Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 is very much a definitive end to the trilogy, although these films are regularly lucrative, so who’s to say they don’t get the band together at a later date?
And despite being part of Marvel’s Phase 5, it steers clear of any connection with Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, so nothing to edit out later if Jonathan Majors’ eventual court cases have an unfavourable outcome.
In this review, I will assume you’ve seen the previous two Guardians films along with the 2022 Holiday Special, as well as course, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. And if you don’t want ANY plot details at all, well, read another review…
The opening credits segment features Rocket (Bradley Cooper – Thor: Love And Thunder) singing along to a radio-friendly version of Radiohead’s Creep (this is a 12-certificate film, after all), so while it’s a great track, the credits scene isn’t a patch on the 2014 first film‘s scene of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt – The Super Mario Bros Movie) dancing along to Redbone’s Come And Get Your Love, or particularly – and one of my favourite opening credits scenes of all time – the 2017 sequel showing Groot dancing to ELO’s Mr Blue Sky, while a whole lot of monster-bashing hullabaloo goes on in the background.
As I mentioned, I will list some plot elements – although I won’t go into massive detail – but there’s some parts you just can’t get around. And the first of these is that Adam Warlock (Will Poulter – Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?) is created and sent by Ayesha, the High Priestess (Elizabeth Debicki – Tenet), to crash-land on Knowhere, where the Guardians currently reside. As such, it puts Rocket’s health in a critical condition.
But he’ll be fine in the end, right? Since he’s a popular character, and Marvel always have more films to make with the same characters, even if they aren’t Guardians-centered ones? Or because it’s a trilogy, will they take a stand by bumping someone off who you’ve been following for almost a decade?
Well, you’ll have to watch to find that out, but in James Gunn’s script, it does feel quite stupid that in order to attempt to save Rocket’s life, the gang will go from A to B to C to D, etc, having plenty of random fights and shoot-outs, during which countless others will die. Film scenes like that just don’t sit right with me because they’re just ridiculous in the plotting. I know a lot of these people are just tertiary characters you’re not meant to care about, but it just does feel like stupid and lazy scriptwriting.
In fact, it feels more like Gunn put more effort into his contraversial tweets from many moons ago, which led to him getting kicked from the project, before Marvel soon hired him back, because revenue.
Of the rest of the cast, it doesn’t take much to sum up what each of those do. For Mantis (Pom Klementieff – Uncut Gems), she revealed to Peter in the Holiday Special that she’s his sister. And for Ms K, I see her nickname is The Pominator. For me I was referred to as The Dominator at Uni, so we’re clearly well-matched!
Because of the events of Avengers: Infinity War – as well as for reasons I’ve forgotten – Gamora (Zoe Saldana – Avatar: The Way Of Water) is not the same Gamora which was in a relationship with Peter. Can he woo this one around back to the way he remembers things?
However, Drax (Dave Bautista – Knock At The Cabin) doesn’t have much to do beyond laugh and beat people up, Nebula (Karen Gillan – The Party’s Just Beginning) spends her screen time just growling at her sister, Gamora, Groot (Vin Diesel – Fast And Furious 9) repeatedly says “I am Groot”, Kraglin (Sean Gunn) is still learning how to whistle his magic arrow to do what he wants, and when it comes to Chukwudi Iwuji (The Split) as The High Evolutionary, maybe in the script and the original Marvel character, he might’ve been menacing, but for the project he’s trying to complete in this film, he hams it up so much, his character may as well just be called “Shouty Black Man”.
For each of Gunn’s trilogy, there’s at least 20% that could be cut out of each one, if not more.
But then this is mostly Rocket’s film, also showing his beginnings when he was holed up in a laboratory, with dreams of escaping, alongside otter Lylla (Linda Cardellini – A Simple Favour), walrus Teefs (Asim Chaudhry – Inside No.9: Love Is A Stranger) and rabbit Floor (Mikaela Hoover). Did they make it? Well, again, you’ll have to watch it to find out.
I saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 in IMAX 3D. Oddly, only 2 or 3 performances on that screen, at Vue Printworks Manchester, were actually in 3D, compared to Avatar: The Way Of Water, which was 3D only. However, for anyone watching it in IMAX, whether 2D or 3D, the screen opens up from 2.39:1 to 1.90:1 throughout – like Doctor Strange And The Multiverse Of Madness – and it certainly benefits from that, to the point where I can’t see 2.39:1 being an acceptable alternative.
