By: Amanda Guarragi
The Guardians of the Galaxy have become the misfit family of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that everyone can connect with. Some people have felt like outcasts, and the Guardians have been the group that feels accepting of everyone. The themes of family and loss explored throughout the Guardians’ journey through the galaxy have impacted audience members. In a way, audiences have stayed with these characters as long as the original six Avengers. The Guardians of the Galaxy have always served a different purpose in the MCU and audiences will understand that divide after watching Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. This final instalment to James Gunn’s trilogy is a near-perfect ending because it shows how they finally come together as a family for the one character who has always been the heart, Rocket Raccoon.
From the opening, Gunn sets the tone that something looms over the heads of our Guardians on Knowhere. It opens on Rocket’s (Bradley Cooper) past and slowly transitions to Rocket presently listening to Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) Walkman. It feels unsettling, darker, and more mature for a Guardians film. Gunn doesn’t hesitate to throw the viewers right into the heat of the action. This story belongs to Rocket, and the more audiences watch the flashbacks to his past, the more they realize that he has always been the glue to the Guardians functioning as a team. Even though Rocket has a tough exterior, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about anyone or anything. Those who always hide their emotions have a lot to deal with. As we dive into Rocket’s past, we are introduced to the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) and his plan to enhance animals/humans into higher life forms for a new world.
It feels that this is the only way Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 could have been written. Rocket’s story covers all aspects of what makes a Guardians movie unique. There are still romantic elements with Peter and Gamora (Zoe Saldana). The fun relationship between Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) makes for some humorous moments. And an incredible soundtrack that makes some scenes memorable. The special effects were incredible and probably the best it has ever been in the MCU. The universe felt lived in, and the planets they landed on felt concrete because of how textured the visuals were. Rocket’s story is incredibly emotional and heartfelt that every time the film starts to lose itself in the common MCU-ness of it all, Gunn grounds the story and pulls you back in. By focusing on Rocket, the rest of the Guardians came together, and their development as a fully formed family was complete.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is an old-school Marvel film that only James Gunn could have made. It oddly felt nostalgic to the period when we found comfort in watching these characters escape into another galaxy. The one issue with the film is the integration of characters and the shared screen time for everyone. The editing did suffer, along with some writing choices for characters that didn’t work. However, audiences will escape with the Guardians for one last adventure, and they will find just how close this family is to each other. It’s almost as if saying goodbye to these characters is a reminder of how much of an impact they’ve made on everyone. The MCU has always had the Avengers to lead the franchise, but the Guardians have always felt more personal, and that’s why this third instalment worked so well as a send-off to these characters.