Film Review: The Galaxy Still Needs Guarding

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 is the latest offering from Marvel Studios. The film is written and directed by James Gunn. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementiaff, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel return as the ragtag, eclectic team of self-styled protectors. New additions to the cast include Will Poulter, Chukwudi Iwuji, Nathan Fillion, and Elizabeth Dibicki.

Poulter plays this absurdly powerful, yet immature being named Adam Warlock who attacks the Guardians. He is warded off, but not before Rocket the Raccoon is critically injured. Pratt’s Peter Quill is mourning the loss of Gamora, who has returned as a younger version of herself and does not remember their previous relationship. The need to save Rocket, who is voiced by Bradley Cooper, does bring him back to sobriety and galvanizes Quill, aka Star-Lord, to his more familiar, reckless antics to save his friend. During this crisis, Rocket’s past is revealed. He was a simple raccoon who was experimented on by Iwuji’s mad scientist character known as the High Evolutionary. The audience gets an extended look at Rocket’s past before he became a founding member of the Guardians. The flashbacks are kind of interesting if one doesn’t mind a lot of talking animals.

The basic plot is a pretty simple, well-used one, but it works. The performances are quite solid, especially from the main cast, but they have been doing this a while. The humor is still mostly effective here. Not everything in the movie makes sense, but it is a comic book film, and this series can’t resist a gag, even if it distracts a little from the story. I wasn’t exactly welling up, but there were a few moments that were kind of moving in a somewhat surprising way. Bautista’s sometimes buffoonish Drax got a pretty unexpectedly sweet moment where the audience was reminded of what he had lost in his past before he became a Guardian.

This is being billed as the last film to feature the Guardians, and if so, it concludes on a mostly high note. It gets a little overstuffed with silly action sequences at times. I did rather like Iwuji’s performance as the High Evolutionary who actually was pretty convincing as his character went from seemingly contemplative compassion to murderous rage. The final confrontation between Rocket and the High Evolutionary did not disappoint.

Overall, the movie felt like it dragged on a bit too long at times, but it was mostly a pretty fun experience. The enjoyment of the chemistry between the cast does outweigh most of the criticisms I had of the film, and I think the more passionate fans of the series would have little reason to be disappointed.

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