One of my hottest takes as a critic is my disappointment in Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2. Unlike most people I didn’t care for the story, character choices or most of the other creative decisions. This still makes people angry for some reason and it was the beginning of my somewhat antagonistic relationship with superhero movies. They are without a doubt my least favorite genre to cover and if I could avoid them entirely I would. All that said, they are some of the biggest releasees of the year and this week we have our latest entry Guardians of the Galaxy vol 3. Would I leave underwhelmed like the 2nd or thoroughly enjoy it like the 1st? Well, Marvel fans can relax because I enjoyed this latest entry and consider it a big step up from vol 2. Let’s talk about it!
One of my favorite parts of vol 1 is the coming together of this rag-tag band of mischiefs to make a family unit. This is something lost in vol 2 with the team being divided and more concerned with individual stories than the group as a whole. This is not the case with vol 3. While they do become separated at times the focus is on helping one of their own, Rocket, and caring for each other as a family.
I also appreciate the comedy a lot more in vol 3 than vol 2. Most of the jokes in vol 2 revolved around Drax making fun of Mantis, which got old quick. Vol 3 has more variety in the topics of the jokes and gets everyone a chance to be light hearted and funny. It was also moving to see how Rocket came to be the smart aleck he is and how he became a part of the Guardians.
The production design is excellent and the action done well. We have some new characters like Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) and Cosmo the Spacedog (Maria Bakalova, who was in the Guardians Christmas Special but this is his first time in a feature film.)
Some people have said the plot is too messy in vol 3 but I didn’t feel that too much. If anything it was nice to see a movie in the MCU that sticks to its own timeline and doesn’t worry about building up other movies or characters. This is strictly about our core Guardians so I didn’t find it hard to follow personally.
Parents may want to use caution when taking their kids to vol 3. This is a strong PG13 with graphic depictions of animal cruelty, torture and some profanity. I also found the villain, the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) to be a bit shrieky for my tastes. You might say a little of that character goes a long way…
Those flaws aside Guardians of the Galaxy vol 3 is a moving story of the family you choose and how the trauma we experience doesn’t have to define us, but it is a part of who we are. The music is probably the weakest of the trilogy but it’s still fun and overall an entertaining return to form for James Gunn and his Guardians.
7.5 out of 10
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