Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 Delivers Laughter and Tears

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 Delivers Laughter and Tears

In an ongoing mega-movie saga like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s rare to get a satisfying conclusion, but that’s exactly what Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 provides. That’s not to say we won’t see these characters again (this is the MCU, after all), but, with this being James Gunn’s final chapter in the trilogy, it’s the last time we’ll see the Guardians like this.

For its swan song, everything goes bigger, better, harder and faster in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The emotion is ramped up, there are grander blockbuster action sequences, the needle drops hit harder, and the humour is on point. It’s everything you love from these characters on a grand scale and not one that is weighed down by the wider mythology of the MCU.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Review (Image: Marvel Studios)

Following on from the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, the third film picks up with the group on Knowhere. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) has turned to drinking in order to forget the loss of his love Gamora (Zoe Saldana), who is still in this movie except, due to the events of Avengers: Endgame, she is now a variant taken from an earlier point in the timeline with no knowledge of her and Quill’s relationship. In her absence, Nebula (Karen Gillan) has become a mainstay in the team, Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementioff) remain a dynamic duo, and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) has become a swole young adult.

But the heart of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), who has perhaps been the trilogy’s unsung hero all along.

A violent attack at the beginning sets the emotional stakes high and leaves Rocket in peril, imploring the rest of the Guardians put aside their problems to save their friend, which involves delving into his mysterious past. This backstory is revealed in a set of flashbacks that show a very adorable baby Rocket (who will steal your heart) and his growing friendship with a group of other genetically modified animals.

guardians of the galaxy 3
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Review (Image: Marvel Studios)

Both timelines revolve around the evils of the High Evolutionary, a maniacal villain who is deadset on perfecting society. As a villain, he is instantly unlikable, although sometimes Chukwudi Iwuji’s performance leans too far into melodrama to really leave an impact. It’s also hard not to see notice the similarities between the High Evolutionary and the MCU’s previous villain, Kang the Conquerer, who also donned a purple suit, utilised high-tech telekinesis powers and suffered from a God complex.

In keeping with the limitless potential of its source material, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 becomes a melting pot of ideas. For the most part, it works. There is a deft balance of adrenaline-pumping action sequences, heartfelt performances across the board and comedic zingers that keep the movie firing. But occasionally, it all becomes too much.

There are times when the film just leans too far into the weirdness, which is somewhat reminiscent of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Although, it should be said that this movie succeeds where that one failed by grounding these instances in places of character and emotion.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Review
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Review (Image: Marvel Studios)

James Gunn also succeeds in crafting a story arc for the many main characters in this film. Every member of the Guardians ensemble receives a satisfying pay-off, even down to the smaller characters like Kraglin (Sean Gunn) and Cosmo (Maria Bakalova). Will Poulter’s Adam Warlock is also an instant scene-stealer, although, unfortunately, he doesn’t have too many scenes to steal.

That being said, the large volume of characters, storylines and ideas in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 result in a 150-minute movie that can’t quite keep up the pace for the entire runtime, particularly in an overly long third act.

There isn’t really much more to say except that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 provides more of what you’ve come to expect from the franchise thus far. If you’re invested in these characters, odds are you’ll have a good time.

It is a fun and incredibly affecting superhero film that isn’t afraid to lean into moments of darkness and pure joy. All in all, it provides a satisfying trilogy capper for this misfit group and one that will be remembered fondly.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: The Verdict

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Review (Image: Marvel Studios)

Pros: Lots of fun, isn’t afraid to get dark and emotional, enjoyable comedy, a satisfying resolution for these beloved characters.

Cons: Overly long and occasionally too weird.

Watch it if you liked: Previous Guardians of the Galaxy movies, The Suicide Squad (2021).

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 releases in Australian cinemas on May 4.

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