Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 – movie review

Action, humour, a ripping soundtrack and heartfelt back-story combine to make Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 an appealing package. In this third film in the trilogy, fan favourites return and are pitted against a megalomaniac arch villain searching for perfection at any cost.

At the start of the movie the Guardians of the Galaxy are adjusting to life on Knowhere. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is struggling to deal with the loss of his beloved Gamorra (Zoe Saldana) and is constantly drunk. And then, out of the blue, the colony is attacked by Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), a powerful artificial being created by the Sovereign people to destroy the Guardians.  He wreaks havoc and almost claims the life of Rocket (voiced by Brad Cooper). His only hope for survival rests on the Guardians infiltrating the lair of a character known as the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji). He is a sociopath looking to create a perfect race of highly evolved and intelligent beings. His grotesque experiments expose Rocket’s heart-wrenching past.

At the same time, Gamorra steps back into Quill’s life, but she no longer recognises him. She seems cold, calculating and distant. Internally, as the future of the galaxy is at stake, the Guardians continue to snipe among themselves. Nebula (Karen Gillan) – Gamora’s adoptive sister – is hard-nosed and anything but sentimental.  Mantis (Pom Klementieff) – Quill’s half-sister – is adept at using her empathetic powers to try to strike an accord. A high intelligence quotient isn’t high on Drax the Destroyer’s (Dave Bautista) agenda. He just wants to use his muscle, but is fiercely loyal to Quill. Groot (Vin Diesel), too, is always ready to “branch out” when trouble looms.

James Gunn remains at the helm of the franchise and has again provided several compelling features. At the core of the story is a dysfunctional but loving family – the Guardians themselves. I was totally sold on the past life of Rocket that is so gut wrenching and explains what made him who he is today. I can’t think of a crueller villain in the MCU than the High Evolutionary.  The filmmakers have made him especially detestable and Chukwudi Iwuji doesn’t disappoint in the role. The vulnerabilities of many of the key characters are exposed in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 and that, too, works well. The key players are strong.

Each instalment though is a quarter of an hour longer than the previous one (this one coming in at two and a half hours and it did feel strung out). The music choices in these films are always masterful and Volume 3 is no exception. The latest numbers had me up and about. The humour is, for the most part, quite corny, but very much in keeping with what we have come to expect from the Guardians.

Importantly, even if you haven’t seen the previous instalments of the franchise, you can make sense of this latest one. And a final note to say stay on during the final credits and even after the credits because there are some added extras in there. Notwithstanding a few reservations then, by and large Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits the mark.

Alex First

Other reviews you might enjoy: