Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Following the original The Guardians of the Galaxy movie is not an easy task. That film came out of nowhere to excite so many and showed that Marvel was willing to play with some of the weirder characters from its long history (Iron Man wans't top iter, but I also wouldn't refer to him as "weird"). On paper, the Guardians never made sense; a human, aliens, talking tree, talking raccoon, etc.
Note: This film is wrapped up in what has come before. Definitely the first 2 Guadians films and also, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Also, if you haven't watched The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, I suggest you check it out before watching Volume 3. While not absolutely necessary, details are referred to that are revealed in the special without any fanfare or explanation.
Note: There are scenes in this movie that may be disturbing to animal lovers depending on your tolerance. Experimentation and cruelty are both shown and inferred, so take that knowledge with you when choosing whether to watch.
James Gunn is again at the helm, both writing and directing for his final MCU film before taking over as the boss at DC. Both Volume 2 and Volume 3 have been enjoyable films, but they haven't reached the heights of the original for me. Still, I always enjoy each new entry and this one is no exception. It is an often sad or bittersweet journey toward a "final" conclusion for these characters. Yes, there is obviously plenty of humor along the way, but this seems to be an end to the story for this particular team. However, a huge piece of this final story involves Rocket, again played by Bradley Cooper, and his origins. Here's where things get rough. In the MCU, this story involves a character named the High Evolutionary, very well played by Chukwudi Iwuji. Their interactions were not what would be described as kind & loving. The story is compelling enough and they tweak the flavor a bit for the MCU to tie up some previously revealed characters, but still, it can be a rough ride because it is sad and tragic. Rocket has been a favorite of mine just because of the attitude and delivery by Cooper. This is what I think of when I think of Rocket...
Stop reading now if you don't want any spoilers
Generally, the story is largely a rescue/heist caper. but I don't want to give away too much as it is fun to see it all fall into place. The existing team is back together with some more recent additions:
- Rocket voiced by Bradley Cooper
- Peter Quill/Star-Lord played by Chris Pratt
- Drax played by Dave Bautista
- Nebula played by Karen Gillan
- Groot voiced by Vin Diesel
- Kraglin played by Sean Gunn
- Cosmo voiced by Maria Bakalova
- Gamora played by Zoe Saldana (belated reluctant return)
Through a series of events, Rocket is injured and they have to find the MacGuffin to help him to survive. Along the way, we get flashbacks to Rocket's past which fill in the story details. Inevitably they are led to a planet in this quest that feels very much like when they originally went to Knowhere in the first film. Hijinks and smaller battles ensue and in this location we're introduced to a character played by Nathan Fillion (great to finally see him involved without being completely obscured by a costume). The outcome here leads them toward the High Evolutionary and another planet which is shown in the trailers (intentionally looks like Earth). More battles occur and there is expository on the High Evolutionary's raison d'être. The MacGuffin is recovered. The team fully forms and a version of the MCU final battle takes place. Along the way, we're introduced to Adam Warlock, played by Will Poulter. I wish this character had gotten a more full-featured story, but given all that Gunn is trying to do in this film, I think this is what was possible. His story is intertwined with the film's plot and don't want to say too much outside of the fact that his introduction wasn't really "necessary", so I have to imagine they wanted to introduce him to for later use in the MCU. Cosmo is actually one of my favorite additions in this film. There is a great bit that plays out through the whole film between Kraglin and Cosmo that I think fits the Guardians vibe perfectly.
The film ends on a poignant note as the team is ending. Characters have found closure with it apparent that there are some that will and some that won't likely be seen again. The door is left open, but similar to Captain America in Endgame, some of these characters will likely be otherwise involved in the future. There are 2 post-credit scenes that give an idea of the future for some of these characters. It is definitely worth waiting to watch both. The 2nd will seem odd, but keep watching 😃 As well all know by now, post-credit scenes may or may not actually predict a future storyline. There have been a number that have yet to pay off, but still could in the future.