Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 (2023) Review
“WE’LL ALL FLY AWAY TOGETHER,
ONE LAST TIME”
Back in 2014, Marvel Studios released Guardians of the Galaxy, their 10th film in their shared cinematic universe of superhero (aka the MCU) and took a departure from the well-known and established rosters of characters from the previous entries and brought a sci-fi cosmic aspect through its usage of storytelling, locations, and characters. It was definitely different from past iteration in the MCU, especially with a group of main characters who didn’t comic book pedigree nor the screen-time exposure to the masses against the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Hulk. However, the success of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy was a triumphant victory for the MCU, with many praising the superhero feature for its screenplay, direction, acting, humor, soundtrack, visual effects, and action sequences. The movie also grossed roughly over $770 million globally and became the third highest grossing film of 2014. Given those notion and how much the fans loved the Guardians team, a sequel was shortly greenlit thereafter and in 2017 the next chapter was released in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, with director James Gunn returning to helm the project as well as principal cast. Like its predecessor, Vol. 2 received the same type of praise (humor, direction, acting, action, soundtrack, etc.) and grossed over $869 million at the box office. While a third Guardians movie was immediately greenlit following Vol. 2’s release, the Guardians of the Galaxy team appeared in other MCU superhero films, including blockbuster team features Avengers: Infinity War in 2018 and Avengers: Endgame in 2019 as well as Thor: Love and Thunder in 2022. Now, it’s time to face the music as Marvel Studios and director James Gunn present the end of the current Guardians team with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. Does this threequel provide a satisfying closure to everyone’s favorite cosmic team of misfits or does it fall prey to its own high expectations with a mediocre endeavor?
Continuing to build a base of operations on Knowhere, the Guardians of the Galaxy team, including Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Nebula (Karen Gillian), Mantis (Pom Klemntieff), Groot (Vin Diesel), and Rocket Racoon (Bradley Cooper) are ready to settle down with their lives and get away from daily heroics of daring-do. Unexpectedly arriving to the colony is Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), son of Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), who’s been tasked to retrieve Rocket, managing to nearly kill the racoon during his task. Realizing they need special info to help save Rocket’s life, the rest of the Guardians make their way to a corporate space station to collect their fellow team member’s history, which is connected to the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), a twisted and maleficent scientist looking to become a god by creating the “perfect society”. Turns out, Rocket is the key to the High Evolutionary’s master plan, with the raccoon revisiting the trauma of his haunted past while recover from his attack from Warlock. To help defend their friend, the Guardians are put to their ultimate test as it is a race against time to save Rocket, contend against the strong might of Warlock, and thwart the High Evolutionary’s mission for perfection, while also dealing with the sudden reappearance of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), who’s now part of the Ravagers with no memory of the last few years.
THE GOOD / THE BAD
It’s been some time since we last saw the Guardians of the Galaxy team. Well, we’ve seen plenty of them over the past several years, but not in their own solo film endeavor. True enough, when they first appeared on the scene back in 2014, the Guardians were like a “breath of fresh air” and have been since then. The comedy, the drama, the heart, and the action of their escapades throughout their adventures together. Unlike the Avengers characters that have appeared in and out of the MCU, the Guardians team of characters were relatively unknown grouping of names. Names like Peter Quill, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Racoon, and Groot were hardly recognizable names in comparison to Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner, and Thor just to name a few. Plus, the movie took place in the cosmic realm of outer space, with the MCU dominantly taking place on Earth, with only a few areas outside the earthly space. Thus, Marvel certainly was taking a gamble with the Guardians of the Galaxy film. Yet , this gamble bore the fruit of success, with the movie succeeding with critics and moviegoers alike and became a blockbuster win that 2014 summer. In truth, it became my favorite movie that year and even became my favorite film of MCU’s Phase II saga. Naturally, a few years later, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was released and further continued the adventures of the team as well as bringing on new characters and new dynamics to the group. Much like the original project, Vol.2 had plenty of heart and drama that mixed together with action and comic book