Movie: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 3 Rating: PG-13, intense sequences of violence and action, strong language, suggestive/drug references and thematic elements
Release Date: May 5, 2023
Jeanne: In his final effort, writer/director James Gunn manages to bring his motley --- and highly-entertaining --- crew together again to try to keep their beloved Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) from the clutches of the uber-evil High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji). Beginning with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014), then succeeded by GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2, we have followed this endearing group of misfits as they repeatedly saved the galaxy. Now they are tasked with saving one of their own.
Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star Lord (Chris Pratt), is struggling since the death, at the hands of Thanos, of Gamora (Zoe Saldaña), who now reappears as her younger self. She obviously doesn’t remember Peter --- or their genuine love for each other. And Peter spends much of the movie trying to convince Gamora that they were great together.
But there are bigger concerns. The sudden arrival of Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), the golden child of Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), the golden High Priestess, in Knowhere, the Guardians’ place of refuge, causes great damage --- and puts Rocket’s life in mortal danger. The crazy and sadistic High Evolutionary wants his “creation” --- Rocket --- back so he can repopulate a planet Earth alternative with his very advanced form of animal.
For most of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 3, Rocket is on life support as his friends, Peter, Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), do everything in their power to prevent him from being captured by the High Evolutionary’s minions. Gunn uses this last chapter to tell Rocket’s origin story via flashbacks.
There are plenty of other interesting characters in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 3, most notably Kraglin Obfonteri (Sean Gunn), a member of the Guardians, Cosmo the Spacedog (voiced by Maria Bakalova) and a fun cameo by Nathan Fillion as Master Karja. I could have lived without seeing Sylvester Stallone again as Stakar Ogord, a Ravager.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 3 is chock full of adventure --- and fascinating special effects, as one would expect. At 150 minutes it’s about 15 minutes too long, with some of the battle scenes, particularly the last one, going on interminably. But the humor is present and there is plenty of cause for celebrating Gunn’s final episode of this trilogy.
Pratt has resuscitated himself after some recent poor performances and brings renewed energy to Peter. Saldaña is delightful as this new version of Gamora, especially when she is rebuffing poor Peter at every turn. And Iwuji is divinely over the top as the sociopathic “scientist” hell-bent on creating a special race.
If you’ve been a fan, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 3 does a splendid job tying things together and reinforcing our love for these diverse characters. Gunn has been masterful at keeping this Marvel Cinematic Universe superheroes team consistent --- and great fun!
Opinion: See It Now!
David: There are at least a couple of major developments in this third installment of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY which even I know not to reveal --- lest I incur the wrath of Marvel Cinematic Universe fans worldwide. On the other hand, if Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) were to actually smile in a film, is that news?
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 3 is a very entertaining movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Much of the humor, as fans probably know, lies in Dave Bautista’s character of Drax. Chris Pratt again displays his down-to-Earth qualities as the Guardians’ leader, Peter Quill. Sylvester Stallone has what is essentially a cameo as Stakar Ogord, while, for me, the main standout in the cast is Will Poulter as Adam Warlock. I will not try to describe the role of these characters in the story --- Jeanne can handle that if she chooses.
As a casual Marvel watcher, though, my reaction to the film is simple. It’s 150 minutes of tongue-in-cheek humor with some requisite battles thrown in. I was never bored. The female characters are fascinating in their makeup, costumes and conversation. Gamora (Zoe Saldaña), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Mantis (Pom Klementieff) with her eye-catching tentacles jutting from her forehead and Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) all have substantial turns. And of course, Cosmo the Spacedog (voiced by Maria Bakalova) is a treat to watch.
Naturally, Bradley Cooper is back as the voice of Rocket, the raccoon whose survival is in doubt in this sequel. And Sean Gunn plays Kraglin Obfonteri, while Chukwudi Iwuji is the movie’s villain known as the High Evolutionary. Loved Nathan Fillion’s cameo! Overall quite the imaginary tale from writer/director James Gunn.
Opinion: See It Now!