Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3



Director: James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Chukwudi Iwuji, Sean Gunn, Maria Bakalova, Elizabeth Debicki, Will Poulter, Linda Cardellini, Asim Chaudry, Mikaela Hoover, Nico Santos, Sylvester Stallone, Nathan Fillion

After what has felt like millennia (but in reality, has been but a mere six years), we finally have the conclusion to the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy. We now get to feel some sort of closure for the ultimate band of misfits that injected some much-needed overt humour into the MCU back when they debuted in Vol. 1 in 2014. The Guardians have amassed a huge following with tons of loyal fans, so much so that there was no way Disney/Marvel couldn’t hire back Gunn to complete the story after his undeserved and unceremonious firing (that’s another story). But has their story, both within and without the main MCU arc that involved The Blip, come to a satisfactory I AM GROOT “end”, or has it left us with more I AM GROOT!?-style questions.

The Guardians have created a new base for the Guardians of the Galaxy on a newly built Knowhere, a place mainly where Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord (Pratt) can drown his sorrows, when one day they come under attack by Adam Warlock (Poulter). In the ensuing fight, Rocket (Cooper), is gravely injured. As his fellow Guardians rally round to save him, they come to realise it’ll be much more difficult than they could have imagined. Thus, they embark on a mission to find Rocket’s origins, introducing them to the High Evolutionary (Iwuji), a maniacal scientist who dreams of a perfect world, a world he deigns to create through the genetic testing and mutation of animals (mostly). The Guardians race to save Rocket, but also, once again, save the universe from yet another madman who believes he is doing something for the good of all in existence.

It’s a shame that we had to wait unnecessarily long for this movie, but truthfully, it was entirely worth the wait. It is incredibly well-rounded, in that it swings you gently yet painfully between feelings of joy, anger, sadness and relief via the experiences of the characters, particularly those of Rocket. Somehow, Gunn easily makes you care enormously for these fictional characters. I say ‘somehow’, but truthfully, it’s clear that he uses very relatable and current societal themes to draw us in and understand what is happening, including animal testing/mutilation, genocide (not a new one for the MCU), loss, friendship, family (or, specifically, choosing your family) and trust. Rocket, while always being snarky and in many ways looked down on by other characters, turns out to be a much more complex raccoon than anyone knew. We already knew how tight knit the Guardians are, and Vol. 3 does test those bonds, but for the most part, you just know that what doesn’t kill ‘em will almost certainly make ‘em stronger.

Of course, like most of these movies set in space, the majority of the film is CGI, however that doesn’t make it any less awesome. The set designs and the ones that were built were tremendous; the make-up and costuming must have sent everyone to hell and back (but totally worth it for the outcome); the cinematography/editing is exactly what we expect from a Guardians movie, with its slower close-ups in the more emotional scenes and the quicker pacing for the action (including one excellent scene that, although it most definitely had some editing, is viewed as a one-take action sequence); the score was absolutely perfect, particularly in the more emotional scenes; and, of course, the soundtrack was spot-on, as always. The crew of filmmakers rallied together, much like the Guardians themselves, extremely well to create something that the fans would love, and you can tell the filmmakers themselves are dedicated fans. If you watch any behind the scenes snippets (some good ones on Gunn’s socials), you may be surprised by the way they opted to conduct some of the visual effects. It all supports a story that, despite having recognisable and oft-used themes, feels very unique to the Guardians.

As far as ensemble casts go, not many do it better than the main group performing as the Guardians. Pratt brings the usual humour as Quill but he also delves into his more serious pockets from time to time, bringing some genuine emotion into Quill’s inability to come to terms with the loss of (his) Gamora. Gillan, while still as serious as ever as Nebula, finds some new turns for the character as she navigates “belonging”. Bautista’s Drax is as droll and literal as ever, and he is superbly partnered with Klementieff’s Mantis to create some entertaining back-and-forth, as well as deepening their characters by showing off what they are capable of (some really nice and thoughtful writing there from Gunn). Saldaña’s “new” Gamora has traces of what we knew of the “old” Gamora while also giving us something more like the angry and fearsome Gamora of old. Groot is, well, Groot, still as surprisingly succinct and lovable as ever. This movie, however, truly belongs to Rocket. With Cooper voicing him, Sean Gunn providing the mo-cap and voicing a younger Rocket, we get a much deeper understanding of the character’s evolution through his voice, his physical appearance and his relationships. In spite of the many fractures the Guardians have in their dysfunctional yet, oddly, functional family, they all come together, trusting each other to make it work, and it’s honestly a beautiful and inspiring thing to witness. That, and the things they stand for and the morals they keep, are what bring us back to these characters every time.

As previously mentioned, this movie will swing you to-and-fro between most human emotions, but I dare you not to shed a tear at least once. Ultimately there’s a lot of sorrow and even guilt that can be felt through this movie, but there’s also a lot to laugh at and celebrate. Gunn has done an epic job of balancing everything through the story and the dialogue (even if some of the humour was a little too corny at times) and making us fall in love even more with these characters. He brought the best out of each one, reluctantly for some of them, and it truly is a good final chapter for the Guardians of the Galaxy as we have known them. It’s time for some new characters to take over, and it’ll be interesting to see if a new group will fare just as well, or if they’ll even appear as a new group in any future movies, whether solo or within the greater MCU. Time will tell, but we’ll always have our OG Guardians to fall back on.


Not much to say about mid/post credits, other than the mid-scene shows Rocket leading his new band of Guardians, and the final scene shows Quill reunited with his grandpa and sharing some light banter then announcing that Star-Lord will return in the future. Whether that’ll be Chris Pratt, of if he passes on the mantle, who knows right now. Not a lot of stay back for, but it’s just tradition for every Marvel movie at this point, isn’t it? Also, very grateful for the MCU’s first F-bomb which, in my opinion, was perfectly situated. Now Deadpool is being pulled into the fold, might there be more fucks to give?

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