Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

When talking about the best trilogies inside the MCU franchise, the argument had always centered around the Captain America movies and the Spider-Man movies. After this weekend, there is another three movie trilogy that needs to be in the conversation and just may be the trilogy to take the mantel.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the wrap up of the James Gunn directed trilogy, arrived in theaters and brought so much emotions, so much great action, so much laugh out loud comedic beats that an argument can be made that this is the best film in the Guardians trilogy, which is saying a lot because I really loved Guardians 1 (and 2 I always thought got a bad rap from some).

Gunn brings to an end this variation of the Guardians of the Galaxy by providing each character in the ensemble their moment in the sun, bringing some outstanding character moments for practically everyone, while penning a film with the emotional core being Rocket (Bradley Cooper)

When something happens, the Guardians are forced to look into the background of Rocket which brings them into conflict with Rocket’s original creator, The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji).

I’m keeping most of the plot synopsis short and broad to avoid spoilers, because there are so many awesome beats for every character that I do not want to tip off anything for any viewer. Go into this with the expectation that this is going to be a rocking good time, that it is going to be dark, that Rocket’s past is heartbreaking and that the cast brings it.

Even though all the cast gets excellent moments, Rocket is the center of this film. Bradley Cooper once again brings this CGI creature to life and provides the raccoon with so much heart and soul. Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord, Karen Gillan’s Nebula, Dave Bautista’s Drax the Destroyer, and Zoe Saldana’s Gamora all receive some of the best performances of the trilogy in this film and they all get amazing story arcs that pay off huge, without falling into predictability or cliché.

Then, Chukwudi Iwuji as the High Evolutionary is one of the best “worst” villains in any Marvel film. He is so easy to hate. Unlike a lot of Marvel villains who become popular characters and whose plan are even potentially understandable (Loki, Thanos, Killmonger to name a few), The High Evolutionary is just someone that is an evil villain and his cruelty is showed in spades. Iwuji brings this monster to life in a remarkable way, and was consistently chilling.

I heard some critics complaining about the animal cruelty in the film, and there is no doubt that there are some horrendous examples shown, but it all pays into the character of the High Evolutionary and I think those people are just looking for something to complain about.

There are so many laugh out loud moments in the movie and it blends beautifully in with the melancholy aspects of the script. It seamlessly bounces between sad scene and humor effortlessly.

The music, of course, is always a highlight of a Guardians of the Galaxy movie as we receive a bunch of wonderful songs from the playlist of James Gunn. There are a couple of call backs too that make this feel like a perfect close to the trilogy.

That is the clear truth. This film closes the door on this iteration of the Guardians perfectly like few movies can, and it does it in ways that could not be expected.

There are so many emotionally powerful and satisfying scenes that I had tears in my eyes throughout. There were tears of sadness and tear of joy. I legitimately found myself feeling as emotional within the third act of this movie as I did with the third act of Endgame.

I have also seen a lot of complaints about the use of Will Poulter as Adam Warlock. I disagree with this analysis as well. I found Adam Warlock to be used exceptionally well in this film and he received a arc of his own. I can understand how someone who was a big fan of Adam Warlock from the comics might feel disappointed, but, to me, this is just the beginning for this character. The film version is different than the comic version and that is okay. If you bring your own expectations into a character, you can’t complain if they do things in a way that you did not anticipate. The character of Adam Warlock, as written here, works very well and allows the character a ton of potential for growth.

The design and the special effects are amazing. The film is full of color and spectacle.

I haven’t even mentioned Pom Klementieff as Mantis. This is easily the best she has been in any appearance so far. Nathan Fillion’s cameo that was so cheesy and fun. Sylvester Stallone making a return cameo. Groot (Vin Diesel) and his continued growth to tree adulthood. Kraglin (Sean Gunn) is trying to work through his own issues while having a funny running joke with Cosmo (Maria Bakalova). Linda Cardellini provided the voice for Lylla during Rocket’s flashbacks and that character becomes a favorite with really limited number of scenes.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a masterful end to one of the best (if not the best) trilogies in the MCU. I need to see this again, but I think the Guardians of the Galaxy may just be my favorite trilogy of the MCU and that this movie may be my favorite movie of this franchise, placing very high in the overall MCU list of films. It surpassed my very hefty expectations. Congratulations to James Gunn and all the actors of this franchise. I certainly wish Gunn all the success over at DC.

5 stars

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