11-06-23 | A month after the release of Marvel’s sci-fi spectacular, we assess how the critics felt about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3, the final instalment in the popular franchise. Not only is it farewell to Star-Lord and his gang of galactic misfits, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 also marks the end of the line for director James Gunn. As most of you will know, he is currently developing the reboot of the DC Cinematic Universe as its new creative lead. Farewells all around, both fictitious and real!
Well, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 appears to be a film worth going out on. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 is arguably Marvel’s best theatrical release since Spider-Man: No Way Home’ said William Lee of Agents of GUARD. ‘It’s easily the best of the Guardians trilogy. Gunn hits all the right notes when it comes to humour, action, and pathos.’ After three films the franchise hasn’t lost its edge, felt Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com. ‘It defies a “product over art” aesthetic by being clunky and weird. It might sound silly to say a film is at its best when it’s less refined, but many recent blockbusters lack the human touch.’
That human touch is at the heart of this story. The film finally reveals the dark origins of Rocket Raccoon, as the Guardians race across the cosmos in an attempt to save his life. This leads them to the High Evolutionary, Rocket’s creator and a thoroughly unpleasant individual. ‘Getting through Rocket’s horrific origins helps build on his character and is more of a reason to love this cast of characters’ felt Mufsin Mahbub of All Ages of Geek.
‘It’s far darker than what you would expect from a Guardians film’ states Nicole Ackman of Awards Watch, who added that it led to ‘some issues in tone as it goes back and forth between the jokey banter of Drax (Dave Bautista) and shenanigans of Groot (Vin Diesel) and this more tragic storyline.’ Quite a few critics mentioned this apparent lack of balance. Kate Sánchez of But Why Tho, for instance, observed how ‘transitioning from the depth of these moments to the present day is sometimes choppy, partly in how the story cuts from one to another.’
Director Gunn is mentioned in practically every review, proving that an auteur filmmaker can overcome corporate mandates. Brian Tallerico sees Gunn as ‘that kid who is not only playing with his action figures; he’s pulling them apart and smashing them back together to make them into new creations.’ William Lee agreed: ‘James Gunn’s off-kilter sense of humour and visual inventiveness are on full display here. You know Gunn has pulled out all stops when the idea of the Guardians living inside the decapitated head of a Celestial seems completely normal.’ Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian poignantly concluded that ‘Gunn always brought energy and fun to his Guardians, and it’ll be sad to see them go.’
Read the full reviews here:
William Lee at Agents of GUARD
Brian Tallerico at RogerEbert.com
Mufsin Mahbub at All Ages of Geek
Nicole Ackman at Awards Watch
Kate Sánchez at But Why Tho
Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian