Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
James Gunn delivers one last fun & emotional ride, with these beloved characters. This is an improvement to the lacklustre MCU material we obtained since No Way Home!
Genre: Action / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
Director: James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Chukwudi Iwuji, Zoe Saldana, Maria Bakalova, Will Poulter & Sean Gunn.
Run Time: 150 min.
US Release: 05 May 2023
UK Release: 03 May 2023
German Release: 03 May 2023
May is kicking off positively for Marvel Studios! After the infuriatingly subpar Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania, the terrible She-Hulk series and the alright Black Panther sequel, which was only saved due to the bitter-sweet tribute to Chadwick Boseman and the role he embodied as King T’Challa, I was unsure of what to expect from this third part. Luckily, director James Gunn brought his A-game to work, giving us one of the best send-offs for this loveable group of misfits. So hold on to your seats, as we warp through my review for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3!
The script is among one of the film's strongest aspects, with Rocket being the front centre of the narrative. Right from the beginning, Gunn sets the tone of the story as being the most emotional out of the trilogy, exploring Rocket’s past. The plot contains some of the most heartbreaking revelations, concerning the talking racoon’s history, which explains his behaviour within the group. It also takes gambles by making sacrifices, though maybe not in the way as is suggested in the trailers.
Further, the humour is finely tuned, balancing out well with dramatic aspects. At no time did a joke break the atmosphere of a tense or heartbreaking moment. It is also surprisingly dark for a Marvel entity, containing some hard-to-diggest animal cruelty segments, so be warned!
Having said that, as great as the screenplay is, it contains one major flaw: It is massively packed! Too much happening in too many side plots makes it hard to focus on the main account. The connection between the High Evolutionary and the Sovereigns is unnecessary, as is the inclusion of Adam Warlock, who doesn’t get enough screen time for a new character. Then we have the new recruits Cosmo plus Kraglin, who stay behind in Knowhere taking even more focus away from the main story.
The dialogue lines are surprisingly sombre plus mature, compared to previous Marvel blockbusters, containing a lot of raw emotions. In another surprising twist, the humour, while still existent, has been dialled down, using jokes only when suitable. The use of profane language has also been dialled up.
The progression of characters is among the best, not alone due to the fantastic acting of the cast. The director managed to take certain characters to sentimental places where audiences never saw them before, playing around with the team dynamic due to Gamora’s outcome at the end of Avengers 3.
Chris Pratt portrays once again Peter Quill - a.k.a. Star-Lord - and the captain of the Guardians, yet takes a backseat when it comes to the plot. Heartbroken over the loss of his love Gamora, his drive is to succeed in his current mission, to save the life of a fellow team member. Zoe Saldana returns as a variant of Gamora. Fearing that specific romantic steps between the two might be retreaded, it was refreshing to see their relationship go down a completely unusual direction, as Saldana explored a different angle to her persona. Finally, Karen Gillian playing Nebula obtains more character development thanks to larger screen time.
Rocket, voiced once again by Bradley Cooper, is the main character. Something happens during the introductory sequence that forces the talking raccoon to confront his heartbreaking past! Cooper did a fantastic job at conveying emotions! Chukwudi Iwuji introduced as the High Evolutionary, is one of the few memorable villains inside the MCU, but turns a little cartoonish towards the end.
Pom Klementieff’s performance as Mantis is great, as is Dave Bautista as Drax. Both take a backseat again, however, compared to Volumes 1 and 2, their character development from the Christmas Special is explored further.
The biggest disappointment is Will Poulter as Adam Warlock, who is largely wasted. The character comes off as a childish buffoon, without obtaining the focus he deserves, especially when compared to whom he is in the comics.
Cinematographically, GotG 3 is a real treat to look at thanks to great choreographies, as well as different camera techniques, just like combining practical with computer effects. The ambience is much darker using graphic imagery, which though not gory, does make use of surprisingly splattery scenes, unusual for an MCU blockbuster. The marvellous action sequence taking place in a hallway comes close to rivalling the quality of the hallway fight of the first Netflix Daredevil season. In short, the camera and effects are great!
The soundtrack is infused again with a lot of popular songs from the 60s, 70, 80s, as well as 90s. Especially the opening credits, with Rocket walking through Knowhere, listening to Radiohead’s “Creep”, had a lasting effect!
Verdict: Honestly, GotG 3 should have probably been released far earlier, however, with the whole drama at Disney, plus the pandemic, it is clear why it took as long as it did. As such, it is even more impressive that James Gunn created his perfect MCU farewell, which also serves as an exit point for these characters, or at least the constellation of this team. The screenplay picks up on important topics such as animal cruelty, yet crams so many side stories in two-and-a-half hours, that a lot of it is forgotten once one leaves the cinema. The humour is reduced but the movie is still funny enough, while darker narrative elements are highlighted to create a more sentimental and mature tale. The complete cast is amazing, giving it their all! Most impressive is Bradley Cooper, who voices Rocket, the main star in this third part. Still, Chris Pratt is equally as good as Star-Lord, Karen Gillian’s Nebula obtains well-deserved attention, and Zoe Saldana gives Gamora a fun twist. The cinematography is brilliant, the effects look good and the music is as electric as ever. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is great with a couple of flaws, deserving a 9.0 out of 10.
Have you seen Guardians 3 yet? Do you agree with my review? Leave a comment below & let me know! Thank you as always for reading!