Marvel’s ragtag group of space heroes are back for one last adventure. So grab your walkman, and turn it up to 11!
When the first Guardians film was released in 2014, not many could’ve predicted what a success it would become. With James Gunn at the helm it soon became one of the most beloved film arcs within the MCU. It was the first time I would say we got proper comedy and slapstick humour, mixed with a glam/space vibe. The third film is to be the conclusion of this series, so I went in with a sense of trepidation as to what I would see… mainly due to the frankly lacklustre Marvel showings of late.
I am relieved to say that I was not disappointed.
The film has so much heart and emotion to it that it was the perfect way to wrap up this particular storyline for these characters. I won’t reveal any spoilers but there are some ‘gut punch’ moments that only a Guardian’s film can deliver (next to Endgame). For a film series so rooted in comedy, it was a pleasant surprise to see it combine well with sadness, grief and desperation.
The film centres around Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), who has always been somewhat of a side character after Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) but when you look back across the films, you realise he is a sort of connective tissue throughout the trilogy. After Rocket is mortally wounded, the Guardians are in a race against time to save him. This takes them into his past (not literally of course, but that is possible in the MCU) and gives us a disturbing look into his early life . This second story line (told almost entirely in flashbacks) is perhaps one of the most poignant arcs in an MCU film I’ve seen in years. There is so much weight to it that really gets under your skin.
The comedy does return though with Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) following on from the holiday special which only enhanced their comedic partnership. It is with these two that we get some genuine laugh out loud moments. Most notably in one specific scene when Mantis uses her powers to make a security guard fall hopelessly in love with Drax.
There is also the unfinished story with Peter Quill and Gamora (Zoe Saldana). Following on from ‘his’ Gamora dying at the hand of Thanos in Infinity War. This ‘new’ Gamora from an older timeline isn’t the one he lost and Peter is finding it incredibly difficult to cope with having the woman he loved not reciprocate his feelings.
There is one character who I did feel was underused… Adam Warlock played by Will Poulter, who was created by the ‘The Sovereign’ to take out the Guardians (He was originally teased in a post-credit sequence way back in 2017 after the second Guardians film). He is in the film only briefly and doesn’t quite reflect his comic book character’s extreme power. Poulter however, does a good job and I hope we see him return for more adventures going forward!
Whilst all these stories are intertwining the big bad for this film, The High Evolutionary played by Chukwudi Iwuj, who we find is the one who created Rocket. The High Evolutionary is eager to recapture his lost creation, as he holds the key to creating the ‘perfect’ society. The character really has a level of psychotic/sadistic threatening presence that I would say is new for Marvel. His obsessive pursuit of perfection highlights a real world issue of animal testing which I imagine was a link that was made on purpose by Gunn.
Just like previous films, this final instalment is full of vibrant, funky costumes, strange locations and a killer soundtrack. I think maybe the music in the first film is still the best (and most evenly placed throughout) but each track is so well chosen for its respective scene that it just fits. There is one scene at the end which is one of the best fight scenes I’ve seen in a long time, let alone in a Marvel film. It reminds me of the original Avengers film when they are all fighting together in harmony and has more than one ‘punch the air’ moment.
This film was a relief for me as recently Marvel have been on a decline I would say, with recent films just not feeling that fulfilling. GOTG Vol.3 is a real step in the right direction. The character arcs, direction, emotion and humour all tie together so well, that you can forgive some of its shortcomings, like a rather long runtime of 2 hours 30 minutes. I have a feeling we may see these characters again in some way or another but for now let’s appreciate James Gunn and his crew for doing these characters justice.
Author: Tom, Bath Store.