- Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan
- James Gunn
- Action, Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi, Superhero
- Release Date
- May 5, 2023
As a study in screen writing, it’s a bit of a mess. However, as a piece of pure entertainment, Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3 is a mostly satisfying conclusion for the characters that we’ve come to know and enjoy since the summer of 2014.
Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3
Set 2 to 3 years after the events of Avengers: Endgame, and a few months after the Christmas Special, Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3 chronicles the final adventure of Peter, Rocket, Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Nebula, and it does it with style. Once again, James Gunn proves that he has the creative vision to combine fantastical elements like a giant dead god’s skull in space that is now a home to hundreds and thousands of aliens, and he can do it with heart.
Guardians isn’t a perfect movie, often relying on expedient coincidence, magic techno-MacGuffins, and convenienty forgotten abilities to move the story forward in lieu of something less contrived and more thoughtful, but it does it with such aplomb that it’s hard to fault it. Sure Drax and Mantis just so happen to make a decision that just so happens to get them to the next set piece just in time, but the plucky dialogue and amazing chemistry between the leads more than makes up for any lack in logic.
Once again everyone in the main cast is perfectly invested in every over the top and ridiculous moment. Chris Pratt could charisma his was through Peter Quill with one blaster behind his back, while Batista, Saldana, et al squeeze every bit of sincerity and charm out of lines that most wouldn’t be able to say with a straight face. Moreover, they do it while dressed in ridiculous costumes and under pounds of prosthetics and makeup.
In what is another boon for the film and unlike virtually every Marvel movie and series, Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3 doesn’t rely on a villain that is the dark copy of the protagonists. Instead, the primary plot is driven by the Guardians’ need to beat the clock and save their friend, and the villain, played to over-the-top mustache-twirling perfection by Chukwudi Iwuji, serves to throw barriers in the heroes’ way.
All of this is brought together by the schmaltzy-yet-touching flashbacks to Rocket’s origin. The animation, the voice-acting, and the general conflict mix together in such a way, that only those with hearts of stone won’t be a little moved (I mean baby raccoons looking sad). Add to this, The Guardians dogged and ardent pursuit of a way to save one of their own, and you’ve got a winning formula.
Of course there are some moments in which the shear onslaught of new and legacy characters can be a bit overwhelming, and as a result many of the secondary characters get lost in the mix. Furthermore, and in what is the film’s biggest failing, Gunn and company have no idea what to do with Post-Endgame Gamora, and she is relegated to the status of underused secondary character.
This is to say nothing of the inundation of underdeveloped subplots, yet Gunn and company manages to keep the pacing up and the interruptions from the Disney-mandated-introduction-to-the-next-Marvel-product to a minimum. By the same token, the action is so frenetic that in less capable hands, it would be impossible to know what was going on, however Gunn manages to perform some magic and your attention never strays from where it’s supposed to be.
Unfortunately, as a result of too many underdeveloped subplots and a bloated secondary cast, the film’s conclusion feels unearned. Although there are some attempts to foreshadow the events leading up to it, they feel artificial and unnaturally inserted as afterthoughts. That being said, thanks to a killer soundtrack (though not as good as the first two), a healthy dose of childish humor, and loads of chemistry and charm none of this detracts too much from the overall film (as long as you don’t ask too many questions), and what we are left with is a fun adventure that asks little from its audience. Now, let’s see what Gunn can do with Superman.
There is a case to be made that the men often get dunked on by a snarky Nebula and Gamora but everyone gives as good as they get. The cast does a such a wonderful job of portraying what seems like genuine affection for one another that the bickering always feels more like that between brothers and sisters than that of a superior douché of a woman to a caricature of a man. Moreover, the men are allowed to shine as often, if not more often than the women, and everyone has fairly equal footing.
See Leftist douché nozzles, I have no problem with strong female characters when they aren’t written at the expense of the male leads for the sake of identity politics.
James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.