The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the final installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy.
But over 30 movies into the MCU, many fans are feeling “superhero fatigue” and disillusionment with the direction of the genre.
Does the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie recapture the magic of earlier films? Here’s my review…
What is the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 about?
The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame and the Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas Special.
The team is still dealing with the fallout of Gamora’s death in Avengers: Infinity War, when her adoptive father Thanos sacrificed her for the Soul Stone.
While a time-displaced Gamora exists in the current MCU timeline, she does not have the memories of her future self and is in essence a different person.
While still reeling from Gamora’s loss, Rocket’s past forces the team to reunite to face stakes that feel higher than ever.
A sound successor to the series
The third Guardians of the Galaxy movie recaptures what made the first movies so special.
This includes their unique brand of humor mixed in with the action, a prominent and nostalgic soundtrack, and the offbeat antics of the characters.
Some of the humor is dialed back compared to Vol 2, where jokes could undermine serious scenes. Vol 3 does a better balancing act of humor and drama, especially with a plot line as tense and filled with emotion as this one.
It manages to encapsulate everything that has made James Gunn’s films so vital to the MCU, while exploring characters in more depth than ever before.
The stakes are personal
Many fans are tired of innumerable world-ending threats popping up so often in MCU films. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 strays from this formula to make the stakes deeply personal.
This helps get viewers invested in the story, because the threat is not abstract or difficult to comprehend. It’s not a celestial, a mad Titan, or a multiversal threat. Rather, it’s a danger that speaks to the heart of the team itself.
Rocket’s past is fleshed out more than ever before through flashbacks. And thanks to showing us rather than just telling us about his past, the emotional weight of pivotal moments is fully realized.
The way the story is told, and its personal focus, means that the film also delivers some emotional gut punches. This makes the characters feel more tangible and three-dimensional and no one’s fate feels secure.
This means that despite the on-brand humour and campy antics of the film, the themes of loss and found family are more impactful than ever.
Every character has a purpose
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 has a lot of characters. Not only has the team welcomed Kraglin and Cosmo, but there are multiple antagonists and plot points to follow.
Despite this full roster, each character fulfills a purpose. Each is given important plot roles, even when relegated to the sideline.
In terms of antagonists, both Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) and the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) establish strong presences and memorable performances.
Gamora (Zoe Saldana) no longer has her arc portrayed as simply a potential love interest for Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), and Nebula (Karen Gillan) gets to flex her muscles as a pivotal part of the team.
Their quirks, their dynamics, and the interplay of their different relationships makes for a winning formula. Even Drax (Dave Bautista) gets to enjoy some rarely seen character growth.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 review verdict: Is it worth watching?
The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is a refreshing addition to the MCU, recapturing the magic of earlier films while improving upon the successful formula.
Our loveable misfits are more three-dimensional than ever, and the focus on other characters gives room for some of our favourites to truly shine.
The stakes feel higher than ever purely due to the emotional resonance of the plot. And the film delivers a worthy successor to previous films, giving us an emotional and grounded end to the trilogy.
Image credits: Marvel