HomeReviews3.5/5 ReviewGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 - Film Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 – Film Review

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guardians of the galaxy vol 3 film review
guardians of the galaxy vol 3 film review

The A-holes are back. The timing couldn’t be better: since the release of Guardians of the Guardians Vol. 2, we’ve seen the spectacular end of Phase Three with the Infinity Saga, only to experience the drudgery of Phase Four. At least in our view, it’s been aimless, it’s been overstuffed, and it’s been a bit drab really. Only a handful of films or TV series have justified their existence and we can feel our enthusiasm drift out of the window like Thanos dust. 

That’s without mentioning the controversies surrounding individual actors, the general nosedive in terms of box office, and the conversations around superhero fatigue. Marvel aren’t in the unimpeachable position that they once were. They need something – anything – to turn it around before things get a bit DC (they’re not quite there yet). Which is why that timing couldn’t have been better. Drax, Starlord, Rocket, Nebula, Groot and Gamora: Marvel needs you. 

Not that they were a dead-cert for that job. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was kind of, sort of okay. If it wasn’t for the natural camaraderie of the team, we wonder whether it would have fallen apart. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, then, still represented something of a risk.

We should never have doubted them. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 may be a little overstuffed (it’s not immune to that particular Marvel disease), and it includes at least one character that we would have happily jettisoned, but it is very much a return to form for both the series and Marvel. We breathe out an audible sigh of relief. 

Things kick off in an uncharacteristically maudlin fashion. Starlord is (understandably) bummed because the love of his life, Gamora, is not the one from his timeline, and therefore doesn’t have a clue who he is, or why she should possibly find his roguishness charming. She’s off with the Reapers, and he’s drinking himself into a stupor each night. 

Unfortunately, it’s on the night of one of these benders that Adam Warlock, a gold-plated superhero, crashes into Knowhere to steal Rocket the Raccoon for reasons unKnown. In the melee, Adam Warlock is turned away by the Guardians, but not without Rocket sustaining a fatal injury. He’s going to die unless the team can find a vital piece of his inner workings. This creates the fun outline of a heist, as the Guardians need to steal from the very person who wanted Rocket in the first place. 

That person is the High Evolutionary, a kind of genetic superbrain who is determined to create the perfect lifeform. Rocket was a speedbump on the way to achieving that vision, but – as it turned out – he was a rather essential speedbump, and the Evolutionary wants him back. We get to watch the journey to today in the form of flashbacks, as baby Rocket becomes adult Rocket and makes some friends along the way. 

There is a very good reason that these sections of the film have bubbled up into memes and the discourse around the movie. They’re absolutely brilliant: far and away the best parts of the movie, and they become the beating, emotional heart that keeps the blood flowing in the lesser parts of the movie. 

The High Evolutionary, for one, is a top-drawer Marvel villain. Chukwudi Iwuji plays him with a withering impatience, but also a burning sense of threat and intelligence. He’s not a black-and-white villain, nor is he one with a too empathetic cause. He’s believable but also terrifying, and that’s exactly what the movie needs.

But these scenes are all Rocket’s. Who knew that we needed a deep origin story for the little trash-panda? In all honesty, the explorations of Rocket in the first two movies were puddle deep, no matter how cool he was in them, and James Gunn knows this. He forms a ragtag group of friends for Rocket that are painfully adorable, and you will want to adopt them immediately. Seeing their story develop – and how that story leads to Rocket being a Guardian – forms some of the most emotionally raw moments in the Marvel canon so far. 

It’s not that the rest of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is poor, but it stumbles in comparison. The Guardians do what they always do: they bicker, they goof, and the original, simpler quest becomes a globetrotting superquest. Much like in the other film that we reviewed this week, Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves, the anti-heroes can’t help giving into their better nature and doing the right thing. The heist becomes a battle to save (a) world. 

It’s just a little flabby, is all. Adam Warlock, an example of genetic perfection from the hands of the High Evolutionary is possibly too goofball for a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, which is saying something. He’s an oaf who’s hard to love, and we’re not sure if we were meant to love him at all. 

Heists descend into slapstick, and that slapstick can be a little hit and miss. For once, Drax isn’t the best character in a Guardians movie, and his antics landed least well with us. When the Guardians are all bumbling around like the Three Stooges, making the situation worse through their incompetence, blind love, stupidity and others, you often just want to shake them so that the plot can move on. 

But even when we were tutting at Adam Warlock or checking our watch, there was a central core that acted like a gravitational well, keeping us invested in the movie. And that’s the bunch of A-holes themselves. As a group of characters and actors, they are simply too much fun to be around. It’s too easy to see through their various facades and check out the goodness within. 

Will we get to see them again, in this permutation? It’s unlikely. It’s a sad thought, niggling away at us as we write the review: we didn’t think we would miss them quite this much. So, cherish Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. It may not be the tightest, most streamlined of movies, but it’s a movie spent with friends.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Who knew that we needed a Rocket-centred movie?
  • Flashbacks are brutal
  • Hilarious set pieces
  • High Evolutionary is top-drawer villainry
Cons:
  • Adam Warlock, however, is lower-drawer
  • Feels occasionally overlong and underbaked
Info:
  • Purchased by TXH
  • Running time and release date - 2hr 30mins | 2023
  • To rent/buy - £no rent/£9.99 SD, £13.99HD/UHD

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Sandra
Sandra
1 year ago

Vol. 3 is a disappointment, I love Volumes 1 and 2 but will never watch 3 again, what happened with the music James Gunn, if it’s not broke don’t fix it!!!!!!

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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Who knew that we needed a Rocket-centred movie?</li> <li>Flashbacks are brutal</li> <li>Hilarious set pieces</li> <li>High Evolutionary is top-drawer villainry</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Adam Warlock, however, is lower-drawer</li> <li>Feels occasionally overlong and underbaked</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Purchased by TXH</li> <li>Running time and release date - 2hr 30mins | 2023 <li>To rent/buy - £no rent/£9.99 SD, £13.99HD/UHD</li> </ul>Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 - Film Review
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