A common saying is that the only things in life that are inevitable are taxes and death. But that’s debatable, especially when you consider that all the stories in the world eventually have an ending that cannot be avoided. The new Marvel film from James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3, which released on May 5, 2023, is no exception to this rule. The film brings back our favorite misfit found family in what feels like a conclusive ending to years of saving the galaxy with these beloved characters. After a strange and destructive incident occurs, one of the guardians is left in critical condition. As a result, Peter Quill and the team must embark on a heist across the galaxy in order to save their friend. This review will not contain any spoilers so you are free to continue reading even if you have not yet seen the film.
Having rewatched Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 so close to the premiere of the latest installment has allowed my love of these movies and its characters to be revived in a way I didn’t think was possible. And it is without question that Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 has managed to solidify all three Guardians films as the best and most well-rounded trilogy within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Each film has approached the audience with its own story while staying consistent in pushing one central theme: Family. The topic of family is a fragile one, as it can trigger feelings of heartbreak and pain, but also evoke warm feelings of comfort and love. It is strange yet unsurprising that James Gunn manages to handle such themes in a crude yet delicate manner that works to his benefit and allows a unique representation of the Guardians.
Throughout much of the film, we are finally given more information on Rocket, where he comes from, and how he came to exist in the galaxy. We’ve seen other characters discuss their past, whether it’s Peter Quill seeking out his biological father, or Gamora and Nebula fighting their way through their forced rivalry. But as the film dives into his backstory more, there is a horrifying realization between the characters on screen and the audience as to why Rocket keeps his past to himself. It’s important to note right now that the film does showcase animal cruelty, body horror, and childhood trauma. With that in mind, it is recommended to go in cautiously if these are triggers for you.
Through Rocket, we are introduced to Adam Warlock, a cosmic being whose alliance is not quite clear until the end of the film. But more importantly, we are also introduced to The High Evolutionary, a villain like no other that we’ve seen before in the MCU. Walking out the film after having seen Chukwudi Iwuji’s frightening performance as the High Evolutionary is an unsettling experience, despite his character not being physically intimidating or threatening. Instead, it’s the threat of dangerous ideals leading to a rather disturbing conversation of achieving perfectionism within society, something that isn’t discussed enough and but continues the MCU’s goal of encouraging the normalcy of uncomfortable conversations.
The hard-hitting aspect of this film is the completion of every single character arc and the end of an era. It’s not often that we see characters get a full circle story and yet, we are left with no major loose ends or questions left unanswered. While there is always a possibility that some characters may return if given the right story, Volume 3 does an excellent job of providing the audience a proper good-bye, just in case, and provides us a reminder that good-bye isn’t always a bad thing and doesn’t mean we won’t see someone again. Sometimes, parting ways means embarking on a new adventure that involves self-discovery, returning to your roots, embracing your past, or starting a new adventure with different people.
It’s an emotional and bittersweet ending, but it’s one that resonates with all of us, considering it is something we all must go through in life. Life cannot remain the same for long, and it’s through the astounding performances by the entire cast that we see Peter, Gamora, Mantis, Drax, Rocket, Groot, and Nebula, at least one last time, as a family accepting the end of one story, and the beginning of something new. The best part? The classic style of comedy from James Gunn is still present to cheer you up and give you a moment to breathe and wipe your tears. Not to mention, this finale gets to go out banging with yet another dance-worthy soundtrack. After all, heartbreak and hard times cannot exist without laughter and good times.
Overall, it’s important to mention that Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 isn’t a “comeback” for the MCU. Instead, it is a continuation of uncomfortable themes that can be difficult to navigate, and this time, it’s with characters we love and are familiar with, but eventually have to let go of to make room for new characters and their stories. It is the heartfelt and cathartic ending we needed for a trilogy of stories centering around one of the most ridiculous found families, and we only have James Gunn to thank for this beautiful gift.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 receives 5 out of 5 Samosas.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 3. is now playing in theaters.
Runtime: 2h 29m
You can watch my video containing additional thoughts with spoilers added, only on TikTok.
And for a whole other perspective containing more spoilers, check out Mickey’s thoughts here!