‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3’ – Review
It’s time to take a trip back out into the outer cosmos because the universe’s wiliest group of misfits, The Guardians of the Galaxy, are back for one final ride. Director James Gunn cranks up the volume for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3, and this is a full-on science-fiction, superhero rock opera in all its loud and crazy glory!
Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Peter Quill), still reeling from the loss of Gamora (Zoe Saldaña), must rally the Guardians of the Galaxy on a mission to defend the universe and protect one of their own.
When Guardians of the Galaxy was first announced back in 2012 it was a title that took many by surprise. As the scrappiest group of outsider characters in the Marvel Universe, many had no idea what would occur when the untapped mad genius of James Gunn would be set loose when he finally brought this wise-cracking team to the big screen in 2014. And the rest as they say is history. From that first beloved film to the much-hyped sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, to appearances in the greater MCU with Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, Thor: Love & Thunder and even their own beloved Christmas special, the Guardians have won the hearts of fans the world over and many would consider this outlaw family to be the core heart of the greater MCU. Now in his final Marvel Studios film, director James Gunn brings out all of his love and passion for these characters and pours it all into the most rockingest comic book film you’ll see all year.
Unleashing nothing but pure creative force, Gunn takes his roster of Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Mantis, Nebula, Kraglin Obfonteri, Cosmo the Spacedog, Groot and Rocket on one crazy final voyage. And this is a picture that will knock you right back into your seat thanks to the level of awesone that is set to MAXX! With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 Gunn sets out to tell the final chapter in the mythos of this core Guardians team, and it’s a narrative that’s heavy on action, emotion and heart. And trust me when I say not a dry eye will be left in the theatre by the time the credits begin to roll. Every piece of this film has Gunn’s stamp of love on it, and you truly feel that he’s made this a family experience for the entire cast and crew with his dedication shining through in every moment of footage.
The Guardians of the Galaxy have been through a lot within the MCU, and Volume 3 throws them into a ringer with Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) in the grips of a major depression at having lost the love of his life, Gamora (Zoe Saldaña), who in her new form wants nothing to do with him. But when disaster strikes and one of their own is threatened, Pratt’s Star-Lord has to pull it together and audiences are thrown into the do-or-die mission that moves forward at a rapid pace. Pratt finds his rhythm once again as Quill in this picture, and Gunn tests him with a script that changes up his relationships with key characters such as Saldaña’s Gamora and Karen Gillan’s Nebula. And it’s interesting to see what happens next. Saldaña’s newer Gamora is a real riot to watch on screen as well, and she’s riding roughhouse with this character.
With each new Guardians film, we’ve seen an ever greater cast of characters grow and evolve with their story, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 is very much a family movie. Again Gunn throws his characters to the far corners of the universe and the usual bickering and tantrums follow. But these characters truly love one another and whenever they’re together nothing can stop them. Following Gamora’s departure to the Ravagers, its Karen Gillan’s Nebula who steps up in the ranks of the Guardians to provide the maturity that the team needs. Drax and Mantis’ back and fourth puppy love for each other continues, and both Dave Bautista and Pom Klementoff are again utterly hilarious together. Sean Gunn’s Kraglin Obfonteri again fumbles with his heroism, but eventually finds the courage he needs, while Maria Bakalova brings the perfect mix of presence to the ever-loveable Cosmo the Spacedog. And Groot well, we love Groot and Vin Diesel’s personality again shines through.
But all in all, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 is the story of Rocket. And Gunn takes you on one incredible rollercoaster of emotions as his story plays out. Through flashbacks, we come to learn how Rocket became Rocket, and his is an utterly heart-wrenching origin that leads to plenty of raw emotions. And even though he suffers at the hands of the depraved High Evolutionary, there are also moments of pure love and light as Rocket’s previous family of friends are revealed. While I won’t go into too much detail, I will say that Rocket’s story will touch your heart in the most loving of ways, and Bradley Cooper’s care and performance in bearing Rocket’s soul to audiences is what gives this film its feeling.
The Guardians may have saved the universe countless times, but in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3, they find themselves facing their most personal battle yet. Their foe this time around is a sociopathic, scientific narcissist known as the High Evolutionary and he has a seriously unchecked God complex. With vigour and glee, Chukwudi Iwuji gives a masterful performance as this deranged character, and his untapped ego and sinister mind make him one of the scariest ever villains to grace the realm of the MCU. There’s nothing redeeming or fanciful about the High Evolutionary and he’s one messed-up villain who deserves nothing more than to be taken down.
With each new entry in the Guardians of the Galaxy narrative, James Gunn has worked to elevate the intensity, drama and action of the franchise. And he revs up the decibels with Volume 3. Bold in scope, and jacked to the core, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 packs in a whole heap of action onto the screen and the audience will have to remember to breathe. This is a film that rushes forward at every moment, and no spare frame is left off of the screen as the Guardians go to work. But while the action will elevate your adrenaline it’s the film’s thematic touchpoints of what it means to be a family where Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 truly finds its feeling, and you’ll need a good source of tissues because you’ll be on the verge of tears by the time that the credits begin to roll.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 is James Gunn’s last MCU hurrah and it’s an utterly spectacular vision of the universe’s greatest bunch of misfits. This is an incredibly special film to witness and it’ll carry you away into the forever and beautiful sky.
Image: Walt Disney Pictures