Volume 3 is truly a riotous send off and one the Guardians of the Galaxy truly deserve.
BY ALEX GILSTON MAY 3, 2023
The galaxy’s finest brand of misfits - as we know it - return for one more go around the old block. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 takes everything we love from the first two films and spins it into an ode for some of the very best Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) characters.
When Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) is sent to capture Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper, and Sean Gunn!) on Knowhere - the planet sized community inside a dead gods head - the Guardians are forced into a rescue mission for their closest friend. In their way is The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), a man not so different from Thanos in that he wants to perfect the Universe how he sees fit, and his army of experiments. The Guardians and everyone they know must band together to save Rocket and stop The High Evolutionary from causing any more harm. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 is a welcome change of focus for the series as James Gunn shines a light on Rocket and delves into his origins; not only that though, there is a bigger emphasis on the group as a whole opposed to it being the Star-Lord show.
As part of their mission, Nebula (Karen Gillan) enlists the help of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) - not the one we know but the Endgame timey-wimey version of her - to get them into the headquarters of The High Evolutionary’s company. The space station is made out of organic matter so the outside is a bulbous cell. The Guardians breach the station from it’s gelatinous surface in a colourfully icky sequence that fits right into a Guardians film. With the reintroduction of Gamora, James Gunn could have gone down an easy route with her and Star-Lord. Thankfully, however, he doesn’t.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 has a certain finality to it; albeit the kind of finality that comes with a film set in an ever expanding, ever continuing, cinematic universe. It’s still certainly a farewell tour though, as all of the members of the team get their shining moment. They’re a dysfunctional bunch but it’s about them using that and each other to flourish.
The major pull of the Guardians films has always been the ensemble, and they’re all at their level best in Vol.3. Dave Bautista’s Drax is as silly as ever, cracking more one liners per minute than he ever has done. He’s more often than not felt like the butt of the joke in the MCU, but beyond the jokes and his propensity to kill things there’s a tenderness about him that makes him one of the most lovable characters. Nebula, Mantis, and Kraglin also have similar journeys in finding out who they are and where they fit in. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) comes full circle from the first Guardians.
Rocket is brought to the forefront. His backstory is presented in flashbacks showing how he was made. On his path to the perfect utopia, The High Evolutionary experimented on animals from Earth. Rocket was part of batch 89 of his tests, a group of animals with different modifications. A rabbit with spider legs, a walrus with wheels, and an otter with robotic arms. Rocket finds solace in his similarily doomed friends. The emotional weight of the film lies in these flashbacks, getting to know these characters, and in turn learning why Rocket is the way he is. It’s also the most brutal the MCU has ever been, with a whole host of animals reduced to the toys of a maniac. There is hope to be found among the horrid nature of this story however. Rocket confronting his past not only sets him free but a lot of other furry friends too.
This is likely the last time we’re going to see the Guardians of the Galaxy in this iteration; again we will see some of these characters again simply due to the nature of the MCU. It’s truly a riotous send off and one the Guardians truly deserve. It’s also a send off for James Gunn who sets his sights to DC Studios for the foreseeable future, and it has to be said that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 is Gunn’s fond farewell to the MCU.