nuances. Plus, who could forget the Guardians team coming into contact in meeting the Avengers team members in the superhero team up duo feature films Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. It was great to see their various interactions that they share with some of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as well as seeing them up against the all-powerful might of Thanos. Additionally, I did watch the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on Disney+ and, while it was a bit cheesy and silly at times, it still felt natural for the characters (and premise) to partake in and was a good spin-off extension of the mainline entries. Overall, I still love the Guardians of the Galaxy characters and the misadventures that they have been through throughout the time spent in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Naturally, this brings me back around to talking about Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3, a 2023 sci-fi superhero film, the 32nd film installment in the MCU, and the third and final chapter of director James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy. As expected from the success of the Volume 2 and their appearance throughout other superhero entries, it was almost a forgone conclusion that a third chapter in the Guardians saga would eventually materialize on the horizon, with the announcement coming during the announcement being made during one of Marvel’s future planning conventions. This third cinematic adventure would bring closure to the current team, with possible future character coming in to be a part of the team, and MCU overseer stating that the primary cast of acting talents would return to reprise their character roles like before as well as director James Gunn returning to direct this sci-fi romp. Unfortunately, the project was delayed sightly due to Disney firing Gunn over several old social media tweets, which left the Guardians project in a sort of uncertainty and limbo for a little bit. After completing 2021’s Suicide Squad over at Warner Bros. and DC (Marvel’s rival), Gunn was rehired by Disney and the upcoming film was set to be release during summer of 2023. From there, the production of the feature was put back on schedule, with a few snippets appearing here and there online from time to time, which (of course) got me excited. By the end of 2022, the film’s movie trailer began to appear online and in theaters, which showcased the first footage from Guardians 3 and promised a sort of finality to the current Guardians team. With new trailers, TV spots, and other promo workings, Disney / Marvel were pulling all the stops in making this movie the big blockbuster feature to kick start the 2023’s “Summer at the movies” lineup correctly, with a lot of pomp and anticipation proceeding throughout the last several months. Personally, I was quite excited. As mentioned, I’ve been a fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy, so I was quite eager to see where this latest installment would take the characters, especially with several rumor appearing online on certain characters not making it to the end of the feature. So, I decided to check out the new movie during its opening weekend. And what did I think of it? Well, I loved it. Despite a few minor quibbles that I had with certain characters and story beats, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 is masterful conclusion to James Gunn’s superhero sci-fi adventure that is equally parts humorous, meaningful, and heartfelt for the characters and story. Unlike some trilogy fashions that end on a disappointing whimper, Volume 3 soars high above those endeavors for a rousing finale that perfectly encapsulates Gunn’s vision for these comic book space superheroes.
As mentioned, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 is directed by James Gunn, whose previous directorial works include the previous two Guardian films as well as Super, Slither and Suicide Squad. Given his familiarity with the characters, the story, and the overall thematic tone that these films have, it seems that Gunn would be the only person for the job to helm this sci-fi superhero sequel. In that regard, Gunn definitely succeeds and approaches this movie with a sense of finality and the proper closure for the characters. It’s not the end of everything, but the end of Gunn’s work on his Guardian features, with Volume 3 acting as the third act of a trilogy and shapes the picture with a sense of culmination / final chapter for this iteration of the team. In that notion, I think Gunn definitely succeeds as the film gives plenty of context and a proper close out of this Guardians trilogy that, unlike a lot of other trilogies productions, gives us (the viewers) a satisfying conclusion to it all. Perhaps an interesting angle that Gunn decides to do with Volume 3 is reframe the main focus more on Rocket than the rest. Of course, the other team members of the Guardians are still very much present in the movie, but it is Rocket himself who is the driving force that the film follows and helps generate a lot of fantastic scenes around such tragedy and adventure. It’s sort of a bold choice to undertake, especially one that sort of wasn’t fully expecting, but it certainly makes Volume 3 stand out.
Like before, Gunn also pulls “double duty” on the film as being both director and writer for this sequel. However, unlike the previous two Guardian movies, Gunn acts as the sole writer for the feature and it kind of shows that. Of course, there are a few areas that needed to iron out better (more on that below), but, for the most part, Gunn creates something that is quite profound and more defining than some of the MCU installments of late. There’s more swagger to the film, a bit more humor, and tad more visual aspects, and just a whole lot of Gunn’s vision for what he clearly wanted to make his last outing in this superhero universe. That’s not to say that the movie itself is unrecognizable as an MCU project as Gunn still retains the traditional nuances that many have grown accustomed with, including large action of CGI visuals, even larger-than-life heroes and villains, and a healthy cinematic dose of comedy and heart throughout. That being said, Gunn’s signature style that he had on the previous two Guardian endeavors is crystal clear in Volume 3 and offers up some of the most dramatic and heartfelt moments. You’ll laugh harder, be amazed over, and even shed a tear or two. If this is to be Gunn’s last “hurrah” in the MCU, then he does a terrific job and goes out on his own terms of storytelling and direction.
As some have stated in their reviews and through social media platforms, Volume 3 is very much so a “James Gunn movie first and MCU movie second”. On that notion, I definitely agree. Much like the previous Guardians installments, Gunn keeps the narrative still a part of the MCU universe, yet still manages to make it’s doing its own thing and keeping away from becoming being overtly saturated in the greater franchise saga arc of this shared universe (much like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever). Gunn still drops names and references to some of the past events that happened during the MCU, but they are throwaway lines and don’t go off on a tangent of trying to connect the film to the larger cinematic universe. There is no mentioning of the multiverse variety, or even talk of Kang himself. So, despite the notion that Volume 3 takes place in the Multiverse Saga, Gunn steers clear of the film becoming a dumping ground of exposition and setups for larger narrative of this shared superhero world.
This also extends to the overall tone and thematic of which Volume 3 succeeds in, with a more mature tale to be told, especially in examining (or rather uncovering) the tragic backstory of Rocket throughout the movie. Naturally, this brings up the more darker elements of the feature, with Volume 3 touching upon a very sensitive subject of animal abuse / cruelty. It’s well-founded in the movie and does share a major part in the movie’s storyline, but might be a little bit too much for the younger crowd and / or sensitive individuals out there. I’ll touch upon this later in my review, but, for now, just a word of caution some viewers out there. In addition, the themes in the movie that Gunn conveys are quite palpable and strong…much more so than what’s been done in some of the more higher profile MCU endeavors. How so? Well, like the other two Guardian pictures, Volume 3 discusses the Guardians team as a family, a dysfunctional yet loving one that comes together when the chips are down by putting aside their differences and strengthening one another. It’s a tried and true method for character growth (both individual and interaction with other characters), but it’s definitely worked in Gunn’s favor for these movies and clearly shows that throughout these Guardians projects. Volume 3 keeps the trend going and further examines the Guardian characters and how this dysfunctional family of misfits come together with strong personalities and growth within their last adventure. Interestingly, while the other films talked about collaborating of their family “harmonizing” with each other, Gunn elects to make this installment showcase how a family has to accept their members for who they are and not what others want them to be. This is clear showing with various members, including Quill trying to get Gamora to be the same woman that he once loved, Mantis always wanting try and please everyone and not for herself, Drax’s hidden parental instincts overlooked by his team, and so on and so forth. This plays a huge instrument in Volume 3’s narrative and something that the movie fully embraces throughout, which (again) gives quite the lively and colorful (as well as meaningful) context to the film’s characters. It’s not an uncommon usage of storytelling, especially for the MCU, but it definitely is an enlightening one that works in Gunn’s direction for these movies, including this one, as well as something that viewers can take away beyond this cinematic realm and into the reality of today’s world (or even in a more personal insight of oneself). Overall, Volume 3 is still very much a MCU movie, yet Gunn finds way to give more creative licensing than other installments, with the director choosing to confront such thematic elements and having them play a part in the feature’s narrative. He brings his endeavor to a close and for a satisfying conclusion that leaves door open for possible continuations (in some form), yet Volume 3 is a send-off for Gunn’s Guardians trilogy that closes out the same way it began….by dance to its own beat….and that’s a great thing.
