy is streaming on Disney+.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now playing in theaters. Here’s where to watch all the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and TV shows. Also check out DT’s articles on the Guardians movies never needed the MCU to be successful and the best characters in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, ranked.

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Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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