Rocket and Nebula are the true stars of the series
A fun end nevertheless
Somebody please keep James Gunn away from writing
Good lord what'd they do to Adam Warlock?
This series might have been better with just one movie
Seriously, what was with all the shouting?
The promise of the Guardians of the Galaxy sub-franchise was big back in 2014. Nine years on, much of the lustre and novelty of the characters, has worn off. Unfortunately, Marvel does not seem entirely aware of this. That, or they really don’t give a damn since this is supposedly the team’s last outing (kinda).
There isn’t much to be said of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 that wasn’t already said of Vol. 2. It is certainly better, but given the very low bar the previous instalment had set, that isn’t saying much. If nothing else, Vol. 3 at least realises that what little charm the characters originally carried has mostly washed off in this post-Infinity War phase.
Indeed, the movie displays a surprising amount of maturity in dealing with individual relationships even if just about everything is predictable and somewhat tired. Unfortunately, with all of its efforts directed toward keeping the primary cast of characters interesting, the ball is drop-kicked on key characters such as the High Evolutionary, and the long-awaited Adam Warlock.
Continuing the trend of pegging epic-scale villains into single movie-sized holes, the High Evolutionary is reduced to a simplistic megalomaniac with volatile temper tantrums, and Adam Warlock is… well, let’s just say he was given the James Gunn treatment.
Sidenote: DC fans should be very wary of what’s to come. (I mean, it can’t get much worse than the Snyderverse, but the hope for Gunn’s DCU being any better feels like a longshot in light of the last two Guardians of the Galaxy volumes.)
Holding most of the movie together are the actors doing their best to work with a rather middling script. Chris Pratt’s return as Star-Lord is actually tolerable. The character’s journey since Infinity War was greatly assisted by the Holiday Special, and his relationship with both Rocket and Mantis helps ground the character beyond the sheer superhero tragic-ness of his lost relationship with Gamora.
Unfortunately, what little emotional or poignant interactions there are between the characters is often marred by the quick turn from comedic putdowns to outright yelling. Nebula’s position of pseud0-leadership is quickly tiresome despite Karen Gillan’s strong performance, something the character has enjoyed consistently.
Dave Bautista’s Drax and Pom Klementieff’s Mantis continue to build on much of their chemistry, the Holiday Special having cemented the duo’s working relationship. Unfortunately, it’ll be a long shot if anyone misses Drax for anything other than being a bumbling fool–a far cry from his role in the first Guardians.
That said, Bradley Cooper’s performance as Rocket forms the heart of the movie. His arc since the first Guardians of the Galaxy, and over the Avengers movies, has bumped him up from being a peripheral hero in the universe to an A-lister in his own respect, along with Nebula–and they duo flex that every bit they can. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much as far as the explicit positives go.
Rocket’s story is further enhanced by some fantastic performances by characters from his past. Nothing more will be said on that for spoiler-y reasons, but we’ll leave it at the fact that we’ll probably never tire of Cooper’s take on Rocket.
It can only be hoped that we haven’t seen the last of Zoe Saldaña as Gamora. Especially if Gillan is open to reprising her role as well.
If nothing else, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a fitting end to an uneven series–largely par for the course with the Marvel Cinematic Universe of recent years. There are two post-credit scenes, both interesting and intriguing. Perhaps the Guardians, sans James Gunn and select cast members, may still have a future with the MCU.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is out now and might be your last chance to say “goodbye”.