In the presentation category, Volume 3 looks spectacular within its sci-fi world and showcases plenty of colorful vibrancy and vivid detail within the cosmic / outer realm reaches of the MCU. The previous Guardian films showcased the outer space realm of the MCU, with Gunn presenting otherworldly places and locations that felt real, yet also alien at the same time. Yet, still wrapped within such colorful detail. Volume 3 continues that trend and further expands the MCU’s universe with such realism of sci-fi grittiness and blends it with hyper really blooms and depths of fictional imagination in order to give such fantastic depictions. From the fleshy and slimy organic space station of Orgocorp to the hodgepodge dwellings on Knowhere, the environments of the movie are filled with sci-fi grime and worn-down feeling, which juxtaposes some of the more brighter and vivid displays of colors that help make the feature “pop” throughout. Thus, the key players in the movie’s “behind the scenes” team, including Beth Mickle (production design), Rosemary Brandenburg (set decorations), Judianna Makovsky (costume designs), and the entire art direction team for bringing Gunn’s vision to life on the silver screen as well as making that said vision have one foot in reality and one foot in science fiction aesthetics. Additionally, the visual appeal of the feature succeeds, which the dozens of CGI wizardry artist that worked on this project should be applauded for their work, especially after the more shoddy / rushed visual that were found in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Also, the cinematography work by Henry Braham, who had previously worked with Gunn on Vol.2 and Suicide Squad, helps create such a dynamic and cinematic presentation throughout the picture, with plenty of dazzling usage of camera angles and usage of filmmaking trickery. This results in the movie’s visual flair come alive even more with such creativity, including an amazing and almost jaw-dropping sequence hallway fight scene that is presented in an “all-in-one-take” display. It’s brilliant and amazing to watch! Lastly, while the film’s score, which was composed by John Murphy, delivers a fantastic musical soundtrack composition of grandiose action and dramatic poise throughout, Volume 3 continues the Guardians trend by incorporation a selection of musical songs that play in and out of the feature, with such songs like Rainbow’s “Since You’ve Been Gone”, Beastie Boys’s “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”, Spacehog’s “In the Meantime”, and Florence + the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over” just to name a few. While not as catchy as the original film, which I think is still the best soundtrack of the three, Volume 3’s musical song selection is still fun and entertaining to be featured in the sci-fi sequel.
There were a few minor things that I felt that Volume 3 could’ve done better, which, while not diminishing my overall enjoyment and entertaining viewing experience of the feature, still felt made me feel that the first Guardians movie was still better than this one. How so? Well, for starters, Volume 3 is quite long and was in needs to be trimmed down in various areas throughout. Yes, it has been recorded (and stated) that this sequel was indeed the longest of the Guardians trilogy, with the film clocking in at around 150 minutes (two and half hours) from start to finish, which fourteen minutes longer than Vol. 2 and twenty-minutes longer than the original Guardians of the Galaxy. That being said, warranting such a lengthy runtime for the last outing was a somewhat risky choice, especially since the previous entries were leaner and more carefully tailored down for a tighter runtime. Volume 3, while still very good, feels bloated in certain parts of the feature, including the climatic battle that runs a tad longer than it should. Thus, the pacing of how things play out in the film can be a slight wonky at times and certain sequences draw on far longer than they needed to be. Perhaps this is mainly due to Gunn’s sole working on the movie’s script as he has plenty of ideas and characters to examine in the narrative, yet a few don’t exactly work out properly. I know that Gunn wants to go out with a “bang” in the movie, but the bloating of the feature is felt. Another minor problem that I had with the film is how dark (thematically speaking) certain scenes are. Yes, as mentioned above, I do praise Gunn for making Volume 3 touch upon some mature examinations of abuse and cruelty, yet those moments sort of “push the envelope” a few times that made even me squirm while viewing. It’s not a deal breaker as I’m sure that was why Gunn wanted to put them into the movie (for a valid reason), but I made some things were a bit too much.
The cast in Volume 3 is solid across the board, with all the returning principal main characters from the previous installment reprising their respective roles with great ease and fun throughout. Some have a little bit more screen time than others, but the main “bulk” of the Guardians still remains a perfect band of misfits that everyone loves / gets annoyed with….like a family. And this particular aspect has always been the sort of “bread and butter” of the movies and Volume 3 certainly brings that notion back with drama vigor and humorous bits. Leading the charge in the movie is actor Chris Pratt, who reprise his role as the Earthbound human gunslinger outlaw Peter Quill (aka Star Lord), actress Zoe Saldana, who returns to reprise her role as the deadly assassin Gamora. Both Pratt, who is known for his roles in Jurassic World, The Magnificent Seven, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and Saldana, who is known for her roles in Star Trek, Avatar, and Live by Night, have become quite skilled acting talent, appearing in various prominent blockbuster features throughout the years and have amassed a variety of colorful characters. Their roles in the Guardian films are indeed part of their collections and all for the better, with the pair making their comic book character counterpart come alive with some representation for their source material, yet also interject their own personalities into them.
