“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” Review

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“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” Rating: 2.5/5

The much beloved Guardians team wraps up this trilogy with one of their biggest adventures yet. Peter Quill is still struggling to deal with the loss of Gamora. While he recovers, the team is put in jeopardy when Rocket is injured. In order to save Rocket, the team must embark on a dangerous mission to combat The High Evolutionary.

Will the Guardians rally yet again? Or will this finally be the end?

Positives

“Guardians 3” will have many fans of the franchise jumping for joy. Marvel enthusiasts will rejoice in the fact that James Gunn sticks to his creative roots while crafting this final chapter. I’d say the film does a nice job at continuing many of the Guardians staples.

There’s eye popping imagery and world building galore. Gunn never misses in this regard. The cinematography and color schemes remind me of “Star Wars.” Lots of sharp contrasts and detail are present throughout.

The dynamic between the team is also a highlight. The Guardians have always been one of Marvels stronger groups, where characters build one another up to shape a team worth rooting for. It’s easy to give in to their offbeat charm. Many fans will be satisfied with this conclusion. The film (for better or worse) leaves a lot of possibilities for the future with the characters, even if this storyline is over. I imagine fans will demand more.  

Negatives

I was looking forward to “Guardians 3,” but I found myself leaving quite frustrated. The story has several problems…mainly being an unfocused narrative. The plot felt like a random series of events that happened to turn out in the Guardians’ favor when the story needed it to. I never really figured out why it needed to be so long and why certain events happened. Filler perhaps?

The villain was also wasted. His introduction was intriguing, which makes the way he evolved into an obnoxious, screaming maniac by the end all the more disappointing. Marvel again missed the mark in handling a high stakes villain.

For some reason, I didn’t feel the stakes of this mission mattered as much. The narrative seemed to break between telling Rocket’s backstory and circling around the genocidal idea of The High Evolutionary. Adding to that, a new Gamora was shoehorned into the team (even though the real Gamora is dead). This aspect of the story was especially jarring. Gamora and Peter’s story was great when it happened the first time, which made her death all the more devastating. I will avoid spoiling what happens to her, (and the rest of the team) but her inclusion felt pointless and unearned here.

I’ve also heard that some are finding the animal cruelty in the film to be too graphic. This was not the case. In fact, I found it to be quite tame, all things considered. No reason to leave the kids at home for this.

While the humor was slightly better than most quippy Marvel material, I still rolled my eyes at a handful of jokes. They cut tension and missed the mark consistently. I normally give the Guardians a pass on silliness because they are a wonkier group that embraces the whimsical nature of the MCU. Here, the filmmakers wanted to have their cake and eat it too: tell a “dark story” but still undermine it with poor humor.

Finally, the ending felt unresolved to me. The resolution for each character felt too forced, being that they had to wrap this series up rather than wanting to conclude it.

Conclusion

I really wanted to like the concluding chapter to the “Guardians” series. It had the characters, the setup and the potential. Unfortunately, it fell flat for me. I respect James Gunn and the unique vision he brings to these characters, but “Volume 3” was a bit too jumbled and unfulfilling for me to recommend.

I’m sure fans of the series will really enjoy this one, it just wasn’t for me. I hope others get more out of the film than I did.

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