MOVIE REVIEW – The final adventure of Marvel’s superhero team balances humour and emotion. Unfortunately, it often (too often) falls into the pathos typical of other Marvel movies (especially the Avengers films) and in doing so loses the freshness, wit and charm that characterizes the franchise.
One of the most popular and entertaining films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Guardians of the Galaxy was directed and written by James Gunn and featured a quirky and colorful team of characters battling evil in outer space. The third installment, which is also the final part in the series, won’t disappoint fans, but it doesn’t bring much new to the table either. The film is an emotional and humorous journey that attempts to bring closure to the characters’ story while introducing the new challenges and enemies they face.
Rocket Raccoon’s past
At the centre of the plot is Rocket (Bradley Cooper), who has been more of a source of humour for the team. But now it turns out he’s nothing more than a former lab animal, created and developed by a mysterious figure called High Evolution (Chukwudi Iwuji). Rocket’s past catches up with him when High Evolution kidnaps him and tries to change his will. Naturally, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and the others don’t abandon their friend and set out to rescue him. Meanwhile, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) returns to the picture, but not as Quill hoped.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Part 3 is in many ways similar to Avengers: Endgame, as it also brings a kind of closure to Guardians of the Galaxy. The film also features several old friends, such as Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone), Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) and Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), who all play important roles in the story. The film is not sparing on the action and visuals, with several large-scale space battles and chases, made all the more exciting by John Murphy’s music.
Perhaps the greatest virtue of James Gunn’s film is that it is a fitting farewell to the Guardians of the Galaxy, who have entertained audiences for over nine years. At the end of the film, each character is given a final scene in which he or she can express or show his or her feelings. The film does not leave any questions unanswered, but brings the adventures of the Guardians of the Galaxy to a close and passes the baton to a new generation.
Unfortunately, Guardians of the Galaxy: Part 3 is far from being a flawless sci-fi. The biggest problem with the film is perhaps the main villain, the High Evolutionary, who is a boring, vacuous, pompous, megalomaniacal and sadistic madman, who looks like he’s been plucked from some bad James Bond film. The motivation and purpose of the character played by Chukwudi Iwuji is completely illogical and incomprehensible and cannot compete with the enemies of the previous episodes, such as Kurt Russell’s brilliant Ego. High Evolutionary is not threatening, funny or interesting enough, he’s just annoying.
Another weakness of the film is the treatment of the characters. Rocket Raccoon (Dave Bautista) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) are practically absent from the film, because Rocket Raccoon is lying unconscious for most of the film, and when he is not, he tells a rather dark and cruel story that somehow doesn’t fit the character he has been portraying so far, and the tone of Guardians of the Galaxy so far. I understand that the Gunns really wanted to say something about the animal torture, the secret and inhumane experiments seen in the film and the like, and the origin story of Mordor fit in with that, but to turn a character who was so far cheerful, engaging and laughable into such an introverted tragic hero was, in my opinion, a miscalculation.
The other completely different character is Gamora, who suffers from amnesia and doesn’t remember much of her past, but just hangs out with a galactic crime gang and is constantly angry, so she’s different. She’s become a bit like Nebula, her sister (who is a completely positive character here), but this “change” is also forced and mostly serves to make Quill feel bitter about his lost love, a bit clumsy and funny.
The Guardians of the Galaxy have lost logic
The story of the film also leaves something to be desired in several places, as it is often completely illogical, for example the balance of power is wrong. It would be difficult to explain without spoilers, but the point is that there is not much logic in the plot as to when and which characters are capable of rudely overpowering the other.
The story is also bogged down with unnecessary subplots and side characters who do not contribute significantly to the main plot. If this were a series, it wouldn’t be so distracting, but this is a movie where it would have been more worthwhile to focus on the main story.
Also, the rhythm is quite erratic, sometimes too slow, sometimes too fast. And at the end of the film there are a couple of twists that completely contradict the universe, rules and characters that have been built up so far.
Gunn’s films have always been characterised by a great, gritty sense of humour, but this was not so much the case here. Some of the jokes are often strong, sometimes unnecessarily vulgar, and at other times overly childish. The Guardians of the Galaxy: Part 3 is not up to the level of the previous episodes in this respect either, but it is also not up to the level of, for example, Gunn’s DC works such as Suicide Squad or the Peacemaker series on HBO Max, which are also big favourites of mine.
A bit of a disappointment
So unfortunately, Guardians of the Galaxy: Part 3 was a disappointment, even though I was really looking forward to it, and the previous two episodes are huge favorites of mine despite the fact that I’m not a Marvel fan. To me, the Guardians of the Galaxy series has always been about witty humor and fun, imaginative adventures with an extreme but well-developed main villain (Kurt Russell’s Ego character being a standout), so basically a chuckle-worthy sci-fi spoof that was free of the Marvel “epic pathos” that the recent Avengers series has fallen into – especially in Avengers Endgame.
In comparison, this episode delivered exactly the epic/lighthearted ending I’ve disliked in Marvel movies for a while, adding in Rocket Racoon’s ruthless origin story, which might have been interesting in another film. Still, I don’t think it fits either Rocket Raccoon’s character or the general atmosphere of Guardians of the Galaxy, and the irritating and weak main villain also takes away from the film.
There is no doubt that the third part has plenty of virtues (such as great visuals and professional action sequences) . Hardcore fans will probably also like it, as it is a touching farewell to the series. Still, if you, like me, were expecting a chuckle and a wryly humorous conclusion to the previous two parts, with a Kurt Russell-like main villain, I think you will also be slightly disappointed with Guardians of the Galaxy: Part 3.