Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 Review- A Dark and Bittersweet 3rd Installment of this Rag Tag Group of Weirdos

The Guardians of the Galaxy have had an interesting journey in their MCU careers. From a group of characters, most people didn’t know about to one of the most anticipated films of the year. The MCU films haven’t been on a good streak lately but this one has the right mix of what fans have come to know about these characters and what James Gunn has given audiences in the past. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3  is a jumbled bag of good and not-so-good.

The Guardians have bought Knowhere and made it their home. They all seem to be doing fine except for Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) who has a melancholy attitude about himself. He’s been drinking a lot and because of this he wasn’t prepared for an attack by a gold-clad warrior Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) This man is looking for revenge for his people the Sovereign but he’s also working for The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwugi) who wants Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) because he may help him with his the new species he’s trying to create. 

Rocket and The High Evolutionary have a history together. With this man experimenting on all kinds of species he used a bunch of earth animals and Rocket was part of a batch of animals that he made into twisted versions of beautiful creatures like a rabbit, a walrus, and an otter, named Liela, who befriends Rocket while they were in prison as captures of this man. He is known as species 89P13. Gunn made this part of the film as a flashback to give context to the Rocket character. He is going through a difficult time in the main story as well as he’s fighting for his life. 

Gunn doesn’t shy away from his reputation of being weird and infusing odd elements into these films. With this Guardians have to go on a mission to save Rocket they go to an all-organic satellite which is very odd and different from what we’ve seen in the past. It’s another thing The High Evolutionary created. They also run into an old friend Gamora (Zoe Saldana) who isn’t necessarily enamored with Peter. Wherever these characters go they wreak havoc and they do just that. I love that part about these movies. They just go places I don’t expect. Throw in the dynamic between Peter and Gamora and it’s pretty funny and crazy. 

Another reason I love these films is the chemistry between the cast. You can tell these actors have worked together for a while. They have a great dynamic with each other. The humor just flows off of that.  They all have room to expand their characters but do it genuinely. Dave Bautista still has that straight-man routine going on with his character Drax, but he just makes me laugh. His banter with Pom Klementieff as Mantis is so funny. These two just work so well together. Throw in the serious nature of Karen Guillen as Nebula and Vin Diesel as Groot and it’s just a fun group to watch from film to film.

With all the comedy and fun and awkward moments, there are also a lot of darker moments. Even the look of the movie looks darker. When you’re dealing with experimenting on animals and people and making twisted versions of all these species you know you’re dealing with some dark elements. Gunn has said this was going to be a darker story and he wasn’t wrong. Throw in the evil maniacal villains like The High Evolutionary and Adam Warlock and the Sovereign and it’s as dark as he has gone in this trilogy. 

This movie is a little bittersweet for me though because I love these characters so much. It’s no secret that this is the last time we’re going to see James Gunn direct an MCU movie and specifically these characters he’s made so indelic. They’ve become such a part of our MCU-going experience and it’s going to be hard not the see this incarnation of this ragtag group of weirdos anymore. Over the years they’ve all had the room to breathe and expand their characters. This is the perfect conclusion to The Guardians of the Galaxy as we know them. I was a bit sad when this movie came to an end. I wanted another two and a half hours of all of this weirdness and craziness. Gunn and crew went out on a high note and they all should be proud of what they’ve accomplished over the last decade or so.

3 ½ stars 

Dan Skip Allen

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