Beginning after events of the aforementioned Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas Special that was released on Disney+ late last year, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 finds the team having since established established their headquarters on a rebuilt Knowhere.
At the same time, Peter is having a difficult time dealing with the loss of his version of Gamora, who was killed by Thanos in Infinity War. But as he attempts to process his loss, the team is attacked by Adam Warlock, and Rocket Raccoon is wounded in the resulting battle.
From there, it’s soon discovered that an evil organization from Rocket’s past, OrgoCorp, has returned in the hopes of kidnapping the talking Raccoon in order to acquire a certain bit of information he has in his possession.
Refusing to let their their friend suffer at their hands, the team soon travels to the group’s headquarters, the Orgoscope, in the hopes of finding a way to override Rocket’s kill switch and save his life.
However, the team gets far more than they bargain for once they realize that they know nothing about the person who they have called their best friend for years.
As with every discussion of the MCU, the elephant in the room is the fact that the quality of its films have stagnated. Once praised as some of the best blockbusters around, the shared cinematic universe is now known for being not good enough to be great but not bad enough to be terrible, albeit with a few exceptions.
That said, Vol. 3 is excellently average for casual moviegoers. However, if you are a fan of the comic books, there may be a lot of things in this movie that you’ll take exception to.
Let’s start with Adam Warlock. Adam Warlock was teased at the end Vol. 2, which led fans to believe that the golden-skinned cosmic entity would play a major role in Infinity War and Endgame like he did in the comic book story that inspired them.
But when all was said and done, they instead found that the character had been left out completely, leaving many to question what was even the point of establishing him in the first place.
Unfortunately, Warlock’s portrayal in this film won’t make things any better. Like many of the male characters in this movie, he is portrayed as a complete and utter idiot.
His introduction makes it seem like he’s going to be a formidable challenge, only for his heat as a villain to be immediately sucked out of the room within the first 20 minutes. Ultimately, Warlock is reduced to an overgrown child who’s barely more intelligible than Drax the Destroyer.
As for the plot, it turns out to be nothing more than a series of conveniences. In fact, it only works if you can accept that despite being a team for almost ten years, Rocket told none of the other Guardians about his origin story.
The film’s villain, The High Evolutionary, is portrayed as a mad scientist who wants to be God. Meanwhile, his design makes Chukwudi Iwuji look like yet another version of Kang the Conqueror – and I won’t be the only one to notice that considering we just met the latter villain three months ago.
Further, in spite of its $250 million production budget, Marvel Studios’ signature rough visual effects work is present throughout the film. While some scenes have great detail and look great for an outer space opera, others look down right unfinished.
The series’ trope of playing classic music throughout the film is alive and well, and Vol. 3 doesn’t spare any expense in licensing big name artists for its soundtrack – especially when it comes to the Beastie Boys, as their discography seems to have become to go-to song catalog for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (see The Marvels trailer for reference).
Because this is a Gunn film, it was expected that would be a ton of dumb gags that would undercut what was setup to be a particularly serious.
While the director doesn’t go full Taika Waititi, the overall juvenile nature of his film tends to lessen the blow of its more sincere moments. The thing is, you need them for this film to work. Your overall enjoyment of this movie is going to be based on what type of MCU fan you are.
If you’re a casual popcorn moviegoer who just wants to waste two-and-a-half hours of their time, Vol. 3 is decent enough to leave you satisfied in that regard. If you’ve watched all 32 MCU films an you’re looking for motivation to keep moving forward, you’re not to get it from this movie.
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