Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 | Review

2023. PG-13. 150 mins. Directed by James Gunn

When the Guardians of the Galaxy made their debut on the big screen in 2014 a lot of audiences were unfamiliar with the characters. Despite that the movie went on to be a huge success and spawned a sequel that went on to be extremely successful as well. We've now seen the Guardians in two Avengers movies, a Thor movie and they even had their own holiday special last year. Vol. 3 is the supposed finale to this team of Guardians and will be a send off for most of the characters. If this is the end for most of the characters they couldn't have went out on a higher note because this movie rules.

This time around we follow the Guardians as they are in a time crunch to save one of their own. Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) becomes badly injured at the hands of a new foe Adam Warlock (Will Poulter). When the team tries to tend to his wounds they find out they can't as Rocket has a mechanism inside of him that won't allow any medical work to be done to him with a pass key. The team will do whatever it takes to save their friend so they set out on a course to the place where Rocket was created. There they run into The High Evolutionary, the one who created Rocket, and he has other plans for the talking raccoon.

There are many people who think Phase 5 for the MCU has gotten off to a rocky start. While I did enjoy Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania it certainly wasn't without its flaws. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 sees the MCU finding its footing once again as this is without a doubt one of the best movies since Avengers Endgame. This is a perfect send off for these great characters and director James Gunn knows all the right beats to hit to make everything work effortlessly.

These movies have always walked a fine line between comedy, action and drama and this one continues to make that work with no problem. While the drama does get ramped up more this time around it doesn't stop the movie from having many laugh out loud moments as well as some fantastic action set pieces. The effects are top notch and are some of the best we've seen in the MCU in quite some time. Despite being two and a half hours you never really feel the runtime. There is never a dull moment throughout and the pacing works to the story's advantage making you want to see what's going to happen next.

Even though Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is the leader of the Guardians, this story mostly revolves around Rocket as we get to learn about his past and where he came from. This is where the real emotion from the story comes from as we see Rocket, as well as other animals, go through some pretty dramatic moments. With so much more focus on Rocket it allows Bradley Cooper to really shine in his voice performance and show that even without being on screen he brings so much to the character. Everyone else in the cast is bringing their all once again and they all get their moments to shine throughout. Since the runtime is longer than the previous movies more weight is given to each character letting them get more moments of drama and really letting us feel for the characters.

The villain this time around may very well be the best villain in the series. Chukwudi Iwuji as The High Evolutionary does a great job in his time on screen. This is a villain with a different motivation than we typically see in these kinds of movies and it's a breath of fresh air to see. My only major gripe with the movie in with the character Adam Warlock. While I do think Will Poulter does a fine job portraying the character he just isn't given much to do. He has a great introduction scene but throughout the movie he just feels like an afterthought and is maybe being set up for something in a later movie.

All in all, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a fantastic send off for such a great group of characters. It's got everything you would want out of a Guardians movie and it is sure to make you tear up in certain spots. Fans of these characters should be pleased and I would go as far to say that this is easily a top 10 movie in the MCU. I fully recommend checking this out once it hits theaters.

Rating: 9.5/10