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'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' Review: Emotional, Satisfying Conclusion

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the third film in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and the second film of Phase Five in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This film is directed by James Gunn and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Will Poulter, and Chukwudi Iwuji. In this movie, the Guardians must save Rocket Raccoon from the High Evolutionary. This movie is also James Gunn’s last Marvel film since he is now a co-president of DC Films and is directing Superman: Legacy.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was supposed to come out at the beginning of Phase Four, but Gunn got fired back in 2018 only to get rehired in 2019. After Avengers: Endgame, Marvel has seen a decline in quality, except for a few projects. Since Spider-Man: No Way Home, there hasn’t been a Marvel movie that has been on that level. In fact, since The Batman, we haven’t gotten a great, unique comic book film. Sure, we got some good films, but nothing incredible. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 finally gives the fans what they want.

James Gunn does a perfect job of balancing out the tone of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. There is plenty of humor in this film that is hilarious. It’s also one of the darkest films in the MCU. Some scenes will make viewers feel uncomfortable, particularly the depictions of animal cruelty. This film explores the origins of Rocket Raccoon well, from how he was created, to the friends he had before meeting Groot and the other Guardians, to why he has bitterness. The flashback sequences were emotional and sometimes hard to watch due to what Rocket and the other animals went through.

Once again, the cast does a great job. Chris Pratt delivers one of his best performances as Peter Quill. Karen Gillan delivers her best performance as Nebula. Nebula’s character arc continues to grow as we see her possess the same moral compass Gamora had before she died in Avengers: Infinity War. Dave Bautista is still hilarious as Drax. Zoe Saldana once again plays Gamora, but it’s Gamora that came from 2014 in Avengers: Endgame. This Gamora has no history with the Guardians of the Galaxy and does not care for Peter Quill. Chukwudi Iwuji plays the High Evolutionary and is one of the best villains in the MCU. Unlike some of the villains that are sympathetic villains, the High Evolutionary has no sympathy, is a sick individual, and is downright evil. As far as villains in the Guardians of the Galaxy films go, he is the best. Adam Warlock is also introduced in this film, played by Will Pouter. While Poulter did well as Warlock and looked great, I wish he was used in the movie more. That is my only issue with the film. Hopefully, Marvel will use Adam Warlock more in the future.

The special effects work is the best we have seen since Avengers: Endgame. Recent Marvel films had iffy special effects, so it’s great to see the special effects are improving again. Gunn once again has a great soundtrack and score for his film. The costumes and character designs looked great. We’ve seen other Marvel films, such as Thor: Love and Thunder and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, try to replicate Gunn’s style of colorful, fun science-fiction films, but this film reminds us why Gunn still does it right, and other directors failed at it.

Viewers might be wondering if this movie helps Marvel in the long run. Personally, this made me more excited for James Gunn’s DCU than Marvel. Gunn has done six projects for both Marvel and DC. All of them have been very good to great so far. Gunn understands having a balanced tone and characters with depth to them. While there are some Marvel projects I am excited about, such as Deadpool 3 and Daredevil: Born Again, based on how some projects landed, my expectations are low for some upcoming Marvel shows and movies.

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is an emotional, satisfying conclusion to this group of Guardians of the Galaxy. While entertaining, it is also one of the darkest MCU films. The performances were some of the best in the MCU so far. High Evolutionary is the best villain in the Guardians of the Galaxy films. Adam Warlock could have been used more. It’s clear what characters are done in the MCU and what characters might return in the future.

The final grade for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is an A. This movie is top-tier Marvel, but makes fans more excited for James Gunn’s DCU.

What did you think of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3? Let us know in the comments below.

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