Review of 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'

guardians_of_the_galaxy_3.jpg As a baby, Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) is a test subject of Orgocorp headed by the “High Evolutionary” (Chukwudi Iwuji) and implanted with technology that allows him to walk and talk. He exhibits a high order of intelligence and becomes friends with fellow subjects the inteligent otter Lylla (voiced by Linda Cardellini), metal-wheeled walrus Teefs (voiced by Asim Chaudhry), and metal insect-legged rabbit Floor (voiced by Mikaela Hoover). Attempting an escape his friends are killed but Rocket manages to get away. Years later the Guardians have established their base on the rebuilt “Knowhere” but are attacked by the super-powered being Adam Warlock, sent by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) empress of the Sovereign as revenge for stealing from her people. Rocket is seriously injured but cannot be healed due to a kill switch implanted by the High Evolutionary. The Guardians travel to the headquarters of Orgocorp to retrieve information on how to disable the kill switch in Rocket's file but end up on “Counter-Earth” where the end result of the High Evolutionary's experiments is a planet inhabited by sentient animals leading very human existences. The High Evolutionary escapes the Guardians as Counter-Earth is destroyed but Rocket still hovers close to death…can the Guardians save him?

An interesting film that fills in the details of who Rocket is and where he came from that touches on animal experimentation and cruelty, tugging on the heartstrings and serving as the perfect baddie for the Guardians. It is nice to see the focus largely shifting away from Quill (Chris Pratt) and more towards the origins of the least understood Guardian. Here there is a lot of attention to the personal aspects of the story as the Guardians fight for the life of their friend against, as is typical, overwhelming odds which makes it a much more emotional film than the previous ones. Indeed, the ending of the film will likely cause more than a few tears for many though it might not be the ending you expect.

As always, the special effects in Volume 3 look great with some incredible looking spaceships and habitats with the fun that is trademark in the series such as the Earth-like planet with humans replaced by animals in suits. This sense of fun does permeate the film which makes it great to watch though here with the always-present sense of real jeopardy as Rocket lies close to death. The famous quips are also present and the music this time includes songs from the 1990s, albeit most quite obscure.

There is a lot going on here and it does feel like the Rocket story is overly prolonged but it does help engaging us emotionally in his fate as it hangs in the balance. It shows us the devotion the Guardians have for one another, a devotion without question and without limits which perhaps makes the ending all that more poignant though the final words on the screen bring hope that this is not the end of the Guardian's adventures.

Fun, loud, and quite emotional, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is well worth seeing and seeing on a big screen to take it all in. Perhaps a bit overly sentimental it is true to the characters and the film looks great.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2023-05-14

Directed by: James Gunn

Studio: Marvel Studios

Year: 2023

Length: 150 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction

Other reviewed films by James Gunn: