Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the best MCU film since Avengers: Endgame. It is the perfect ending, and the perfect new beginning.
This is the way that you do a trilogy. Not only does Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 introduce new characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that we are sure to see in the future, it wraps up the story of the Guardians of the Galaxy as we know them in a way that just feels right. As much as it pains me to say so.
James Gunn has loved these characters since before many fans even met them, which is why he was the only person who could write and direct this film in a way that does them justice. Each and every one of the Guardians has their time to shine. They have their moments that complete their arc. Some of which, in a completely unexpected way. This feels like the perfect to tie together of the previous two films, while also setting up for more, should that road be explored.
The stakes are high this time and yet fans still get an absolutely hilarious film. It is tense, and if you care about these people you will be on the edge of your seat, holding your breath until the very last moment, but it is a wild and fun journey, even despite how heavy it gets.
I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoilers, but Gamora and Star-Lord have some of the best moments in the entire film. There is a lot going on there. Peter finally found what he believes to be the love of his life and not only is she ripped away from him, she returns not remembering any of their relationship. Think of how painful that must be. He is grieving her, in his own way, at the start of the film which takes him to a dark place. Bravo to James Gunn, and to Marvel, for going there.
Then look at Gamora’s side. She doesn’t remember this man and yet is simultaneously breaking his heart all over again. That can’t be easy, either. My point is, James Gunn clearly thought about every side, of every relationship, in writing this movie. The audience can see, and feel, each side of every situation. Every single person gets their time in this movie and that is something James Gunn has always done extremely well when it comes to ensemble films. So it really should be no surprise.
When it comes to Adam Warlock, he is one of my favorite characters in the comic books so I was definitely cautiously optimistic to see him brought to the screen. Will Poulter does a phenomenal job, though.
I was nervous because he has such a close tie-in to the infinity stones in the books, so I didn’t know how they were going to handle that after Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. But James Gunn found a way to write Him into this where it makes sense and comic book fans will be very happy.
If you know me, you know I love a good villain. So let’s talk about the High Evolutionary. What makes a villain so good is when they don’t believe they are the villain. They have a lot of reasoning behind what they do and have convinced themselves this is the way to get their goals accomplished, for the better of the world, or galaxy in this case. That is exactly what Chukwudi Iwuji brings to the High Evolutionary.
Yes, it was all on the pages that James Gunn handed to him, but he captures those feelings perfectly. It is very clear that he does not see himself as the bad guy, and a villain usually doesn’t work unless that comes across in the performance.
He is terrifying and definitely one of the best villains that we’ve seen in Marvel so far, which means I would have liked a little bit more of him. I shouldn’t be picky, as this already has a two and a half hour runtime, but I could have watched him all day. His scenes with Rocket are extremely powerful. Some of the most powerful scenes that we’ve seen in film in a long, long time, and that’s largely in part due to James Gunn’s writing and editing and directing, but also a credit to Chukwudi Iwuji.
I would be remise if I didn’t point out that there should definitely be trigger warning for those who love animals because, as you can imagine, things get quite intense. We know that this is a story that centers around animal abuse and experiments, and Marvel pushes the envelope on some scenes. So be ready to have your heart broken.
I’m surprised James Gunn got away with so much that he did. We already know, unless you’ve been living under a rock, that this is the first F-bomb dropped in the MCU. However its placement is perfect. If there’s one thing James Gunn knows, it’s comedic timing. Well, there’s actually a few things James knows because it’s definitely comedic timing, how to build a killer soundtrack. and how to rip your heart out of your chest then make you crack up just moments later.
The soundtrack, per usual when it comes to James Gunn’s films, perfectly elevates so many different moments of this movie, whether it’s the action, the emotion, or even the funny moments. The action is phenomenal. Some might say that hallway fight scenes are getting old but trust me when I tell you that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 has one of the best hallway fight scenes that you will ever see.
The colors in this film are stunning. There is such an obvious contrast between how the High Evolutionary shows himself off to the public, and what he is really like behind closed doors. The vibrancy of his company building versus the darkness of the cells where he experiments helps drive that point home.
This is a massive movie. Absolutely massive. It works on so many different levels because it is absolutely hilarious and extremely dark at the same time. There are so many laugh-out-loud moments thanks to the whole cast, but in particular Dave Bautista’s Drax. If you love his one liners, buckle up, because there are a ton of them in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
As I said before, every single one of the Guardians has their moment to shine, and has their arc completed, but this really is truly Rocket’s film. If you leave with dry eyes, you do not have a soul.
The movie never feels as long as it is. It is well-paced. Even with a lot of information being thrown at you, it is done so in a way that gives you exactly what you need, before throwing in an action sequence or hilarious back and forth to propel itself forward.
Do it Hold Up?
Upon re-watch I can assure you that the film works even better. Being able to explore the journey the Guardians go through in this film knowing how it all ends is something every fan should experience. The humor tickler your funny bone just as much, if not more. The emotional beats hit just as hard, if not harder. The needle drops work just as well, if not better. And the action is just as badass, if not badassier (is that a word?).
It’s no secret that I am a big fan of James Gunn’s work. His style is my style when it comes to cinema and I think he has a brilliant mind for putting together movies that just work. He combines humor, heart, and music in a way that no other director can. And he is great with ensemble casts.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the perfect sendoff for these characters as we know them. It is easily the best MCU film since Avengers: Endgame. James Gunn has clearly poured so much of his heart into these films and he wanted them to go out with love and perfection. Which is exactly what he accomplished. It is bittersweet knowing this will be his final Marvel film. Probably.
Drax, Nebula, Groot, Mantis, Rocket, Cosmo, Kraglin, Gamora, and Star-Lord all complete their arcs that James Gunn started. They each have their moment in the sun. All of these stories end in a way that pays off what fans have been hanging onto since they were first introduced. And that… is how you do a trilogy.
There are two end credit scenes and while some might not call them important, they are payoffs for things that happened earlier in the film. With the final end credit scene setting up for what is to come in a hilarious way.
It’s hard to talk about this movie without spoilers because there are so many moments that should be experienced for the first time on the big screen. Just being sure to bring tissues, lots and lots of tissues.
Rating: 5 out of 5
About Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
In Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” our beloved band of misfits are settling into life on Knowhere. But it isn’t long before their lives are upended by the echoes of Rocket’s turbulent past.
Peter Quill, still reeling from the loss of Gamora, must rally his team around him on a dangerous mission to save Rocket’s life—a mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians as we know them.
The film stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, featuring Vin Diesel as Groot and Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Sean Gunn, Chukwudi Iwuji, Will Poulter and Maria Bakalova.
James Gunn is the director and also wrote the screenplay. Kevin Feige produces with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Nikolas Korda, Sara Smith and Simon Hatt serving as executive producers.
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Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.