Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 - A Spoiler Review

I was not prepared for this version of the Guardians to end, and after watching the film I am at loss for how the MCU is going to fill the void left by the loveable losers. I had never heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG) before the first film, and now they might be my favourite group. The entire team feels real, and I think James Gunn's version of the characters is the best version of the team in any media. The comic book and the animated depiction of the team was never as interesting as what James Gunn did with the team. Based on how the film ended I think it is safe to say that we will be seeing these characters again, but James Gunn's involvement is over (for now). James Gunn has turned himself into a major player by making the Guardians his own, but now that success (and Disney's mistake of firing him) has allowed DC and Warner Bros. to offer James Gunn a very enticing offer. James Gunn is now heading up the DC films with Peter Safran, and while I am excited for the future of DC films, I am also sad to see him time at Marvel come to an end. The three Guardians films is a high mark for Marvel, and after the Captain America trilogy it is my next favourite series. 

Volume three had everything we have come to appreciate about the series, it had humor, action and an abundance of heart. The film spent a lot of time exploring Rocket's origin in some truly upsetting and heartbreaking scenes. As someone who is an animal lover, it is always hard to watch animals in distress whether real or not. Seeing Rocket's backstory makes him seem like the star of the franchise. Peter Quill was the character who we followed, but it was Rocket who always managed to keep our attention. Rocket was a lot more guarded than everyone except Gamora, but Rocket had a heart as big as the rest. In the first film it was Rocket who was crying holding a branch of Groot after Groot sacrificed himself to save the rest. In the second film it was Rocket who stunned Gamora so that they all could live (except Quill). It was the best possible way to end the series with a focus on Rocket as he was the one character who we knew so little about. Throughout all of the appearances we learned about the other characters, but Rocket always remained a mystery until now. Rocket mentioned in the first film that he had a traumatic past, but seeing it made it all feel so much worse. The decisions made at the end of the film through me for a loop as I was not expecting them, and I still am trying to wrap my mind around it.


The film opens on Knowhere, which is now the home base of the Guardians who purchased it from The Collector. We see that Quill (played by Chris Pratt) is struggling with the loss of Gamora, and he is drunk again who is carried home by Nebula (played by Karen Gillan). At night Adam Warlock (played by Will Poulter) attacks Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and attempts to take him. Adam fights with the rest of the guardians who come to Rocket's defense, but Rocket is hurt by a blast from Adam. Nebula is able to stop Adam with a blast from her new and improved arm, but Adam is able to escape. Rocket is badly hurt, and when they try to use a medpack to heal him it doesn't work was Rocket has an explosive device over his heart to prevent anyone else from experimenting on Rocket. While Rocket is unconscious, we see a flashback as to how Rocket became Rocket. The High Evolutionary (played by Chukwudi Iwuji) experiments on animals to try and create a perfect species. Rocket is one step in the direction to create intelligent life with lower intelligence creatures. There were other attempts, but Rocket is the breakthrough that the High Evolutionary has been waiting for. Rocket is placed in a cage with other experiments, there Rocket meets Teefs a walrus (voiced by Asim Chaudhry), Floor a rabbit (voiced by Mikaela Hoover) and Lylla an otter (voiced by Linda Cardellini). 

The Guardians realize that they need a code to be able to remove the explosive device from Rocket's chest. There is a company that might possess the information needed so the team heads to Orgocorp's office to try and steal the information. Nebula has reached out to a contact for assistance, and the contacts is Gamora who is now working with the Ravagers. Quill has a mini breakdown when he sees Gamora, but he gets over it quickly because Rocket needs their help. The team infiltrates the office, but they are unable to get the information needed as someone has already removed it. Adam Warlock returns to his mother Ayesha (played by Elizabeth Debicki) where we learn that Adam was meant to kidnap Rocket and bring him to the High Evolutionary. Ayesha says that Adam is not fully developed as he was removed from his birthing pod too early. The Sovereign were created by the High Evolutionary who says he will destroy them if they fail to bring him Rocket. Before departing Orgocorp the Guardians figure out that the one who took Rocket's file works for the High Evolutionary, so they head to Counter Earth to find him. 

In another flashback to Rocket's past, we see Rocket helping the High Evolutionary with a problem involving his attempts to evolve primitive species. Rocket figures out what is going wrong, and he gives them help solving the problem. Rocket and his friends make plans for when they are moved out of their cages and to Counter Earth, but Rocket learns from the High Evolutionary that he and his friends will be killed since their job is done. Rocket seeing that the High Evolutionary is a monster plans to escape with his friends. On the escape attempt his friends are killed by the High Evolutionary who is then attacked by Rocket before Rocket escapes. In the present the Guardians reach Counter Earth where Gamora is tasked with watching over Rocket and Mantis and Drax are to watch the ship. Peter, Nebula and Groot head to the High Evolutionary's ship to find the henchmen who took Rocket's file. Nebula is forced to stay outside since she is a weapon, but Groot and Peter are brought into the ship as their visit was expected. Drax convinces Mantis that Peter needs help, so they head to the High Evolutionary's ship. 

