Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 – Time to Say Goodbye

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| May 15, 2023

Although I was late to the party due to health issues, I finally sat down in the cinema to watch my found family one last time. 

This will be a spoiler-heavy review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, so if you haven’t seen it yet, watch it and come back later to read this. Let’s get into it! 

When the news first came in about the Guardians of the Galaxy back in 2012, I must admit I was confused. Even though I have pretty OK knowledge about the Marvel comics, this title didn’t ring a bell. I remember that the magazine I saw it in attached concept art and they highlighted the fact that it will feature a talking raccoon and a tree. I thought to myself: ‘Sure, I’ll watch it, it’s Marvel, after all, but I am sure it will be their first major flop.’ Not only was I completely wrong, but I fell in love with them, and they easily became my favorite inside the MCU. Therefore it’s no wonder that my most anticipated movie after Endgame was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. And – spoiler alert – it did not disappoint. 

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and Gamora (Zoe Saldaña)

The entire gang is back, living in Knowhere, building a new home, and Peter (Chris Pratt) drinking away his feelings after losing Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) again. Rocket (Bradley Cooper) thinking about his past, Nebula (Karen Gillan) helping with renovations alongside Groot (Vin Diesel), while Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) are trying their best to not cause trouble. It’s all nice and peaceful, many folks are around, and all seems fine, well… other than Peter getting closer to drinking himself to death, but you know… all good. But the conflict finds the Guardians this time as the tank-bred Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) comes crashing down to try and kidnap Rocket.

The entire movie starts out with how Rocket was taken and how they modified him. The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), while trying to create the perfect society, destroyed many innocent lives with his experiments. Thankfully, the movie doesn’t go as deep as to show the torture the animals went through, but the implications are there and felt heavily. Rocket turned out to be the greatest and smartest creation so it was inevitable for someone to come for him sooner than later. 

However, during their fight with Adam – who’s incredibly powerful but literally a newborn who arrived in this world mere hours ago – Rocket gets a horrible wound, and due to his modifications made by the High Evolutionary, not even a highly advanced medi-pack can help. If it wasn’t clear from the very beginning of the movie that the High Evolutionary is just the absolute worst, then the fact that he planted a self-destruct device into Rocket’s heart should be a dead giveaway. So the Guardians set out to find the key to overwrite the device and save their friend. 

This third movie has a big tone change from the previous two, and what happened during the Avengers movies clearly echoes through it all. But James Gunn knows exactly what he’s doing with this band of misfits and balances out all the pain and heartbreak with the humor perfectly. But don’t get me wrong here, Guardians of the Galaxy had a huge heart from the first movie, and that’s why people fell in love with them, including me. I think it is one of the biggest challenges in any movie or series, for that matter, to build up a believable and REAL connection between the characters, especially ones who are so different yet so much alike at the same time. I always trusted James, I followed his career from the beginning, but I think he cemented it in the books with the Guardians that he is not only a great writer and director but someone who understands his characters and the universe they live in. These movies are among the best that Marvel has to offer and among some of the greatest Sci-fi movies. 

Adam Warlock (Will Poulter)

My biggest fear with this movie was how they would handle “the end.” I’m not gonna lie; I was starting to get tired of the ongoing trope that you can only send off a character and be done with it if they die. Like… life is already full of horrible things that happen daily, not just in one’s personal life but around the world, so I don’t want to say goodbye to characters I have grown to love so deeply. Why is that the only way we can close down their stories? But again… I should have just trusted James from the get-go. No matter how the marketing campaign implied that we would see some of our favorites die, no matter how they prepared us for the worst, they were all well in the end. I can’t express how much I LOVED that. They might have decided to go their separate ways, but none had to die to feel the weight of the goodbye. Sure, there were some very close calls, but they proved once and for all that you can send off your characters in another way. It was such a relief… 

But I jumped ahead a bit. There were other highlights that I want to mention desperately. 

