The Guardians of the Galaxy are among my favourite heroes in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Vol. 1 was a fantastic introduction to these characters, and I believe that Vol. 2 is one of the most underrated MCU films.
So, obviously, I was very excited to watch Vol. 3, especially because I had genuine hope that it would be better than a lot of the more recent MCU installments, which I have felt pretty lukewarm about.
I am happy to say that this hope was well founded because Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a triumphant ending for the characters we have come to know and love ever since Vol. 1, all the way back in 2014.
Directed once again by James Gunn, the movie follows Peter Quill’s Starlord (Chris Pratt), Rocket Racoon (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Deisel), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff), who are living at their home base of Knowhere.
After an attack from Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) leaves Rocket clinging to life, the Guardians must band together once more.
Seeking the help of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the group seek to track down Rocket’s creator the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), to find a way to save him.
Each of the Guardians gets their time to shine in this movie, with standout moments for each of them.
In particular it was great to see how much Nebula has changed from the first film, how the friendship between Drax and Mantis has progressed, and how different Gamora is from her future counterpart, along with how this affects her relationship with Quill.
The biggest standout of all the Guardians, however, is Rocket, with a large part of the film focusing on his backstory, with constant flashbacks.
Given the number of these flashbacks, it would have been easy for the film to feel disjointed so it is a testament to the writing and the directing that it all flows seamlessly.
It felt like Vol. 2 was slowly transitioning the main character among the Guardians from Starlord to Rocket, and Vol. 3 continues this in excellent fashion.
Rocket’s story is so good in this movie that I actually almost teared up at one point, and this was a scene with multiple CGI characters so that is saying something about the quality.
Alongside Rocket, the main villain of the High Evolutionary also stands out.
The guy is a fantastic example of how to do a purely evil villain with no redeeming qualities right.
And, hey, the High Evolutionary being so evil makes it even more satisfying when the Guardians fight his goons in numerous excellent action sequences, including a gripping one-shot corridor fight that is one of the movie’s highlight scenes.
Another thing to highlight is just how dark this movie can get at times, with a lot of cruelty to animals so there is that to be aware of.
That does not mean the film is devoid of levity; this is a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, after all.
There are plenty of feel goods moments and humor throughout.
Speaking of the humor though, I do have to say that it thankfully does not ruin any potentially emotional scenes, like it did in Quantimania and Love and Thunder.
Not everything about Vol. 3 is so great though because, if the film has one issue then it is definitely Adam Warlock.
His addition to this film honestly felt entirely unnecessary to me.
Not only could he have been any other character and the plot of the movie would not have changed, but his actions also seemed pretty contradictory at times.
It feels like James Gunn intended for him to have a big role in Vol. 3 but then he got fired and rehired and, in the time in between that, he came up with a different plot for the film but was obligated to keep Warlock in because of the Vol. 2 post credits scene.
Apart from Warlock, though, I would say that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a great film with a triumphant ending for its characters.
It is easily the best MCU film since Spider-Man: No Way Home.