Reel Reviews | Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

by Charles Kirkland Jr.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe says hello and goodbye to their strangest and most wacky team of deep space, rock, and roll superheroes in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

After a seemingly unprovoked attack by Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) is gravely injured.  Now the Guardians find themselves on a mission to confront Rocket’s maker in order to find the correct tech needed to save his life.  Along the way, they run into the resurrected Gamora (Zoe Saldana) who possesses no knowledge of her association with the Guardians nor any knowledge of her love for the Guardians’ leader, Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) who is constantly pining for her to regain the love they lost.  Plus, Adam Warlock is still out there looking to complete his mission for the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) who just happens Rocket’s creator.

Written and directed by James Gunn again, Guardians Vol. 3 stars Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Chukwudi Iwuji, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, and Nathan Fillion. As the new head guy with the rival DCU, this film is James Gunn’s final piece of work for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The beginning of this film feels very familiar in tone to the start of Avengers: End Game.  The team is licking their wounds a little and Star-Lord mourns the loss of the love of his life much like Thor mourned the loss of half of the people in the world.  It is a somber opening that is shattered by the sudden, unexpected, and unintroduced entrance of Adam Warlock.  After Warlock’s arrival, the seemingly rudderless story takes a direction.  Instead of saving the galaxy, the Guardians are off to rescue one of their own.

It has been often mentioned that this is the last film in the Guardians saga.  Marvel has been clear on this point.  As mentioned before, James Gunn no longer works for the company and is leading the new efforts of the re-imagined DC Universe.  But at one point in the movie, the realization comes that this will be the last time that this group of rebel superheroes will be seen together on the big screen.  At this point, despite the action on the screen, the somber feeling that reigned at the beginning of the movie becomes the feeling that the audience experiences.  There is, all at once, despair that someone will not make it out alive.

James Gunn made his career crafting the stories of this crew of misfits and lesser-known superheroes. Despite Marvel’s attempt to replace him, these stories are the possession of only James Gunn.  It is more than fitting that the team should come to its completion with Gunn’s exit.  Despite a sloppy start, Guardians recovers well and plunges its audience into more of the familiar, seriously madcap adventures fans have come to expect. 

Gunn also has a special way of making outer space beautiful and purposeful in its look and color.  In this movie, Gunn intelligently uses colors to help convey the prevailing emotions of the scene.  So when the Guardians are drifting around through space in huge spacesuits looking like floating Skittles, it is hilarious and whimsical.  When the audience is treated to a flashback scene, the color is washed out, reflecting the seriousness and sadness of the moment.  These are some of the technical things that make Gunn exceptional.

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, strong language, suggestive/drug references, and thematic elements, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a delightful film that presents a fitting end to a weird and wonderful superhero saga.  It is definitely more emotionally involved than expected but there’s one thing for sure, if space is as colorful as in this movie, we will all sign-up for the Space Force.  This one is not a knock-out, but it is definitely one of the best recent Marvel experiences.

Grade:  B