Gamora

Gamora. Look, I have a lot of love for Zoe Saldaña, so I was obviously devastated after Infinity War. While Endgame brought in a sense of peace, it didn’t last long. This is not the Gamora the Guardians lost, and this movie heavily emphasizes that. This is the Gamora who was pulled from the past, still serving Thanos, not meeting the Guardians yet, and therefore did not even know them other than her sister. While obviously her heart still has the good that eventually made her turn against her father, the pressure to be someone the Guardians and mostly Peter knew sits heavy on her shoulders. While the pivotal scene on the ship where she freaks out on them for the ongoing nagging made my blood boil at first, it made complete sense in the end. Peter raises her on this high pedestal while she keeps hearing about a love she knows nothing about, and of course, it gets to her. Of course, it will become too much. She is on her way to finding her path, a new home and family, but most importantly, she is on her way to finding herself. While she finds the love for them in herself (beautifully shown through how she finally understands Groot in the end), she knows she’ll have to walk her own path. And so the angry, lost Gamora slowly transforms into the Gamora we knew but also an entirely different version of her, which is honestly beautiful. 

Nebula (Karen Gillan)

The overall character arcs. Peter, Rocket, Groot, Nebula, Drax, Mantis, and Kraglin (Sean Gunn) all got an incredible journey that is hard to pull off with this big cast. Again, I can’t say this enough times, we have to thank James Gunn for understanding his characters so well. Rocket’s story, which was a mystery in the first film, comes to a heartwrenching but beautiful conclusion here, and it is so well done that you simply won’t be able to look at previous scenes with him the same way. Peter, after losing everyone he loved and cared for, gets the growth in character to understand that he needs to learn to find his own happiness first within himself and not by relying on others. Nebula goes through the greatest change and is finally able to open herself up to others. Mantis goes on to find herself (similarly to Gamora) by being independent and not someone who serves others and takes orders. Drax is way more than the Destroyer and finds a family he thought he would never have again. Kraglin, by the end, learns to follow his heart more. I can’t even put into words how brilliantly it was done. And I didn’t forget Groot, of course. But the biggest change comes as we become part of the family and finally understand what ‘I am Groot’ means. Just pure chef’s kiss. 

Peter Quill and the High Evolutaniary (Chukwudi Iwuji)

The High Evolutionary. What a monster and what a brilliant villain. Honestly, while Thanos made sense in places, and you might have been nodding along to some of the things he said, here, there’s absolutely nothing to agree with. In my eyes,  the High Evolutionary is the personalization of pure ego. Trying to create the perfect beings, the perfect society, completely unable to see how that simply will never be possible because there’s no such thing. Meanwhile, he fails to see how there’s greatness in imperfection. Nothing shows this better than how literally his own people turn against him. Not just one, but ALL of them. It was so beautifully done and perfectly played by Chukwudi Iwuji that I can’t sing enough praises about it all; he’s easily among the best Marvel villains. 

Now… the bad… it won’t be a long list. 

And I won’t really call this “bad”; it’s just that I needed more. Adam Warlock, aka my boy, my beloved Will Poulter. He was introduced as the next big thing for the Guardians at the end of Volume 2, and he didn’t quite live up to those expectations. If you are a comic book reader, you already know that he is one of the big enemies of the Guardians, so I think I went in to see this movie with that in mind. But he is not that and never will be. My only complaint about him is that I wanted to see him more in there, but I was incredibly satisfied with his ending. He started as a villain and got his redemption in the same movie. Which made sense; he had barely entered this new world and was immediately pushed towards a fight he knew nothing about. When he got his second chance, thanks to Groot, he was introduced to a new possibility and a new way to learn about the world.

That tease about Groot’s new Guardians crew with Adam included better come true. I was immediately like: SIGN ME UP NOW! 

Official Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) poster for Guardians

So, in conclusion: This movie was worth the wait. It’s the perfect goodbye to our wonderful found family, and one couldn’t be more grateful for it. I wholeheartedly believe that we can put it on top as a perfect trilogy but also as an overall perfect storytelling through the films we got to see them in. I don’t know what the future holds for them,and I don’t know if that tease of the new Guardians will stay just a tease, but for now, I am thankful for James Gunn and the entire cast and crew. 

And folks… 

This is how you do it. 

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One comment on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 – Time to Say Goodbye”

  1. Such a beautiful film, James Gunn and his team really know what they’re doing. Gives me hope for DCEU

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