Guardians of the Galaxy 3 may be the best film of the trilogy, with tons of action, pathos, and casual humor sprinkled perfectly throughout.
It’s one thing to create a silly comedy (see Spaceballs) and another to insert actual funny lines and sequences that do not detract from the overall seriousness of a film. From Mantis’ (Pom Klementieff) admission that she does not understand what Groot is saying when he says, “I am Groot,” to the unintentional goofiness of Drax (Dave Bautista), GG3 perfectly walks the line.
Lest anyone conclude that it is a mere light-hearted space romp, the film should be subtitled “The Tragic Life of Rocket Raccoon.” The rascally rodent is the focus of much of the movie as Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and the rest of the Guardians wage insane battles to rescue him.
In the process, we see the heart-rending story of Rocket, shown in more detail than has ever been seen anywhere, including in the Marvel comics. Bring your tissues.
Director James Gunn, who recently defected from Marvel to produce rival movies for Warner/DC, definitely left his mark on the Marvel universe on the way out. The scope of the film is insane, using an army of CGI technicians, actors and extras to produce a film that is almost overwhelming in scope.
These days special effects are expected to be spectacular, but Guardians even exceeds those expectations. And despite the flashy SFX, it is the characterizations of the Guardians that make the movie so memorable.
Of all the characters, Gillan’s Nebula has shown the most growth. In the past she was a minor player but now has become central to the plot and stepped up to possibly replace Star-Lord, if there are any future Guardians movies coming.
A fan favorite will be the hapless Cosmo, a dog that was callously launched into space by the Russians in the early 1960s with no hope of survival. In the film and the comics, Cosmo is exposed to cosmic rays in space and evolves human intelligence and telekinetic powers. The banter between Cosmo (Maria Bakalova) and Kraglin (Sean Gunn) is hysterical and will strike a chord with any dog owner.
The bad guy, the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), is based on his representation from the comics, but has a clearer mission. He’s evil for sure, but his motivation is more like a god’s will to create a new race of beings in his image. Unfortunately, he needs to dissect Rocket to do that, something no one else wants.
The much-anticipated appearance of comic favorite Adam Warlock was something of a letdown. No reflection on the performance of Will Poulter, but the character lacked the charisma of Warlock. He was mostly used as cannon fodder by the High Evolutionary.
By the end of the film, Star-Lord has undergone the most dramatic life-change and that’s saying a lot since all the Guardians are altered.
There is a mid-credit scene and a post credit scene that should be seen, though not as significant as most Marvel movie post credit scenes.