Throughout the past two solo films (and in the Avengers team-up projects), the characters of Quill and Gamora have grown with each other, who have shared love and loss on their own terms. Volume 3 showcases a different aspect of their relationship, especially given their current circumstance of which the feature begins with. Quill, who is still a little bit loss in his own placement in the universe, continues to pine for the Gamora he was knew and fell in love with, but the Gamora (the 2014 Gamora from the past) wants nothing to do with him. Again, it’s one of the messages that the film displays quite beautifully in trying to make someone the person you want them to be instead of who they really are, regardless of what had come before. Quill is still the proclaimed leader of the Guardians and still manages to lay on his cheeky wisecracking humor as well as his outlaw prowess, but Gamora is much more like the cut-throat assassin raised by Thanos than the more heroine warrior who originally joined the Guardians team years ago. Both Pratt and Saldana haven’t loss their step in their respective characters and it’s quite fun to see them bicker “back and forth” in their odds with one another. It’s an interesting dynamic and creates a few humorous exchanges, while also adding a new layer of dramatic tenderness in a few pockets. Plus, there on-screen chemistry with each other is just as solid as it was all the way back in 2014. Also, as the movie brings a sense of finality, their resolutions for them both end on poignant moment, especially in thematic levels of personality and self-reflection. Overall, Pratt and Saldana are still fantastic as Quill and Gamora and Volume 3 gives plenty of context and understanding in their peculiar relationship and character growth.
While Pratt and Saldana still make up some of the central figure heads of the Guardian team, Volume 3 does take a powerful (and moving) interest in the form of the wise-cracking and often outspoken Guardians team member Rocket Raccoon, who is once again voiced by actor Bradley Cooper. Known for his roles in The Hangover, American Sniper, and Burnt, Cooper has become a widely and well-known actor throughout his career and, while not as award-winning as some of his other roles, I personally love him as Rocket in the Guardians films. His tone, his diction and his delivery of lines have always been a terrific vocal performance for Cooper and to have him voice one of the more “vocal” characters of the Guardians team has been a delight. Plus, in general, the character of Rocket has always been an interesting one, especially since his past wasn’t fully explored. Of course, Volume 3 delves into that and gives Rocket plenty to examine understand his past. While he’s sort of sidelined for most of the feature, Gunn and his team still utilize the character of Rocket through a series of flashback sequences, which (again) helps fill in the gaps of exploring his past as well as explaining the menacing villain of the High Evolutionary. Thus, while Volume 3 takes the time to explore many different character aspects of the Guardian’s team, the movie is a heartfelt look into what made Rocket who is he, with actor Bradley Cooper given his most dramatic performance of the character since debuting back in 2014.
In addition, other characters from Rocket’s past appear in the film, including actress Linda Cardellini (Hunter Killer and Green Book) as the voice for an anthromorphhic Otter named Lylla, actor Asim Chaudhry (People Just Do Nothing and Click & Collect) as the voice for an anthromorphhic walrus named Teefs, and actress Mikaela Hoover (The Suicide Squad and Holidate) as the voice for an anthromorphhic rabbit named Floor. These particular characters help build upon Rocket’s haunted memories and give context to the Guardian member’s earlier life in their friendship with him.
