Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is here, and writer-director James Gunn has piloted the trilogy to a spectacular end. The misfit team of space antiheroes are back, and this time, their biggest challenge at the start of the movie is one of their own. While Gamora – some version of her, at least – is back with the team, she’s not their Gamora, not the one they loved. Instead, she’s another Gamora from a different timeline who has missed out on all the memories and experiences the other Gamora had. This Gamora is, as Peter puts it, “a total dick.”
Gamora isn’t their only problem, however. They have a few new antagonists on their tail, including the despotic and eugenics-obsessed High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) and the genetically-engineered perfect being Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), sent by their previous enemy Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), the arrogant Golden High Priestess of the Sovereign. A disastrous encounter with Adam early in the movie sends the Guardians on their way and setting up their most challenging test and highest emotional stakes yet.
Is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 a worthy send-off to our favorite band of misfit toys? Read on to find out – and get tickets here.
It Finally Explains Why Rocket Is How He Is
As teased by the trailers, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 finally shows Rocket’s backstory, and it is, unsurprisingly, a heartbreaker. Without giving anything away, Rocket’s past is so much more horrifying than even the snippets already shown in previous movies, which were themselves pretty horrifying. In the end, you fully understand why Rocket is the way he is, as sympathetic a character as any who has been introduced in the MCU.
More than confirming what we already guessed, however, Vol. 3 confirms something else we also always secretly suspected: the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy has always been Rocket’s story, not Peter Quill’s. Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill may be the team leader and the face of the group, but this is James Gunn we’re talking about. His interest has always been in the misfits, outcasts, and weirdos, perhaps because he himself has always felt a bit like a misfit, outcast, and weirdo. Of course, his trilogy would always inevitably gravitate to the biggest misfit Guardian of them all, the genetically engineered, deeply misanthropic raccoon (just don’t ever call him one). It’s not just fitting, but right that it should end like this.
The Action Is Spectacular
James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy has always been something set apart from the rest of the MCU. One part bombastic cartoon, one part grindhouse; one part rock-and-roll, one part ballad, the Guardians movies have their own unique flair. The same goes for their action sequences, which are about as comic book as any other franchise in the MCU, with Gunn clearly relishing and honoring the gorgeous splash pages of galaxy-focused comic books past.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 dials that up to 11, with some of the action setpieces being truly eye-popping. Admittedly, they’re sometimes a little too eye-popping – but it wouldn’t be a Guardians of the Galaxy movie without the action being as colorful and chaotic as the characters themselves. The closing movie of the trilogy is, as the first two movies have been, simply a blast to watch.
It Delivers The Most Genuine Emotional Stakes Since Avengers: Endgame
The heart of the MCU has always been its excellent character building, particularly the tight-knight and often complicated relationships between the characters. Found family is a strong theme that has always underpinned the cinematic universe, and no franchise exemplifies the concept of building a family with the people around oneself like Guardians of the Galaxy. The magic of the first three phases of the MCU was how invested we became in the characters, characters whose emotional challenges were gripping because of the time we’d put into them. With so many new characters being introduced, it’s been hard to feel that about Phase 4, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 reminds us of why we fell in love with the characters, this team, Marvel movies. You care about these characters. And they care about each other, sometimes to their detriment. But when it comes to the most dysfunctional but loving of teams in the Marvel universe, it couldn’t end any other way.