Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 cropped Movies Reviews 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

By | May 8th, 2023
Posted in Movies, Reviews | % Comments

Have you ever cried because of a raccoon? Because you will.

This review contains minor spoilers.

James Gunn’s third and final installment of Guardians of the Galaxy may be the best movie of the saga. It focuses on the story of Rocket, whose past we get to see while the team tries to save him from a mortal wound, but their only chance to cure him relies upon Rocket’s creator, the High Evolutionary who, over the years, has developed an obsession with his creation.

The story begins at the Guardians’ headquarters in Knowhere as they are suddenly attacked by Adam Warlock, who is looking for Rocket; he is sent by his mother, Ayesha of the Sovereign, which works both as revenge for the events of the second movie, and as a way to ingratiate herself and their race with their creator, the High Evolutionary.

Rocket ends up severely injured but he has a kill switch in his heart and cannot be cured easily; this is the catalyst for their adventure, where they visit OrgoCorp and Counter-Earth, both creations of the High Evolutionary. The story is interspersed with flashbacks of Rocket’s life, as we see the friendships he makes, the multiple crude experiments done on him, and the reason why he’s being hunted by the Evolutionary, he has a creative mind, something that none other creation developed.

Both earlier Guardians of the Galaxy movies talk about growth and confront deep themes, mainly of introspection and the human status, and this one also touches on profound ideas; I believe that the real events surrounding the movie permeated intensely on it.

If you don’t know the story, James Gunn, who learned about making movies with his mentor Lloyd Kaufman of Troma, was fired from directing the third movie after right-wingers resurfaced old tweets by him, full of raunchy (and unjustifiable) humor. He apologized before and apologized again then, recognizing that his comments were awful, but he argued that he had grown as a human, which reflected in his movies.

Then, a lot of people came out to defend him, including fans, the whole cast of the Guardians, and even Warner Bros., who picked him up to direct The Suicide Squad and later appointed him co-CEO of DC studios. Marvel realized their mistake, and gave him back his role as director of this movie.

Every single story element of this film shows the growth of Gunn and is reflected in the characters; the villain, High Evolutionary, might be one of the most impressive villains in this new era of the MCU. While we have had good villains like Gorr or Kang, we didn’t see much of their past, we just know that they are evil and have killed, but this villain is different, we see his many creations, torture, and destruction of both animals and sentient beings.

The High Evolutionary reflects the worst of us, he is willing to alter or end life just because of his whims, and only when he is confronted by his mistakes or deliberate wrongdoings, he responds just like big corporations. We see this when he destroys Counter-Earth when Peter Quill confronts him; granted, he might have been already planning on doing that, but I am lead to believe that he accelerated his plan just because they showed the faults in his supposed utopia. He calls himself a genius, but his actions are rushed and shortsighted, just like certain billionaires.

We also see growth in every other character: Nebula has to confront her rage issues and how that affects her team, and she is particularly affected by what is happening with Rocket (if you think about it, her closest friendship is with him, after all, they spent five years as Avengers when the rest of the Guardians disappeared in the Snap.) Quill needs to get over the loss of Gamora even when there’s a version of her in the timeline; Mantis works as the glue of the team, and sometimes ignites the evolution of the other characters. Adam is a man-child who only wishes to please his mother, who herself lives only to satisfy her creator, a bad maternity that results in a socially inept superpowered being. At this point, Kraglin, Cosmo and Drax are mostly fully formed, their arcs are brief, but they all give heart to the movie.

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And of course, the heart of the movie is Rocket; as Lylla tells him “this was always his story.” All through the previous movies, we saw a character riddled with sometimes crippling guilt, and this time we discover the reason, and see him become finally able to forgive himself, and accept what he is by saving as many lives as possible, sentient or not. Humanity is looking after everyone, and humanity can come even from a raccoon.

The performances of every actor are great, although some deserve special attention. Dave Bautista still shines as Drax without much effort, Karen Gillian manages the evolution from a grunting character full of fury to a wholly involved member of the family, and Pom Klementieff gives an emotive and empathic performance; although she still has a lot of physical comedy, she’s not the weird gag anymore, her performance is more nuanced.

As is becoming somewhat of a custom for the Multiverse saga, it is the villain who shines. Chukwudi Iwuji, a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, gives a masterful performance, radiating a similar energy to Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg from The Fifth Element and even Hades from Disney’s Hercules as the High Evolutionary. Iwuji runs, screams and intimidates his way through the movie.

As is customary in James Gunn’s movies, the music is a character in and of itself. At the beginning of the movie, we understand the current emotions of every member of the Guardians with Radiohead’s “Creep,” and as the story moves forward, we receive even more perfectly chosen songs.

The production design and the effects are undeniably well done, you can tell that Gunn got a lot of creative freedom and time to fully develop the best version of the story he had on his mind. You can see the influence of classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars, which was especially striking in the scenes at OrgoCorp. I was left particularly fascinated with the archive where they retrieve Rocket’s information, as it is a gorgeous design.

Of course, the movie is not without its flaws: first of all, if you want to fully understand it, you have to see the two previous installments and the Holiday Special, and that might not be a problem, after all this is the third part of an arc, but you also have to have seen at least the two latest Avengers movies.

Gunn must deal with the fact that they killed one of the most important characters of his story and brought in an alternate version of her. The relationship between Quill and Gamora is done, and Gunn manages to deliver an appealing story for Quill, but Gamora doesn’t have much growth, she just learns to work with the team that she’s never even met. Also, Groot is also barely in the movie, even when he is the adoptive son of Rocket. He has very cool scenes trough the movie, especially in the latter half of it, but he works more as a weapon than as a character until his last piece of dialogue.

Some could argue that the character of Adam Warlock is turned into a joke instead of the powerful and important member of the Marvel Universe that he is in the comics, but I don’t think that’s a flaw, he works great within the context of the movie.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is not perfect, but it doesn’t want or need to be perfect, in fact, this is precisely the message Gunn and company want to deliver: you don’t have to be perfect or alter yourself to be someone you are not, and that is the reason why this is the best movie of the trilogy and one of the best of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.

An emotional tour de force, this is a work of art within an industry, delivering us almost ten years (15 if you count continuity) of heartfelt evolution from some of the best characters at Marvel Studios. We first saw them as deeply damaged people in their darkest moments, and end their arc as more complete (if imperfect) heroes, who turned into a family: for James Gunn and the Guardians of the Galaxy, the dog days are truly over. We don’t know if we are going to see more of them in the near future, but we at least know that they will be happy this time.

And if you want more of them, you’ll always have the comic.


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Ramon Piña

Lives in Monterrey, México. He eats tacos for a living, literally. You can say hi on Twitter and Instagram. Besides comics, he loves regular books and Baseball - "Viva Multiversity Cabr*nes!".

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