The rest of the Guardians team, including actor Dave Bautista (Dune and Knock at the Cabin) as the highly skilled warrior Drax the Destroyer, actress Pom Klemntieff (Uncut Gems and Oldboy) as the empathic powered Mantis, actor Vin Diesel (Fast and the Furious and xXx) as sentient humanoid tree creature Groot, and actress Karen Gillian (Doctor Who and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) as the brash / outspoken yet skilled robotic cyborg assassin Nebula, act as the supporting roles throughout the movie. This is not to say that these characters are less important than the other ones and are clearly part of the fun and poignant moments that Gunn designated them to be in the feature, but these players are sort of the window dressing for the movie’s main heroes. Sure, they have their “spotlight” moments and key values of growth, including Drax’s humorous personality, Mantis’s self-worth discovery, Groot’s loyalty, and Nebula’s leadership, but don’t have the same type of main crux of Quill, Gamora, and Rocket have on Volume 3. Still, Bautista, Klemntieff, Diesel, and Gillian are very much having a blast playing these Marvel characters once again as well as having a solid representation of them closing out their respective roles in a satisfying way. I personally couldn’t see anyone else playing them and (much like Pratt, Saldana, and Cooper), have definitely left their mark on the MCU with their portrayals of these said comic book heroes.
In the villain category, Volume 3’s main antagonist comes the form of the High Evolutionary, a maleficent and twisted scientist who is seeking perfection within his genetically modified species testing, and who is played by actor Chukwudi Iwuji. Known for his roles in Designated Survivor, The Spilt, and John Wick: Chapter 2, Iwuji is somewhat of a relatively unknown actor, which, in the case of Marvel, is kind of different thing. Usually (per a MCU endeavor), most of “big bad” antagonist are played by recognizable acting talents (i.e. Hugo Weaving in Captain America: The First Avenger, Robert Redford in Winter Soldier, Mad Mikkelsen in Doctor Strange, Cate Blanchett in Thor: Ragnarok, Michael Keaton in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Josh Brolin in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, etc.), yet sometimes those roles are often throwaway in comparison to the heroes that fight against them. Thus, it’s kind of a “give and take” when it comes MCU villains. In the case of Volume 3, it’s somewhat of a reverse on that moniker as Iwuji, who hasn’t been anything super mainstream prominent, manages to cultivate such a vile and despicable character that…basically…you love to hate. He definitely brings the right amount of self-righteous arrogance and maleficent inducing fury to the character to make him quite a sizeable threat for the Guardians to take down. His scenes within Rocket’s flashback scenes is where Iwuji make the most of in the film and really does showcase the true evil that the High Evolutionary can be. Plus, as a whole, Iwuji does a good job through his acting and never overacts or undersells his character’s demeanor / personality in any way shape or form. Plus, it’s sort of a fitting “final bad guy” that the Guardians team (Gunn’s iteration of the team, at the very least) for this particular decisive last adventure that they face together, especially since the story revolves closely around Rocket’s past. In the end, while he may not have the same likeable and suave charm of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki or the magnanimous and imposing pressure of Josh Brolin’s Thanos, Iwuji’s portrayal of the High Evolutionary is indeed a memorable MCU baddie and a solid villain you love to get his comeuppance.
Speaking in the villains department, I felt that the introduction of Adam Warlock in the film (as well as the inclusion of the Sovereign High Priestess Ayesha) were underwhelming throughout the feature. Let’s look at Warlock, who is played by actor William Poulter (Detroit and The Maze Runner). Well, he certainly looks the part of the character (physically speaking) and the pre-release images and footage shown of him looked quite promising. Unfortunately, the movie ends up making the character of Adam Warlock rather goofy and underwhelming with an adolescent-like mind inside of an adult body; something akin to Shazam! in ways of nuances and personalities. I definitely get what angle what Gunn was trying to go for (the film’s script gives a fleeting moment of explain this persona for Warlock in the movie), but it comes off too wonky and rather weak secondary antagonist, especially since he’s presented in a way of a similar fashion to the rest of the Guardians character. If he were more of a straight-laced baddie with a more menacing personality, it would’ve worked. Still, Poulter does try to make it work and I don’t fault him perse (he makes the most of it), but rather how Adam is presented in the story and, much like the Mandarin letdown in Iron Man 3, felt liked a disappointment translation of the memorable character from the comic book lore. The same with Ayesha, with actress Elizabeth Debicki (The Crown and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) returning to reprise their Vol. 2 role once again and, while I do love her work, felt underwhelming with very little time to spend on her, which her character rather a moot point in the grand scheme of things going on in picture. In truth, one could’ve easily removed both Ayesha and Adam Warlock altogether from Volume 3 and still achieve a somewhat untouched story plot. Of course, a few minor tweaks would’ve needed to be made, but still both characters could’ve been written out and could’ve possibly been better for the feature in its entirety.
