Saturday, May 6

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Dir: James Gunn

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper

2h 30m

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has its fair share of inspiring champions who perform superhuman feats. And they also have the Guardians of the Galaxy, a ragtag group of oddball personalities who may not have the flash and flare of their counterparts in the Marvel Universe, but, what separates and stands them shoulder-to-shoulder with other heroes, is the huge heart and humor they bring with their heroics. Director James Gunn completes his Marvel trilogy with "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3", crafting a fitting finale for an unlikely family of heroes.

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" continues its exploration of its eccentric characters, delving deeper into the specifics that have brought each character to the current moment, ultimately motivation, in time. Where the first and second films began with lively, musically driven introductions, "Vol. 3" takes a decidedly different, darker tone with its beginnings. This film is about Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and the bleak trauma experienced as an experiment of the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), a villain playing god to create a perfect society. The High Evolutionary is a well-conceived menace who exerts threatening power throughout the film, and actor Chukwudi Iwuji is exceptional in the role. 

Rocket is seriously injured after an attack on the mobile home planet of Knowhere by a cosmic golden being named Adam Warlock (Will Poulter). While the other Guardians search to find a cure for Rocket's unique physically altered composition, the Guardian raccoon teeters between life and death. Through flashbacks, Rocket's origin story unfolds. It's emotional and affecting, a rare quality for the Marvel storylines of recent. Gunn does a great job of emphasizing the qualities that make the Guardians unique among the Marvel characters. The unconventional designs for locations and character creations that utilize practical effects instead of CGI, the composition of multilayered characters who consistently exceed expectations with their humanity, and that James Gunn quality of humor that can be deadpan, silly, or simply slapstick, it's the defining characteristics that have always made these films feel distinct and unique.

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" suffers in moments with weaving too many storylines and characters into the mix, which stalls its momentum and leaves characters in places where they don't have much to do. However, each character is allowed a moment to shine throughout the film. Gunn creates a detached dynamic for the Guardians from the film's beginning. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) struggles over the loss of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the group camaraderie feels non-existent, and there is a consistent feeling that the Guardians may be going in separate directions. It's a nice place to start a story for a final installment. While the film struggles to service its overstuffed story, writer/director James Gunn rarely misses a step in delivering what Marvel fans have grown to love from these characters.

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" is a fond farewell that is both emotional and fun. James Gunn composes a film that continues to implement its unique spin on the Marvel cinematic formula of hero storytelling while demonstrating his professional skillset as one of the best world-building storytellers working in movies.

Monte's Rating

3.50 out of 5.00

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