‘Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3’ a Stellar End to Spectacular Trilogy

Photo courtesy of Disney

“Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3” is the latest film in Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marking the third and final installment of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” trilogy, James Gunn (“Slither,” 2021’s “The Suicide Squad”) has returned to write and direct after a brief hiatus from the franchise and ahead of his reboot of the DC Extended Universe in the near future. 

Fifteen years after the first “Iron Man,” Marvel has still proven to be the top of the line for shared cinematic universes on film.

Taking place chronologically after the events of “Avengers Endgame,” Peter “Star Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”) is trying to reconcile with Gamora (Zoe Saldana, “Avatar: The Way of Water”); who is now part of the Ravagers. 

Complicating things further is Rocket Raccoon (voice of Bradley Cooper) having a bounty placed on his head by the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji, “Peacemaker”), who is responsible for Rocket’s personality and abilities. 

The first of many flashbacks in the film’s 150-minute runtime is intercut with the acoustic version of Radiohead’s “Creep,” establishing it as the darkest of the trilogy. Gunn’s background in horror filmmaking makes the full extent of Rocket’s transformation as disturbing as it is dramatically effective.

While the film introduces a variety of new story elements and characters to the Multiverse Saga (supporting roles from Nathan Fillion and Will Poulter as Adam Warlock are standouts), the balance of creative action, offbeat humor and emotional weight from the previous installments in 2014 and 2017 remains in abundant supply. 

In addition to a rousing musical score from John Murphy, the soundtrack contains a wide range of songs from Rainbow’s “Since You Been Gone” to “In The Meantime” by Spacehog. Without spoiling anything, the film has a touching callback in a credits scene set to “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone.

With several cast members moving on to other projects and James Gunn rebooting the DC Universe of films, “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3” marks the simultaneous end of the trilogy and the end of an era. It’s highly recommended as the ideal start to the 2023 summer movie season. Come and get your love.

At a Glance:

Starring Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillian, Sylvester Stallone, Nathan Fillion and Will Poulter with Sean Gunn, Chukwudi Iwuji and Tara Strong

Written and Directed by James Gunn (Based on the graphic novel series from Marvel Comics)

Rated PG-13

My Rating: *****/5

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