I can’t say the 3D was groundbreaking or stand-out in any way. It was simply to add some basic depth, without going above and beyond in any scenes, which was a shame. I saw the first film in IMAX 3D, which occasionally opened up to 1.90:1, although I only saw the second one in a 2.39:1 cinema and in 2D, and I could tell there were some scenes with elements on which I was missing out.
Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 is too long (at 2hrs 30mins), has a threadbare plot and doesn’t make much use of many of its key characters – so it’s severely lacking in many respects. However, there’s enough in it to make it worth the trip, although it’ll always look better in the 1.90:1 IMAX ratio, than in 2.39. Also, the simps are going to go and see it anyway, especially when Gunn will fix holes in the plot by cramming more tunes in to distract you, such as Rainbow’s Since You Been Gone, Faith No More’s We Care a Lot, Beastie Boys’ No Sleep Till Brooklyn and the best of the lot, The The’s This Is the Day.
Plus, as always, there’s far too many characters to keep track of, so seeing it again – and with subtitles for some of those weird-named individuals – would help, even though I’m not in a rush to see it again so soon.
In fact, when it comes to talking about characters, Elizabeth Debicki and Will Poulter’s roles were pretty much surplus to requirements, and only served as basic plot devices when other ways could’ve been found to achieve their outcomes. That said, Poulter’s character throws in more crash-bang-wallop than that way could’ve gone, so that’s why they’ve done it.
There’s a mid-credits and post-credits scene, which I’ll hide behind a spoiler header, but before I go into detail, I will say that since Vol.2 featured FIVE mid- and post-credits scenes, James Gunn has become a right lazy-ass, only giving us one of each, this time. Below, I’ll also mention one character who pops up briefly during the film. It’s not a plot-spoiler, but some people may not want to know before they go. So, here goes:
Running time: 150 minutes
Release date: May 3rd 2023
Studio: Marvel Studios
Format: 1.90:1 (IMAX version); 2.39:1 (Dolby Vision, Redcode RAW (6K, 8K))
Cinema: Vue Printworks Manchester
Director: James Gunn
Producer: Kevin Feige
Screenplay: James Gunn
Music: John Murphy
Peter Quill / Star-Lord: Chris Pratt
Mantis: Pom Klementieff
Gamora: Zoe Saldana
Rocket: Bradley Cooper (voice)
Drax: Dave Bautista
Nebula: Karen Gillan
Groot: Vin Diesel (voice)
Kraglin / Young Rocket: Sean Gunn
Adam Warlock: Will Poulter
The High Evolutionary: Chukwudi Iwuji
Ayesha, the High Priestess: Elizabeth Debicki
Cosmo: Maria Bakalova
Ssssaralami: Sarah Alami
Hoobtoe: Jasmine Munoz
Orloni Peddler: Giovannie Cruz
Recorder Theel: Nico Santos
Recorder Vim: Miriam Shor
Baby Rocket: Noa Raskin (voice)
Lylla: Linda Cardellini (voice)
Teefs: Asim Chaudhry (voice)
Floor: Mikaela Hoover (voice)
On-Set Groot / Phlektik Guard: Austin Freeman
Steemie Blueliver: Stephen Blackehart
Xlomo Smeth: Terence Rosemore
War Pig: Judy Greer (voice)
Behemoth: Reinaldo Faberlle (voice)
Stakar Ogord: Sylvester Stallone
Mainframe: Tara Strong (voice)
Krugarr: Jared Gore
Martinex: Michael Rosenbaum
Beardy Ravager: Elan Gale
Molly Ravager: Molly Quinn
Fitz-Gibbonok: Gerardo Davila
Blurp: Dee Bradley Baker
Humanimal Turtle Experiment: Hanna Pak
Administrator Kwol: Jennifer Holland
Master Karja: Nathan Fillion
The Boss’s Nephew: Kyle Mclean
Bletelsnort: Benjamin Byron Davis
Yondu: Michael Rooker
Lamb-Shank: James Gunn
Grandma Quill: Karen Abercrombie
Grandpa Quill: Gregg Henry
Howard the Duck: Seth Green (voice) (uncredited)
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.