11 May 2023

The best since Endgame: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a hilarious yet emotional banger

| Jarryd Rowley
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Guardians of the Galaxy scene

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a return to form for the MCU after a disappointing slate in 2022. Photo: Supplied.

Superhero movie fatigue is real!

Two major studios, Disney/Marvel and Warner Bros/DC, are dishing out countless films and shows each year. Even for a film and comic-book lover such as myself, wading through a tsunami of CGI-heavy superhero content is becoming exhausting.

That’s why, with great pleasure, I can say Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is one of the most heartwarming, carefully crafted and enjoyable comic-book films that Marvel has produced since Avengers Endgame.

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Following the mysterious backstory of Rocket (the raccoon) and his ”modifications” at the hands of the High Evolutionary – played maniacally by Peacemaker’s Chukwudi Iwuji – the Guardians are launched into action to protect their furry friend from the threat of his past.

While not as stylish or as deep as some of DC’s more recent outings like The Batman or Joker, or intent on universe-building as Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home or Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, what it does well is understand its characters and their arc across six previous film appearances.

This is to the credit of director James Gunn, who is perhaps the hottest comic-book filmmaker in Hollywood right now and is turning out top-notch content for each of the rival studios.

Gunn finds a way to effectively spend time with each of the characters and deliver growth and a progression in their stories that makes sense for each of them, something uncommon in recent MCU offerings.

Everyone gets time to shine – whether it is Chris Pratt’s Peter “Starlord” Quill struggling with his complicated relationship with a memory-wiped Gamora, Nebula coming to terms with her adopted family after years of neglect, or the embattled Rocket, whose tragic and tortured past causes him to distance himself from the rest of the group.

Now it is a Marvel movie, so expect the usual line-up of superstar cameos and witty one-liners – including the MCU’s first f-bomb – but I also recommend bringing tissues.

What surprised me most about Vol. 3 was both its brutality and its emotional gut punches.

I won’t spoil them here, as they are some of the most impactful moments in the entire franchise, but what I will say is they are orchestrated in a way that doesn’t feel forced or manipulative. They feel deserved.

The action is also top-tier Marvel, including an extended one-shot action set-piece backed with the Beastie Boys’ iconic ’80s rap No Sleep Till Brooklyn that was just ”mwah” (chef’s kiss)!

Of course, being a Guardians movie, you’d expect a killer retro soundtrack, but unfortunately, apart from the Beastie Boys track and a brilliant use of Dog Days Are Over by Florence and the Machine, there are few nostalgic standouts.

Will Poulter’s Adam Warlock (Google the guy with the eyebrows) and the alien race ”The Sovereign” are also underwhelming.

While Warlock’s character was introduced in the end credits scene of Vol. 2 in 2017, his reappearance plays out like an afterthought and the carried-over The Sovereign subplot felt tacked on.

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Despite these flaws, Guardians 3 is ultimately a movie about family and a big-hearted mishmash of some of the most iconic characters in the MCU.

Packed with action, emotion and laughs, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a hilarious yet heartwarming return to form for the MCU and is hopefully an indication of what is to come.

Be sure to head down to Forum 6 Cinemas Wagga Wagga to check out Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 and all the other brilliant new releases on the big screen. Find your tickets for Guardians here.

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