“Ooga chakka ooga chakka ooga chakka ooo!” Hard to believe such an odd chant (courtesy of Hooked on a Feeling by B. J. Thomas) would herald a critically acclaimed rag tag of characters back in 2014.
After two standalone films and some major crossover appearances in the MCU, the Guardians are back for what very much looks like the last time.
What Is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 About?
Whilst Starlord / Quill (Chris Pratt, The Terminal List) marinates in depression following the events of Endgame, the rest of the Guardians work on building their gigantic severed Celestial head homebase (‘Knowhere’).
That is, until genetically engineered rodent with attitude, Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper), gets on the wrong end of a weapon.
Unable to use med-packs thanks to a mysterious intellectual property lockdown on Rocket’s implants, the gang desperately try to unravel the secret of Rocket’s past in order to save his future.
Such a potentially life-ending attack on a central character in the opening scenes sets the stakes early on.
Director James Gunn smartly doesn’t lessen the seriousness of the situation as his normally wise-cracking space rodent remains in critical condition for much of the film.
As our cast careen around several locations and learn the facts of a past that Rocket has never talked about, we the audience are given a series of flashbacks that fill in the emotional heft. And what heft it is.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 Official Trailer
Is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 Worth Watching?
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 has rightly been described as an overtly anti-vivisectionist movie.
This comes courtesy of a deliriously vile villain, the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), whose attempts to create a ‘perfect’ species by the accelerated evolution of animals is unrelentingly grotesque.
Iwuji delivers a wonderfully deranged performance as the self-appointed arbiter of perfection, which feels oddly much more relatable than previous movies’ efforts of an underling gone rogue or big God daddy.
Even with the more serious tone, Vol. 3 packs in plenty of its own warped set pieces to keep the comic book mania high. Whereas Thor: Love and Thunder looked like it was permanently filmed against a green curtain, Vol. 3 has a textured creativity to its sets – digital or otherwise.
This gives the swinging fists, crashing ships, and blaster pulses all the more satisfying wallop. Gunn’s frequently chaotic sequences keep the film on a giddy panic setting.
As always though, the essential ingredient that ties the Guardians movies together is its characters.
Each of the regular cast get their moment to shine but Karen Gillan and Dave Bautista (as Nebula and Drax respectively) particularly grasp the opportunity to round out their character arcs. This isn’t an ‘end of the world’ threat we are dealing with. It’s the potential death of a friend.
Through all the crazy locations – living fleshy space station, anyone? – Gunn keeps us always grounded by the desperation of his Guardians to not lose someone close to them.
The finality of ending is a huge boon to the power of gravitas. For those who have watched the Guardians in their various adventures against genocidal finger clickers, magical power-stone hunting dance agitators, and planetary celestial spawners, Vol 3 is an ending that rewards and respects the time you have spent with them.
The Guardians movies have always been apart from the MCU thanks to a knowingly goofy tone, but such previous levity gives the sombre and emotional gut punches of Vol.3 all the more pathos.
As it washes over you the song may be familiar, but in this moment such music marks bittersweet parting.
Words by Mike Record
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