Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 sees the titular group, led by Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), on a mission to save their friend Rocket’s (Bradley Cooper) life, learning more about his past with the sinister High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) in the process. The importance of this journey causes tensions to flare, compounded by a parallel-universe version of former teammate Gamora (Zoe Saldana).
This final instalment in the Guardians trilogy is also its most serious, with an increased sense of tension along with a bittersweet air. The silliness of the previous films is still present, but dialled back to give the strong character drama room to breathe – and strong it is, tackling themes such as family, eugenics and universal existential questions of purpose. The result is an effective balance between comedic and sincere, retaining the cinematic identity of the preceding instalments, while building upon them and showing how far the Guardians have come as a team and a story.
The only real problem with Vol 3’s narrative, is that it spends a significant chunk of its runtime focused on the will-they-won’t-they between Quill and the temporally-displaced Gamora. While this isn’t necessarily bad, Quill is both the least interesting Guardian and the one who’s had the lion’s share of plot beats across the trilogy. Thankfully, this part of the story just manages not to overstay its welcome, and the eventual payoff is satisfying enough to justify its presence.
Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan and Pom Klementieff are immensely talented actors, but it takes a while for the film to put enough of a spotlight on them to bring out the best in Drax, Nebula and Mantis beyond comedic relief – but critically, it does manage to, and when the supporting Guardians finally get to shine, it makes for some of the greatest parts of the entire movie.
Iwuji is also brilliant as the High Evolutionary. He’s an immensely hateable villain, and Iwuji’s intense performance helps challenge the film’s core themes and ideas in ways that make them stronger, bringing out new sides to the existing characters.
James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is a fantastic tribute to one of the MCU’s most-beloved series and a fitting swansong for this iteration of the Guardians. It takes a bit for the story to find its feet, but when it does, it makes for some truly gripping storytelling that will make audiences cry with sadness and laughter.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is released nationwide on 3rd May 2023.
Watch the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 here: