Travel across the universe one last time to save a trash panda in our Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 review!
Since their debut on the big screen in 2014, the titular “Guardians of the Galaxy” have been the most beloved band of intergalactic idiots in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Starring Chris Pratt as the charismatic and chaotic Star-Lord, alongside the mammal madness of Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and the floundering flora of Groot (Vin Diesel), this unlikely trio of space adventurers truly captured the hearts of MCU fans.
With the sequel cementing several new members of the Guardians, including the brawny and brainless Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) as well as the femme fatale Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and ineloquent empath, Mantis, it seemed like the comedic planet-hopping journeys had only just begun for these loveable lunatics. But all good things must come to an end, and with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, director James Gunn returns to pull off one last heist.
They’re laughing at you, not with you.
Placing Rocket Raccoon at the centre of the plot and taking viewers through an emotional journey, Vol. 3 is riddled with comedy and blistering action. It’s a finale that well and truly goes out with a bang. So join us as we venture deeper into space, press play on our intergalactic iPods, and fly plasma-pistols blazing into our Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 review.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Review – Story
WARNING: minor plot spoilers.
Full of creeps and weirdos, the Guardians have established base in their very own headquarters in the outer reaches of space: Knowhere. Although in shambles and with their leader Star-Lord self-medicating in a drunken stupor over his loss of Gamora, this new civilisation of outcasts has finally found a moment of peace in a violent universe.
All the best adventures start with a drunken stupor.
And that moment is so rudely interrupted when a golden being comes hurtling into Knowhere with one unerring objective: to retrieve subject 89P13. This rapidly-advanced experimental organism holds the secret to unlocking the power of evolution. So what the hell is he doing here hiding out amongst these space dropkicks? Well, because 89P13 is none other than the fluffy and fearsome Rocket Raccoon.
Wait, so he was more than just a comic relief this whole time?
After a run-in with the golden boy himself, Adam Warlock, Rocket unfortunately takes a blast to the chest, leaving him but a few breaths from death. The remainder of the Guardians quickly rush to his aid, only to find Rocket is equipped with an internal security device requiring a passcode. Without this, he has no hope of survival. And the keeper of the passcode? The High Evolutionary – an immensely powerful being revered as a god across the cosmos.
Bad guy? No, this here’s a mama’s boy.
So the Guardians band together once again, this time united in their cause of saving their friend. Their journey sends them to the fleshy Orgosphere, an organic planet that houses the research that once formed Rocket into a highly-advanced killing machine. It’s there they meet friends, foes, and unlikely allies in their quest that sends the guardians again across the galaxy.
Like previous Guardians films, the plot of Vol. 3 takes no hesitation in ripping your heart out before sending it hurtling head-first into an explosion. With its balance of deep and emotive narrative, intense action, and mad-cap comedy, your emotions will be running wild through the ridiculous contrast between scenes.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Review – Direction & Acting
In keeping with the tone of previous Guardians of the Galaxy films, the finale in the trilogy is yet another playful jaunt that doesn’t take itself too seriously, except when it does. The movie flits between high-intensity action with gloriously choreographed fight sequences bordering on absurd, and then veers towards the complete opposite end of the emotional spectrum.
You’re gonna need pocket tissues for this one.
Despite its colourful persona and vibrant characters, this is the MCU at its darkest and most vulnerable. This is particularly due to a sub-plot that occurs through a series of gritty flashbacks, giving viewers insight into the origin story of Rocket Raccoon and his twisted creator. Some of these scenes are genuinely painful to watch, and manage to squeeze raw emotion from a CGI character unlike the series has ever achieved.
Like this good dog, Cosmo, animals play an important role in the film.
In complete juxtaposition, the film’s highest points are truly exhilarating. Vol. 3 scoops up generous serves of both action and comedy, delightfully blended together like two flavours of ice-cream beginning to melt and become one tasty, sugary slurry. The dynamic of the team feels better than ever, with every single actor delivering a performance that leaves truly embraces their characters.
Aah awkward unrequited love. The best kind of love.
And while Chris Pratt has certainly been a Hollywood poster child recently with his involvement in the box office-smashing Super Mario Bros. Movie, he well and truly retains the title of Star-Lord as his quintessential role. His performance and dynamic with the crew is easily its best yet, especially in scenes with Gamora, who he hopelessly fawns over despite being forgotten completely, making for some hilariously awkward (yet touching) moments.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Review – Visuals
Marvel is synonymous with CGI, so don’t be surprised that the vast majority of Guardians of the Galaxy has probably been filmed in front of a green screen. That being said, the environments, costumes, and characters look absolutely out of this world. The absurdity of the design is eye-catching and amusing simply through its own aesthetics.
Ever seen a planet with skin, hair, and even blackheads? Hold back your vomit.
You’ll be transported from the grunge-y punk rock interstellar space-ship of the Bowie (the Guardians’ skull-shaped base) to an disgustingly squelchy organic planet made from flesh and bone, then to a setting that seems familiar yet different. These environments really are a visual feast and are genuinely brought to life on the big screen in the best way possible.
Cool Groots don’t look at explosions.
And of course, the film goes all-out when it comes to its fight scenes, which are stylishly incorporated with its licenced soundtracks. Harkening back to that classic opening scene with Pratt dancing and fighting along to Redbones Come and Get Your Love, Vol. 3 features some incredible hard-hitting action moments that really do nail the beat.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Review – Audio
It just wouldn’t be a Guardians movie without a banger of a licenced soundtrack, and Vol. 3 delivers an epic playlist curated by the one an only Peter Quill himself. Veering away from the previous films which focused heavily on ’70s tracks, this updated soundtrack offers music that spans decades to appeal to all viewers. You’ll be treated to classic artists like Rainbow and Alice Cooper, ’90s hits like Radiohead’s Creep and Beastie Boys’ No Sleep Till Brooklyn, and even… Chopin performed by Vocaloid!? Yep, you better believe it. There’s honestly a bit of something for everyone in a soundtrack just as colourful as the film itself.
Yep, that’s Hatsune Miku singing Chopin alongside a canine chorus. I love it.
Disappointingly, the composer for the first two films, Tyler Bates, hasn’t been brought back to score the finale. His high-flying music and bombastic themes for the Guardians can still be heard, but instead now adapted by John Murphy (28 Days Later). The original score overall takes a back seat compared to the licensed tracks, which well and truly take centre stage.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the perfect send-off to our heroic team of loveable fools. Taking a more emotive tone than ever before, Gunn and the brilliant cast will have you on the verge of both tears and laughter in the same minute. There’s no denying that Phase 4 fell flat with many of its releases, but Guardians Vol. 3 will make you forget about all that and instead venture into one of the best Marvel films in recent years.
So, why should you watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?
- Looking for a loveable cast of characters at their very best
- Enjoyed the previous GotG films? You’ll love this one
- Excellent balance of action, emotion, and comedy (sometimes all at once)
- Yet another banger set of tunes that will be on loop in many car stereos
- Absurd and amusing environment and character design
But why shouldn’t you watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?
- Like your superhero films a bit more serious? You may not enjoy this one
- You only enjoyed the previous films for their ’70s tunes
- You’ve not watched any of the previous Guardians films
A media screening was kindly provided by Marvel AUNZ for the purpose of our Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 review. If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out more of our Marvel reviews and join the Qualbert Discord to chat with us about the latest film releases!