Guardians Vol. 3 and emotional journey and a heck of a ride

(L-R): Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Dave Bautista as Drax, Karen Gillan as Nebula in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

All journeys end. It’s a part of life, and often the ending can carry even more significance than what came before. For some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most loveable heroes, that ending comes as we kick off the summer movie season.

We’re going to be seeing a lot of familiar favorites return to the screen this summer, from Dominic Toretto and Ethan Hunt, to Optimus Prime and Indiana Jones. And yet we begin with a film I’ve long been anticipating, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

It’s been billed as one final ride with the Guardians as we know them. It’s a ride that began in 2014. It was a relatively lesser-known set of heroes who burst onto the scene in a James Gunn film. Now, these Guardians have been an integral part of the MCU for nearly a decade, producing three stand-alone films, a holiday special and serving as part of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: End Game.

Gunn, too, has moved on. He’s dipped his toes into the DC waters and now is set to lead that comic book franchises next phase. But first, we get our farewell to the Guardians. And plenty of pressure on how it would all end.

I won’t go too much into the plot here so as not to ruin the enjoyment. I’ll say only that this focuses on Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and his painful origin. It seems his creator, The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), is determined to get him back. He’ll use anything at his disposal, including Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) to do it.

The Guardians, meanwhile, are at a crossroads, looking for purpose. No one more so than Peter (Chris Pratt), who is still mourning the loss of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and her new form which doesn’t remember their time together. Can they come together, one last time, to stop the High Evolutionary and save Rocket?

I knew this would be a film where my emotions would be swirling. We’ve seen nearly 40 films in the MCU and, despite that, the Guardians have always been my favorite. I was excited to see the chapter and not ready for the journey to end. And yet, this film delivered. It’s fun, it’s a big spectacle and it’s emotional. But more than that, it’s satisfying.

I love Rocket and I love that in this film we get to understand him a little better. I also love the bond between Rocket and Peter and what that friendship has come to mean for both characters. We get some fun introductions. We get some crazy worlds, and we get some fun cameos from folks who’ve worked with Gunn before.

But the crucial thing is paying tribute to these characters and providing a strong ending. We get that here, too. I appreciate Gunn’s writing and style and that comes through, once again, with this film. It feels like a perfect end to this chapter for the Guardians, one that provides a satisfying movie-going experience and one of the better offerings in the latest phase of the MCU.

See Eric and I discuss the film on This Week at the Movies Here.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.


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