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Guardians of the Galaxy may be a rocky and exhaustive journey, but its heart in Rocket provides a fitting end to Marvel’s gang of misfits.


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Director(s) James Gunn
Screenplay By James Gunn
Based On The Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Comics
Date Released (In Theaters) May 5th, 2023
Genre(s) Action

Adventure

Duration 2 hrs, 30 minutes
Content Rating PG-13
Noted Cast
Peter Quill/Starlord Chris Pratt
Gamora Zoe Saldana
Rocket Bradley Cooper
Mantis Pom Klementieff
Drax Dave Bautista
Nebula Karen Gillan
Groot Vin Diesel
High Evolutionary Chukwudi Iwuji
Adam Warlock Will Poulter

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links which, if a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

Film Summary

The Guardians of the Galaxy are the punk kids of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They’re subversive, contradictory, and can be equally charming and annoying with their ceaseless bickering. Writer and director James Gunn has a clear love for his cast of misfits. In a sea of non-stop CGI with cut-and-paste invincible superheroes, the Guardians feel like family.

At the same time, the Guardians of the Galaxy can be critiqued as the main influence behind Marvel’s current non-stop jokey characters, blasting nostalgia pop soundtrack, emotionally stunted heroes, and obsession with a candy ball color scheme. James Gunn has a signature voice, but once an audience is oversaturated with that voice, it becomes stale.

So what’s a third movie to do when it all feels done before?

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 peeks into the heart of the most crass, calloused, and cute character: Rocket the raccoon. The film begins with a somber introduction to our heroes as an acoustic version of Radiohead’s “Creep” plays. The opening suggests that this is a different adventure, potentially darker and more reflective, and, as Gunn and many cast members suggested, an end for the Guardians.

Peter Quill is a mess without Gamora. Mantis, Drax, and Nebula fight and bicker like children without Peter as their leader. The only one trying to keep everything in order is Rocket. But that’s put to the test when Adam Warlock comes shooting down from space to capture Rocket and kill anyone in his way. While Warlock doesn’t capture Rocket, he severely wounds him to the point where he may die.

Peter Quill sobers up and gathers the gang together to find a way to save Rocket, Peter’s best friend (or second best friend, according to Drax). In a series of flashbacks and detective work from the Guardians, their rescue mission takes them further into Rocket’s tragic origins and their true antagonist: the High Evolutionary. Rocket’s creator is a man bent on being God, creating and destroying life until he creates the perfect species. The Guardians must unite with old friends and new enemies to find a way to save Rocket and stop the High Evolutionary.

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Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel)

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is most exciting when taking dark risks in story and imagery, but the screaming characters and blaring songs now feel like an obligation. While what made the first movie refreshing is now a chore, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” gives its characters closure in a way rarely seen in Marvel movies.

Things To Note

Why Is “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” Rated PG-13

  • Dialogue: Moderate but strong, especially for a Marvel movie.
  • Violence: Animal torture, galactic shootouts, and some bloody scenes throughout.
  • Sexual Content: N/A
  • Miscellaneous: N/A

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Peter Quill/Starlord:

A charming rogue leader who’s still recovering from the loss of his love, Gamora. Peter is currently experiencing an identity crisis while trying to help his friend.

Gamora:

A highly skilled assassin who has joined the Ravagers. While a past version of Gamora loved Peter, this version has no memory of being part of the Guardians or fondness for Peter.

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Peter (Christ Pratt) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) reunited.

Rocket:

A tech-savvy and gun-wielding raccoon who the High Evolutionary genetically engineered. As Rocket’s life is in danger, we see more of his past and how he came to be.

Mantis:

Peter’s half-sister and a Guardian member with the ability to change people’s emotions. Mantis usually has empathy for all but is a scrappy fighter when pushed.

Drax:

A  skilled fighter whose family was murdered, Drax has now found a new family in the Guardians. Yet Drax is stubborn and commonly follows his own wants.

Nebula:

Gamora’s sister, who was also trained to be an assassin, Nebula eventually becomes a protector of the needy and a Guardian as well.

Groot:

A tree-like creature with the ability to grow in strength and length whenever needed.

High Evolutionary:

A cruel scientist and merciless creator of hybrid animal creatures, the High Evolutionary seeks to make the perfect species but believes he needs Rocket’s brain to do so.

Adam Warlock:

Warlock is new to the world and still grasping language and morality, but his sole mission is to find Rocket and return him to the High Evolutionary to prevent his mother’s death. 

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Will Poulter as Adam Warlock.

Review

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing) 

Notable Performances or Moments

Rocket’s Flashbacks

Rocket’s backstory is dark, horrifying, and often tragic. But within Rocket’s origins is something Marvel rarely touches upon: how trauma shapes someone. Rocket’s story provides a dreadful yet riveting narrative of the wise-cracking hero, and his Hot Topic-assemble of genetically mutated friends provides heart in the middle of pretty fights and explosions.

Highlights

The Guardians of the Galaxy Remain Weird and Aesthetically Outstanding

Gunn commits to pushing the boundaries of narrative and character development for the scrappy Guardians, and by doing so, he offers something different from the underwhelming “Thor,” “Ant-Man,” and “Dr. Strange” sequels. These characters are still deeply flawed and risk doing the wrong thing. Gunn’s rainbow explosion of color remains strong in this sequel, but the special effects detail and care make “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” a feast for the eyes.

Proper Closure for the Characters

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 does not hint at future trouble, nor is there a cameo of a continued adventure. Thankfully, the story is protected from other Marvel IPs and gives the Guardians a proper send-off. Unlike other Marvel movies, this feels like an end, fitting for the gang of outcasts.

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A young Rocket in captivity.

On The Fence

The Story’s Momentum Stalls Throughout

Halfway through the film, there’s a scene of Starlord trying to drive a car. As he starts and stops, it becomes an unfortunate metaphor for the film’s energy. No amount of hit songs can compensate for transitions that seem to drag from one location to the next. The audience now expects the Guardians to mess up and have a petty argument, which is difficult to be entertained by and instead feels like a long road trip with family.

Many Characters Feel Flat or Underused

With a cast of 12 rotating characters, many are used to make quips in the background. While Drax, Mantis, and Groot are underused, the most disappointing introduction is Adam Warlock. Warlock, while marketed as a movie villain and known to be a powerful figure in the comics, is essentially a constant bumbling punchline in the movie. Yet by the end, these characters are each given one last chance to shine.

[ninja_tables id=”46802″]

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023) – Movie Review
Overall
Viewers unfamiliar to Marvel will be absolutely lost in this story, but you still may be taken away with the gorgeous special effects, action, and story of Rocket the raccoon.
Highlights
The Guardians of the Galaxy Characters and World Remains Aesthetically Weird
Fitting Closure for Characters
Disputable
The Story's Momentum Stalls
Many Characters are Underused
80

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