Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is a triumphant and emotional farewell to the beloved franchise that has captured the hearts of audiences since 2014. Writer-director James Gunn has crafted a film that is not only hilarious and action-packed but also deeply sincere and moving that will leave cinema audiences in tears, and if you are anything like me, a complete and utter emotional wreck as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 cements its place as on par with the first movie in terms of quality and solidifies the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy as the best in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The film centers around the origins of Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and the Guardians’ quest to uncover the truth about his past. The story is expertly told with care and depth which is expected from a writer/director like James Gunn, along side this the characters are well-drawn and layered. While there may have been some fracturing during the last two Avengers films, it is clear that Gunn’s Guardians are back and better than ever. What’s even more impressive is that Vol 3 manages to be a break-up movie, a story about complex friendships, animal cruelty and an exploration of a found family all at once.
The performances are top-notch, with Chris Pratt delivering perhaps his best performance as Star-Lord, by diving into the world of Rocket and his origins, we get to see a softer side of Peter Quill who is still at odds with the death of Gamora, and Zoe Saldaña bringing depth and a violent and wild side to her final performance, proving again why her and Pratt have the most rizz of any MCU couple. Pom Klementieff‘s Mantis and Dave Bautista‘s Drax steal the show with their hilarious dynamic and really get a chance to shine in this film, and finally Will Poulter‘s Adam Warlock and Elizabeth Debicki‘s Ayesha bring a new layer of complexity to the story, although regrettably are not given enough screen time to really shine here. There are a few other side characters like Sean Gunn‘s Kraglin and Maria Baklalova voicing Cosmo the incredibly adorable psychic space dog.
What sets Vol 3 apart from other comic book movies is its commitment to evolving its core characters. No one is sidelined or wasted, and each character is given the opportunity to grow and change. It’s a refreshing approach that pays off, additionally, the villain here might just be the best MCU villain outside of Thanos. The High Evolutionary played by the incredible Chukwudi Iwuji will make you hate him with every move he makes. There is a clear and decisive motive that is less “here’s my plan to destroy the universe” that seems to constantly plague MCU movies. Iwuji is calm, calculated and utterly terrifying as the High Evolutionary, this is a terrifying performance that will stay with you long after you leave the cinema.
The action sequences are thrilling and visually stunning, after some messy CGI in Quantumania, it appears the effects team have successfully combined practical effects for some creatures with prosthetics and make-up, while only using full CGI when absolutely necessary. As it is set on alien worlds in outer space, it only makes sense for this to be the case. It was incredibly noticeable how well the effects were detailed and going practical where possible. It’s also worth noting this is definitely the gooiest of the MCU films (IFKYK!) As expected, the humour is on point throughout. But what really sets Vol 3 apart is its emotional resonance. The film is a celebration of found families and the power of friendship, and it will leave you feeling both satisfied and emotionally fulfilled.
Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is a must-see for Marvel fans and anyone who loves a good sci-fi romp. It’s a fitting end to an iconic franchise, and it will leave you wishing there was more from our favourite inter-galactic heroes at some point in the future. If that doesn’t ever eventuate, this movie provides the ultimate conclusion that will leave audiences satisfied and celebrating the rich story and world that writer/director James Gunn has lovingly crafted.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is in cinemas from May 5th 2023.
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