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Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Is An Emotional Farewell To James Gunn’s Team Of Misfits

The success story of Guardians Of The Galaxy has always been one of the biggest achievements of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), transforming an obscure IP into one of the most popular in the world. Whoever thought Marvel Studios and James Gunn could make us care so much about a team with a talking tree and raccoon? Just like 2019’s Avengers Endgame offered us closure and a proper ending/farewell for the original Avengers, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 does the same for the original Guardians.

Rocket Science

James Gunn once again brings his trademark humour and signature style to the MCU with Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3. This is very likely his last MCU movie and it shows. Despite featuring as much action and comedy as previous movies, this is the darkest and most emotional one yet. A lot of that comes from exploring Rocket Raccoon’s (Bradley Cooper) painful past and backstory, which comes in the form of flashbacks. However, the movie also doesn’t forget the other characters in the movie, all of whom receive their respective moments to shine, including smaller supporting characters like Kraglin (Sean Gunn) and Cosmo (Maria Bakalova).

The main antagonist, The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), is perhaps one of the most despicable and twisted villains you will love to hate since Thanos. Having an antagonist that is directly connected to Rocket’s backstory makes the emotional gut-punches even stronger and it makes it all the more satisfying when he eventually gets his just desserts.

He also has an unconventional motivation that’s not just taking over the universe or something like that, which makes him a bit more refreshing than someone like even Kang The Conqueror.

In addition, another highlight of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 is its dynamic action scenes. There is one particular action scene that will probably be remembered for years to come as one of the most exciting fight sequences in the MCU. In this one scene (and the entire movie as a whole), you can clearly see James Gunn and the whole cast giving it their all in what is (again) very likely their final movie together, especially with Gunn moving away from Marvel to focus on leading DC Studios next. What distinguishes Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 from other recent MCU movies in Phase Four and Phase Five, and what makes it refreshing is how it’s not just mostly concerned with setting up what’s next. It’s perfectly acceptable as a standalone movie that acts as an ending to the story of the Guardians.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 does suffer from a few flaws. It can sometimes feel a bit too long at 2 hours and 30 minutes since quite a lot of that will be interrupted by flashbacks that disrupt the pacing.

Also, it was disappointing to see Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) having such little screen time and a small role, especially since the promotional material for the movie has been hyping him up as a major MCU character. He appears at the beginning of the movie early on and doesn’t really do anything else until nearly the very end of the movie.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that Marvel Studios is probably saving him for future movies, but it’s still a bummer to see him so underutilized in his debut. Poulter does the best he can with what little material he gets, but let’s hope he gets more prominent roles in future MCU movies.

Guardians, Goodbye

Ultimately, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 finishes the story that began in 2014, delivering well-earned closure for this family of misfits that we’ve grown to love over the years. While the movie is a fun good time, it’s still bittersweet to know that this is the last time we’ll get this group of cast members and directors together. If anything, this is the best sendoff the Guardians could have ever had.

We’ll miss you in the MCU, James Gunn, but hopefully, the best of what you’ve done will continue to live on in the characters and worlds you’ve left behind as the MCU continues to expand.

PSA: There are two post-credits scenes, so stay until the very end of the credits!

FINAL SCORE: 80/100

We attended an early screener of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 courtesy of The Walt Disney Company Malaysia. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 is slated to premiere in Malaysian cinemas on 4 May 2023.

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