The final chapter of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy marks James Gunn’s last hurrah in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s hard to believe that James Gunn was almost not the writer/director to end the epic saga, as it’s impossible to imagine anyone else behind the lens of a Guardians movie.
After an initial Disneyland premiere at the end of April, the highly anticipated film got its worldwide cinematic release over the weekend as the second full feature in Marvel’s Phase Five, commonly known as The Multiverse Saga.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 review
Written and directed by Gunn, who was also behind the previous two Guardians films, Vol. 3 has Chris Pratt reprising his role as Peter Quill, also known Star-Lord, Dave Bautista as the warrior Drax the Destroyer, Vin Diesel as the adorable Groot, Bradley Cooper as the “not a raccoon,” Rocket Raccoon, Karen Gillan as Nebula, and Pom Klementieff as Mantis. You might remember Thanos killing Zoe Saldana’s Gamora in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. However, a version of the character that has no feelings for Peter or any loyalty to the group at first is part of this movie. For the bereft Star-Lord, this further complicates his already difficult grieving process.
However, Peter Quill isn’t the film’s focus. Sure, at the start, he’s mourning the death of his beloved Gamora and moved to a planet suitable named Knowhere with the rest of the Guardians. But when Rocket is seriously injured after an attack, Quill and the rest of the Guardians make it their mission to explore the cynical Raccoon’s backstory and find a way to save his life.
The mission leads them to the High Evolutionary, a mad scientist who made poor Rocket sentient and exacted cruel experiments on him when he was only a raccoon pup. He wants to create Counter-Earth, a better, less crime-filled version of our planet. Rocket just about escaped with his life, but unfortunately, his ordeal left him with an unwanted souvenir – a kill switch.
Since the Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1 movie first dropped back in 2014, the badly-tempered yet witty Rocket quickly became a fan favourite. After all, how could we not love a smart-mouthed raccoon that passionately denies being a… well, a raccoon. So it made sense for the film to shift its focus away from the Peter/Gamora stories and centre on him. Saying this about a furry CGI animal might be a bit strange, but the film under Gunn’s direction does a great job of humanizing Rocket and giving him a level of depth we’ve yet to see with this character.
Is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 worth the entry price?
The final chapter in the trilogy is about a lot more than Rocket facing his traumatic past. It shows how far this group of misfits has come and how devoted they are to each other despite everything they’ve been through. At its core, this story about the power of true friendship offers an emotional yet satisfying conclusion to a much-beloved saga.
This is probably one of the best Marvel movies in the past decade. The stakes aren’t ridiculous (no one is trying to save the entire Universe here), and the focus is on the Guardian’s chosen family and how far they’re all willing to go for each other. As you’d expect from a bonafide MCU entry, there’s brilliant cinematography, action-packed sequences, and hilarious moments. But most importantly, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has a lot of heart.
Will Marvel eventually make more Guardians of the Galaxy films past Vol 3? That’s hard to tell. Will these beloved characters make appearances in future MCU movies? Yes. But right now, we’re saying goodbye to the crew as we know it. And as far as final acts go, this one is as epic as they come.
Lori C. is an entertainment writer who studied Film and Television at University. She watches and reviews films and series from most genres, but some of her favourites include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld, and True Blood.