Other side characters, including actor Sylvester Stallone (Rocky and Rambo) as high-ranking Ravager leader Stakar Ogord, actor Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville and Sweet November) as a high-ranking Ravager member named Martinex, actress Maria Bakalova (The Bubble and Bodies Bodies Bodies) as the voice for Russian talking cosmonaut canine named Cosmo (who was introduced in the GotG Holiday Special), actor Sean Gunn / James Gunn’s brother (The Suicide Squad and The Belko Experiment) as former Ravager member Kraglin, actor Stephen Blackehart (The Suicide Squad and Brightburn) as former Ravager Steemie Blueliver, actor Nathan Fillion (Castle and Firefly) as orgosentry at Orgocorp named Master Karja, actress Daniela Melchior (The Payback and A Herdeira) as receptionist of Orgocorp named Ura, and actress Miriam Shor (Younger and Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and Nico Santos (Superstore and Crazy Rich Asians) as the duo scientifically-minded henchmen of the High Evolutionary named Recorder Vim and Recorder Theel respectively, make up the rest of the minor supporting players in the film. Well, some get a bit more screen time than others, most (if not all) of these acting talents play their respectful parts quite well in the movie and help build upon certain scenes throughout…..regardless if for humor, plot point, or continuity reasonings.
Lastly, as is customary towards many of the MCU superhero films, Volume 3 does have not one, but two Easter Egg scenes at the end of the film, with one appearing as a mid-credit one and one that appears at the end of credits. While I won’t spoil what these two scenes are about, they do show that promise of what may come with future installments (someday) for several characters in the movie.
It’s time to face the music as the Guardians of the Galaxy team band together for one last “hurrah” adventure to save Rocket’s life and defeat a nefarious evil in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. Director James Gunn’s latest film brings an end to his Marvel superhero sci-fi space adventure with a rousing and moving tale that echoes themes of identity, family, and loving others for who they are that’s wrapped together within a visually stunning blockbuster Marvel movie. While a few certain aspects could’ve been ironed out better (or better represented) in the film, the rest of the picture shines thanks to Gunn’s direction, a poignant script, powerful themes, heartfelt moments, a fantastic visual presentation, and a great cast across the board. Personally, I loved this movie. I did have really high hopes for this particular sequel blockbuster and I felt that it delivered on a lot of fronts. Yes, there were a few things that didn’t agree with in the film, but those were minor complaints, with the feature’s positives outweighing them easily. It was still very much a Guardians endeavor that had plenty of humorous laughs, sci-fi action spectacle, and emotional drama and gives a masterful ending to this trilogy. I laughed a lot, I was in awe over the visual spectacle, and I even teared up once or twice. I still think that the first Guardians film was slightly better, but only by a small margin. Thus, my recommendation for this movie is highly favorable “highly recommended” one, especially fans of this franchise and the character therein as well as those looking for a more well-rounded entry in the MCU saga that of its recent releases of late. Basically, you won’t be disappointed. As mentioned, the ending draws a close out of many of the characters for this particular team, yet the door is left open for some to return in possible entries in the distant future. I, for one, would love to see what can be done with possible installments down the road, but I have a feeling that it won’t be the same. In the end, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 concludes and closes out what began back in 2014, with a ragtag group of cosmic misfits banding together to save the galaxy from evildoers. The movie beautifully captures Gunn’s vision and brings an end trilogy endeavor that’s blends humor and heart far better than most MCU installments have ever achieved. A wholesome a perfect conclusion to relatively incredible fun and entertaining sci-fi superhero blockbuster adventure that spanned across several films and other entries in this shared universe. In short, the movie encapsulates the emotional and heart of the Guardians team from onset to conclusion, with the film beautifully echoing what Rocket’s resonating words “we all fly away together, one last time, into the forever….that beautiful sky!”
4.5 Out of 5 (Highly Recommended)
Released On: May 5th, 2023
Reviewed On: May 13th, 2023
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 is 150 minutes long and rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, strong language, suggestive/drug references and thematic elements