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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 – Hairy heroes, heartbreak and hilarity

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Rating: 9 out of 10.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Rating: 9 out of 10.

It’s been six-years since Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and I’m sure it’s been a long, strange trip for writer/director James Gunn, who was “canceled” by Disney, went on to DC’s movie universe (and is now in charge of it), but eventually came back to finish what he had started with the Guardians. It’s a fortunate thing for fans, because Gunn hits Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 out of the park.

In the interest of staying spoiler-free, I won’t get into details, but GOTG3 is the most epically out-of-this-world imaginative and original Guardians film yet, and that’s saying a lot. It’s so hard to choose a favorite out of the now 32 film large catalog of Marvel movies, but this one is definitely at the top end of the list.

The team ensemble is all back, including Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Kraglin (Sean Gunn), although Gamora does not remember the group’s history, thanks to the plot of the Avengers/Thanos films.

In this movie, Gunn brings more drama between the characters than the first two films, and in my opinion Karen Gillan delivers the standout performance as the cyborg, Nebula. But, the entire cast is wonderful – even the computer generated characters. One of my other favorites is the Russian Cosmonaut canine, Cosmo, who will make you think twice about how you treat your own pup at home.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

The villain this time around is The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), who is attempting to create the perfect world through eugenics. He’s like the super-powered, galactic version of H.G. Wells’ Dr. Moreau. I was just glad to see a new Marvel bad-guy that wasn’t multiverse oriented.

GOTG3 also introduces Adam Warlock, who is interesting, but nothing like I remember the character being in the comics. Here he is childlike, but with Godlike powers. Although he plays a somewhat pivotal role in the plot, he almost seems like an afterthought. I think Warlock fans will just be confused.

The story is equal parts heroics (including several hairy-heroes), heartbreaking drama, hilarious antics and witty dialogue. If you are an animal-lover, prepare yourself. This movie tugs at more heart-stings than a dozen Sarah Mclachlan ASPCA commercials. (I recommend bringing along a handkerchief.) 

The special-effects are first rate and jaw-dropping original. You’ve never seen anything quite like this movie. And there is a particular (I believe uncut) fight sequence between the GOTG team and a bunch of hybrid monsters that beats anything we’ve seen in a Marvel movie to date. THIS alone is worth the price of admission, even to an IMAX theatre on opening night.

Of course, the Vol. 3 mix-tape (soundtrack) is packed with incredible music, from several different decades this time, with most of it perfectly fitting the awesome visuals on the screen. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more overall entertaining film than this one.

This is allegedly the end-of-the-line for Gunn’s version of the Guardians (and Gunn at Marvel/Disney in general), and that’s a shame. I think the movie-going audience is going to sorely miss these fun misfits. I know I will.

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.