Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Review: A Beautiful Swan Song

Our favorite group of A-Holes is back for one last ride in this fantastic finale to the Guardians franchise. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 puts you through the wringer with moments that make you laugh, cry, horrify, and feel genuine love with our favorite found family.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Review: A Beautiful Swan Song

It’s crazy to think how an obscure comic like Guardians of the Galaxy got turned into one of if not the best parts of the MCU. This team has grown and developed so much that they’ve become these characters’ definitive versions. Now as James Gunn moves to Warner Bros. to head DC Films, it’s time to say goodbye to his contribution to the MCU. As much as we want to see more of them, it’s best to end things on a high note which James Gunn more than did. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now in theatres. 

Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 | Official Trailer

Story: Saving Our Friend

The movie starts on a somber note as things are off with Peter Quill. He’s devastated after losing his version of Gamora and instead has to live with the fact that another version of her wants nothing to do with her. That is until Adam Warlock pays them a visit for revenge when the team stole from the Sovereign in Vol. 2. He critically injures Rocket as the group tries to save him by going across the galaxy before it’s too late. The focus shifts slightly from Peter to Rocket as James Gunn states that this movie’s heart is centered around our favorite raccoon. 

Seeing Rocket’s backstory through flashbacks was heart-wrenching, to watch. It’s shocking to see the lengths they pushed to the brutality of it all, but it felt necessary to his arc. This is someone who has been ripped apart and put back together again multiple times and watched his loved ones suffer. It’s not easy to watch, but it’s balanced well by the feel-good interactions he has with the Guardians.

Squad up.

Squad up.

Characters & Performances: Bring it Here Team

Just because this is more Rocket-focused doesn’t mean the other members don’t get to shine. In fact, everyone gets a moment in the spotlight, and it feels earned. It doesn’t feel cheap but gets earned through all the appearances the Guardians have made since 2014. Nebula is the standout here besides Rocket. She has the second-best arc out of all the Guardians. Karen Gillian is superb and makes the once minor Gillian into a beautiful, fleshed-out character. Honestly, I could give accolades to every single person, and it still wouldn’t feel like another. 

The High Evolutionary

The High Evolutionary might be the MCU’s cruelest villain yet. Sure, he did awful things on a galactic scale that are scary, but that’s not the main reason. The things he’s done to Rocket and the obsession with him make the High Evolutionary terrifying. Chukwudi Iwuji delivers a masterful job of showing how unhinged this guy is. Easily makes him a top-tier villain in the MCU.

Easily the MCU villain that terrified me the most.

Easily the MCU villain that terrified me the most.

Cinematography & Sound: Cosmic Beauty & Horror

James Gunn keeps stepping up his game in terms of style because it’s full of it here. It’s just beautiful to look at and goes crazy in the best way. What other movie would have flesh cover suits for their company security that somehow meshes pretty well with its surrounding? But with beauty comes some really horrific shots that go close to rated R territory. How they show Rocket’s treatment and the up-close surgical imagery gets underneath your skin, but it’s effective for telling his story.

Perfect Needle Drops

You know you’re getting some great music choices sprinkled throughout when you’re watching Guardians of the Galaxy. The music is the interesting thing about Vol. 3 compared to the first two movies. I don’t mean the wide selection from the 70s to the early 2000s, but whose music is this? The music we hear is from Rocket’s playlist, not Quill’s, and it’s a great choice. The various needle drops we hear are pitch-perfect. The beginning with an acoustic version of “Creep” by Radiohead brilliantly sets Rocket’s state of being. And without going into spoilers, the choice of music for the final battle is the chef’s kiss.

Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 | One Last Ride

Editing & Pacing: Oh, Adam

The pacing here is good, with how much they have to cram into this film. The only thing that felt off was the inclusion of Adam Warlock. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Adam in this movie, and Will Poulter does a great job. But if he weren’t teased at the end of Vol. 2 and weren’t in this film, then we wouldn’t have been missing much. If you had to cut out some of the fat, Warlock would be it.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 puts a satisfying bowtie on the acclaimed franchise. Everyone gets a nice send-off and their moment to shine. All aspects of this movie, from the direction to the beautiful cinematography, work in beautiful harmony. Vol. 3 cements Guardians of the Galaxy as one of the best movie trilogies of all time. James Gunn put a lot of love and attention into this movie that will impact the MCU for years to come.
  • Rocket's backstory.
  • How James Gunn wrapped up his Guardians.
  • The horror aspect.
  • The music choices.
  • A little too long.

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