Review | Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 (2023)
“Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 is a fitting and satisfying conclusion to this trilogy. This film is deeply moving and goes to some dark places but it is also incredibly funny. It will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time.”
James Gunn is saying his goodbye to the MCU with the final film of his Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy. All good things must come to an end, so is this a satisfying conclusion for our beloved band of misfits?
The adventures of the Guardians of the Galaxy started in 2014 on the big screen and almost 10 years later, we are witnessing the end of an era. Throughout the film, you can feel that this is the end of the trilogy, the end of Gunn’s take on these characters. There is this undeniable feeling of farewell. Thus, this film is a deeply touching one. As the audience, like the director, we say our goodbyes to this team of characters. Not that we won’t see them again but there is a finality to this particular story arc
Beyond hitting heavy on the feels, this film is also darker and more mature. It does go to some unexpectedly dark places. Nevertheless, it still retains Gunn’s humoristic style. So, this film will make you laugh, cry, cheer, and keep you on the edge of your seat. I insist on “keeping you on the edge of your seat.” Our favorite team of misfits is up against enemies way more powerful than they are. So, you are never sure of the outcome. The stakes are incredibly high.
In addition, the heart of this film is Rocket. Gunn dives into his origins and it is not for the faint of heart. In fact, the plot of the film centers around our favorite raccoon. It is both an exploration of character while also being a race against time. A lot is going on in this film but it is so well-paced. You don’t feel the 150 minutes of runtime passing by. This film touches on so many themes but family is really what it is all about. It is a fitting and satisfying ending to this trilogy. Looking back, I think, the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy will be remembered as one of the best trilogies of the MCU.
Moreover, it is great to see our original Guardians of the Galaxy cast all together again for the end of this trilogy. They are all brilliant as their respective characters. And it really feels like they took their performances to the next level for this one. It is quite moving. Though, for me, the two MVPs are without any doubt, Bradley Cooper and Chris Pratt. Bradley Cooper may only do the voice of Rocket but his voice work is tremendous. He gets us through all the emotions and states of mind of his character in such a powerful way. And Chris Pratt really is our Star-Lord. On top of that, the Mantis and Drax duo is still the funniest one carrying on what was shown in the Holiday Special.
There are also newcomers. Chukwudi Iwuji as the High Evolutionary gives you chills. Indeed, he is menacing as this villain with delusions of grandeur. Casting Will Poulter as Adam Warlock just felt right. He brings his wit to this version of the character. It is incredibly amusing. Finally, Maria Bakalova brings another layer of fun with Cosmo the space dog.
Furthermore, the Guardians of the Galaxy films have always looked good visually and this one is no exception. The visual effects are outstanding. Undoubtedly, the crew needs to be applauded for their work on the animals and other creatures. Whether it is Rocket, his friends, or Cosmo, they all look so real. Their faces are so expressive, they are fully-fledged characters. And let’s not forget Groot who looks incredible visually. This is his bulkiest form giving him an even more powerful presence. We see him do some fantastic things in this film.
Once again, Gunn reunites with the cinematographer Henry Braham. They have worked together on Volume 2. It is definitely a team that works. There are absolutely beautiful shots in this film and a nice balance of lights and shadows.
As usual, James Gunn has gathered a wonderful mix of songs to use in his film. This time, there are songs from four decades – the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, and the 2000s. I love how each time throughout these three films, Gunn has been able to find the right song for the right moment. Having Rocket listening to the song ‘Creep’ by Radiohead at the beginning of the film just feels perfect. And using the acoustic version adds a little something else to the scene.
But for me, the most memorable use of a song is ‘Dog Days Are Over’ by Florence + The Machine. Since 2014 when the first film was released, I have been longing to hear one of her songs with the Guardians of the Galaxy. It finally happened. And honestly, it is perfect to end with this song. It captures the feeling of how we feel at the end of the film and the state of mind of the characters.
Finally, John Murphy replaces Tyler Bates on composing duties. He delivers an emotional and beautiful score. Despite the change of composers, we can still hear the Guardians’ classic and heroic theme.
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 is a fitting and satisfying conclusion to this trilogy. This film is deeply moving and goes to some dark places but it is also incredibly funny. Gunn puts Rocket at the heart of this film giving us his tragic origins. It is both an exploration of character while also being a race against time. It will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time.
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 arrives in cinemas in the US, UK, and Ireland tomorrow. The film is already in cinemas in several countries across the globe.
Collectables Editor at Future Of The Force.
Star Wars and Marvel specialist, anime expert