While speaking with Peter the High Evolutionary sends one of his engineered henchmen to take Rocket back. Peter though has a surprise as Groot has stashed a bunch of weapons in his chest which they use to fight off the guards. They get the information from the henchmen before jumping out of the ship as it takes off from the planet. The planet is being cleansed so that the High Evolutionary can try again to create a perfect species. Drax, Nebula and Mantis jump onto the ship as it is taking off believing Groot and Peter are still inside. Gamora is attacked on the ship, and Rocket is taken but Adam Warlock arrives to take Rocket himself to the High Evolutionary so that the Sovereign will be spared. Adam drops Rocket and leaves when he sees the planet surface exploding. Peter and Groot get back to the ship in time to take before the planet's surface is fully devastated. Adam Warlock flies back to their ship after failing to save his mother, but he collapses before he can attack them. Rocket is saved by using the code they got to disable the device, and they used a medpack to heal him. 

Nebula, Mantis and Drax discover imprisoned children on the ship, but before they can rescue them, they are captured. Peter, Rocket, Groot and Gamora are going to rescue the rest of the team, but they need help, so they call Kraglin. Mantis, Nebula and Drax are place in cage with three abilisks (from Vol. 2), but Mantis is able to communicate with them. Peter attacks the ship from one side while Kraglin brings Knowhere and uses canons to disable the High Evolutionary's ship. Peter, Rocket and Groot board the ship looking for Nebula, Mantis and Drax. They find each other, but Mantis, Drax and Nebula want to save the children imprisoned on the ship. The team rescues the children and transports them to Knowhere, while the team takes down the High Evolutionary, but they let him live leaving him to survive the destruction of his ship. Adam Warlock is saved by Groot, and he then saves Peter who is trapped in space. After the battle Peter announces that he is leaving the Guardians to return home to see his grandfather, Mantis leaves to explore what life is like on her own. Nebula and Drax will look after the children leaving Rocket and Groot to lead the Guardians. Gamora goes back to the Ravagers with her and Peter realizing that she is not the same woman he fell in love with. The mid-credits scene finds a new group of Guardians featuring Rocket, Groot, Adam Warlock, Kraglin and Phyla (one of the children that was saved) saving a town. The end of credits scene involves Peter eating breakfast with his grandfather having a normal conversation about earth life as the tagline Star-Lord will return appears.


I still want to see the film again, but since I will not have the time, I am writing based on one viewing. I watched the first two films while also watching, Infinity War, Endgame, Love and Thunder and the holiday special so I was all caught up. So much happens after volume 2 that is essential to watch all of those appearances to understand this film. I do think the type of person seeing Vol. 3 is also likely to have seen all the previous films, and if they have not, I expect them to be thoroughly confused. When James Gunn initially was fired by Disney a few years ago it felt like a bad decision, and having to rehire him was humiliating for them. The firing though also caused fans to have to wait longer for the final chapter in the story, and while it was worth the wait, I wish the film had come sooner. Guardians has always been able to be different as the films are full of James Gunn style and humor. Gunn has insisted from before that Guardians was based around Rocket, and the final chapter is all about Rocket. The back story given to the grouchy raccoon was one of the most heartbreaking things in the MCU, and I might close my eyes in some of those scenes in further viewings. Gunn was able to give fans a reason to care about each member of the team even though Rocket was given the focus for the film. 

I was fooled by the trailers because I spent the entire film with my heart in my throat as I was expecting a big death (or more than one). Until the entire made it through at the end I kept waiting for a death, I am glad that everyone made it out alive as I am not prepared to lose any of them. Yondu's death in the second film and Groot's death in the first film still hit me hard to this day, and if Rocket or Peter died, I am sure I would have been in tears. A lot has been made of Dave Bautista saying he is done playing Drax, but I would not be shocked if he gets in the make up chair again. I thought Drax might have been a goner because of Bautista's comments, but anything less than heroic ending for Drax would have felt out of place. I was confident that Nebula, Gamora and Mantis were safe as their stories would not have been served with their deaths. The Door is open for every single character to return if and when Marvel/the actors want to. Star-Lord returning makes a lot of sense since Chris Pratt never said anything to make anybody believe that he was done after the third film. I could see Nebula, Rocket, Peter, Groot and Mantis all returning with Gamora and Drax being the characters left behind. I think Zoe Saldana has said she will no longer portray Gamora, so Drax and Gamora will be sidelined in the future appearances of the Guardians. 

I am going to give Vol. 3 a 9/10 as I think this might have been the best of the Guardians film. The action in Vol. 3 was the best of the series, and the humor was as good as the previous two film. Vol. 3 had a darker tone to it with Rocket's potential death hanging over it, but also the tragic nature of his backstory made it the darkest of the three films. I am always torn with how I feel about the first two films in the series. I think they are both great, but the first film will always feel special because of how James Gunn brought the MCU to another level. The ending of the first film with the dance off was not my favourite moment of the film, but apart from that it was amazing. In volume 2 I thought it was funnier, but the fight between Peter and Ego was boring, but the ending was saved by Yondu's sacrifice which sets up the very emotional end. Volume three had a better balance, and it had a better ending that was not as emotional as the first two, but the film had a better balance from beginning to end. Guardians Vol. 3 was worth the wait; it is the best film in the MCU since Spider-Man: No Way Home. There is now a six-month wait for the next MCU film (The Marvels), and while it seems like forever the Secret Invasion series on Disney Plus starts on June 21, so I only have to wait another month. I see myself getting one more theater viewing of Guardians, but I can only imagine it gets better on multiple viewings.

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