Spoilers Ahead for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3!!!
They’re the frickin’ Guardians of the Galaxy and the 3rd and final(?) “Volume” of the franchise is out in theaters now.
After months of speculation of what would become of Marvel’s rag tag team of misfits and outlaws, we finally get the closure we’ve been so desperate for! I’ve seen the movie and want to express my feelings about it. So…if you have not yet seen the film, I would stop here and return later, because well, um, SPOILERS!!!
Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed the first 2 installments. They were fresh and slightly different from the MCU vibe. James Gunn’s signature was all over those movies and he really made it his own. Props to Kevin Feige and Marvel for letting Gunn do his thing and pursue his vision, making the movies he wanted to make. I say that to say that none of that has changed with Volume 3.
Gunn still expands the Guardians universe in his own unique way and it’s fantastical. It’s space. It’s aliens. It’s science fiction. It’s so many unbelievable things, but it’s still human. It’s still familiar. That’s what is so special about the Guardians.
From the outset of this films promotional tour, so much had been made of this trilogy being Rocket’s journey. Every trailer seemed to spell doom for any and all of the Guardians, but everyone was so sure that Rocket’s journey would end here. Now knowing the way everything ends, I’m happy that we got the “super duper happy ending”. This movie also really seemed to revolve heavily around the relationship, or lack thereof, between Peter and Gamora. Peter is still struggling with love lost and it effects him heavily in his relationships with his teammates including Nebula.
Speaking of which, Nebula’s character arc felt the most satisfactory to me. What a journey she has been on since her introduction in Volume 1.
The angry assassin and daughter of Thanos full of nothing but anger and resentment, to the caring matriarch of Knowhere. I don’t think I was happier for any other character than her. I’ll also never forget the tears welling up in the eyes of Drax “The Dad” when saying goodbye to his friends as he stays to help Nebula lead and nurture the children of Knowhere.
I will say that as much as I loved the happy ending, one personal gripe I had was Star Lords attempt to jump through space from the High Evolutionary’s exploding ship to Knowhere. There was so much build up and suspense in his escape that it really felt like this was gonna be it for him. After all of the speculation on character deaths, the Star Lord himself dying after so many crazy heroics and last minute escapes, it would have been poetic. I know this is fantasy, but I was for sure he had died in that moment as he floats there in open space, disfigured. To have him rescued and immediately be well enough to quip “Did that look cool?”, it really fell flat for me.
In all of the ruckus and celebration it’s hard to forget that we had two new actors playing big roles in the film.
First up is Chukwudi Iwuji as The High Evolutionary.
Chukwudi brings a powerful performance to the villain in this film. He was regal, he was cruel, and he masterfully showed us the subtle weaknesses in the character.
Two moments stand out to me: The first being him berating a young Rocket for being smarter than him. This scene was powerful and paralleled an abusive father angry with insecurities. The second would be the final act when he loses self control and lashes out in anger at his subordinates in a last ditch effort to maintain power.
Next up is Will Poulter as Adam Warlock. This has been a hotly contested subject thus far, with most fans finding the character to far from his comic origins. Warlock is innocent and child-like, still learning who he is and what this world he lives in is all about. Many comic fans felt this nerfed the character, relegating him comedic relief. Whatever the case, Will did a great job. He was funny, charming, and primal. Warlock was new to the world and it was stated that he was prematurely birthed from his pod. He’s a character with much more room to grow.
I feel obligated to comment on the soundtrack, though we already know that any Guardians of the Galaxy Mixtape is going to be a instant hit. This one felt different though. These songs held a lot more meaning and raised the bar in several scenes. Radiohead’s “Creep” in the opening sequence. “Spacehog’s “In The Meantime” with the colorful spacesuits heist scene. I don’t think we’ll ever hear Florence and The Machine’s “The Dog Days Are Over” in the same way again. It belongs to The Guardians now. I dare you NOT to dance when you hear it from now on.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 does what all of the best movies do, it makes you look inward. It makes you think about where you are, right now, and all of the things you’ve done and been through to become that person. It makes you appreciate those people closest to you, whether that be your family or friends, or maybe those friends that are family now. I hope it validates your perseverance through hardships and trauma. I hope that it makes you face your demons and work to be a better person in spite of it all.