Movie Reviews

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 Review: Puts An Emotional Bow On the Trilogy

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.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 3 Trailer:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 Video Review:

The Good:

Just as advertised, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 goes straight for the feels in this final chapter. Writer/Director James Gunn accomplished his goal of telling a heartwarming story. The writing for Rocket’s story is especially effective in evoking a lot of empathy for his character overall. The past movies hinted that he had a terrible past, but Vol 3 made us face those horrible events head-on. My favorite part was probably learning how Rocket got his name and discovering what has always internally driven his character. It definitely made me appreciate and look back to the previous films and look at Rocket’s character in a new light. If you didn’t care much about Rocket before, the plot of this movie will probably change your mind.

The emotional beats don’t stop with just Rocket. I thought that Gunn gave a lot of care and attention to each of the other characters as well. While I wouldn’t say everyone got a tear-jerker kind of moment, they did have a meaningful level of growth and development. For instance, Drax’s story comes perfectly full circle given how Gunn decided to cap his story. As a parent, Drax’s ending resonated with me the most. Bautista’s solid performance showed more sides to the character than most would expect.

As for other performances, I thought that Chukwudi Iwuji played a fine villain as the High Evolutionary. He was a bit eccentric at times, but you could tell his stage play experience was on full display in some scenes. I think it only elevated his character’s god complex in a positive way.

From a visual standpoint, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 was captivating. I loved the production design and vibrant colors. The High Evolutionary’s ship, for example, was really intriguing given its unique design. Some of the aliens looked extraordinary. The visual effects seemed crisp and the cinematography was on point. I loved how we had some shots that immediately came off as an homage to movies like Alien, Star Wars, and dare I say Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I should also mention that the cinematography helped a lot with the action scenes. James Gunn had a handful of fight scenes but the one that stood above everything else was the “Hallway scene”. That was a thing of beauty and easily one of the best action sequences in the MCU.

The Bad:

Without question, my biggest turnoff in this film was Adam Warlock played by Will Poulter. While I perfectly understood why and how his character was meant to be played, I simply was not a fan of this particular interpretation of the character. I did enjoy the action scenes involving Warlock. That did work well, however, the character’s personality and demeanor didn’t work for me. As a comic fan, I did have a loose expectation for this character who’s usually a very stoic character. I also understand the MCU is not in the business of giving direct adaptations from the comics. Nevertheless, there was nothing compelling about Adam Warlock that would even remotely make me interested in learning more about his character. It’s possible general audience may gravitate more to him given the levity he brings, but I don’t think he really added much to this movie in a meaningful way.

One thing the Guardians of the Galaxy movies have relied on were great soundtracks. I thought Volume 1, was perfect for the most part, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is a complete miss with its soundtrack. At times the songs were overbearing, which in itself isn’t the biggest issue. However, the loud songs didn’t even feel like they would match some of the scenes they were paired with. It became a bit of a distraction rather than a supplement for the scenes. Some of the songs I did personally love and enjoy, but the placement of them didn’t really work with whatever was going on in the story at the time. It was almost like getting ready to jump into a workout, and you need to get psyched up, and all of a sudden a slow jam R&B song plays. Ultimately, I think the soundtrack is going to depend on people’s personal tastes. I still think that’s a bit of a miss because I don’t think one should be a fan of the music in order for it to match a scene in a film.

For the most part,  the story was good. However, there were times when you could really feel the 2.5-hour run time. I think that there was some fat they could’ve trimmed out to make the story a bit leaner. One thing that could’ve been trimmed out would be the back and forth between Peter and Gamora. Ever since Avengers Endgame, (which a lot of people saw) the Peter and Gamora angle was displayed. Then we got more of it in Thor: Love & Thunder. Then we had a Disney+ special where it’s mentioned again. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 there were one too many instances where the same beats are addressed about their (nonexistent?) relationship. It just got redundant.

The Verdict:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 was a fitting and emotional ending for a trilogy that delivered a satisfying story for its beloved characters. James Gunn’s impression is all over this movie and this is probably the most James Gunniest movie there could ever be. You can tell that he really cares a lot about his characters even to the point where he’ll stretch out their stories more than needed. I think this film works better as an ending of a trilogy rather than as a standalone film. As a standalone film, the stakes in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3  didn’t feel high enough, and the payoff with the characters didn’t carry enough impact. However, as a closer to a trilogy, this film gets the job done.

If I had to rank the Guardian films, I’d say Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1 still leads the charge as one of the best. Then Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 steps up and Vol 2 will be at the bottom. Overall, I think the best thing that Vol 3 does is keep up the consistency of Gunn’s vision and voice. The film is worth watching in theaters, especially for anyone who has a love for the characters. There are two final post-credit scenes but in my opinion, they don’t seem necessary to wait for if you need to use the restroom.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. © 2023 MARVEL.

Director: James Gunn
Writer(s): James Gunn
Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, featuring Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Sean Gunn, Chukwudi Iwuji, Will Poulter, Maria Bakalova
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 3 hits theaters May 5, 2023. Be sure to follow E-Man’s Movie Reviews on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube, or follow me on Twitter/IG @EmansReviews for even more movie news and reviews!

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 Puts an Emotional Bow On the Trilogy
  • Acting - 7/10
    7/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 8/10
    8/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 7/10
    7/10
  • Setting/Theme - 8/10
    8/10
  • Watchability - 8/10
    8/10
  • Rewatchability - 7/10
    7/10
Overall
7.5/10
7.5/10
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