‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ film review: A mostly satisfying conclusion to James Gunn’s threequel

While the fun, laughter, and quips, set to jukebox favourites that made this ragtag MCU family a joy to hang with are all present and correct, there are some problems with the Guardians’ third outing 

May 05, 2023 04:47 pm | Updated May 09, 2023 05:51 pm IST

A still from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’

A still from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’

The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) detests the word ‘but’, it has a rancid note he says. Unfortunately, I need to use it. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is great fun; all the character arcs are completed and neatly tied up in bows; there is laughter, tears, heartache, heartbreak, a rocking soundtrack and a teeth-gnashing villain, but…

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Director: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Sean Gunn, Chukwudi Iwuji, Will Poulter, Elizabeth Debicki, Maria Bakalova, Sylvester Stallone
Run time: 150 minutes
Story line: The time has come for the Guardians to stop running and face their fears and destiny

For one, it is rather long at 150 minutes and then though the sets, spaceships, fights and stunts are imaginatively-staged and choreographed, there is a marked lack of shock and awe. Technology has turned us all into blasé viewers gazing blankly at the screen. The third strike against the three-quel is, of course, animal cruelty. The High Evolutionary’s awful experiments to make the perfect world are appalling; they are impossible to dismiss saying it is just a film because, of course, such things happen in real life.

Even Cosmo (Maria Bakalova) the space dog, is inspired by Laika, one of the first animals in space. The little mongrel was picked up off the streets of Moscow to fly aboard the Sputnik in 1957 and died of overheating hours into the flight. Sigh.

Well, back to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3… Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is drinking away his sorrows at losing his one true love Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) at the Guardians headquarters in Knowhere. The others, including Drax (Dave Bautista) who does not get irony or many other subtleties; former Avenger Nebula (Karen Gillan), Peter’s half sister; the empathetic Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and the tree humanoid Groot (Vin Diesel) are hanging out when a golden superhero Adam (Will Poulter) comes roaring in to kidnap Rocket (Bradley Cooper), the genetically-engineered racoon.

We now learn that Rocket was part of the High Evolutionary’s hideous experiments. Incidentally, director James Gunn has likened the High Evolutionary to a space version of Doctor Moreau, which sounds about right. Rocket is gravely injured after Adam’s attack and the Guardians cannot treat him as it would activate a kill switch.

The Guardians decide to steal the code to override the kill switch from High Evolutionary who now has a bee in his bonnet about Rocket, apart from looking to build the perfect species to populate his perfect planet. There is a great deal of comings and goings, a bizarre version of ‘50s America on Counter-Earth and interesting perspective shots.

The soundtrack this time around is not restricted to ‘70s pop anthems and includes Radiohead (‘Creep’), Alice Cooper (I’m Always Chasing Rainbows) and Bruce Springsteen (‘Badlands’). Statuesque Elizabeth Debicki has fun as High Priestess Ayesha (Adam’s somewhat mum) as does Sylvester Stallone as a Ravager. The mid and end credit sequence shows the future of the new and old Guardians. All signed, sealed and delivered, but…

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ is currently running in theatres

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