Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: A Review 

By Ethan Wise

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (GotG) can be summarized in two words; devastatingly bittersweet. But two words do not do this movie justice, so let me continue.  

There is no lousy element about this movie; the script is excellent, all the actors do a phenomenal job, and the set is superb, with practical aspects making a big comeback after being mostly absent from previous Marvel movies. I used to enjoy the big Marvel blockbusters, but since Avengers: Endgame, the movies have all felt the same; bland. Finally, becoming the “capesh*t” people were calling it before. But GotG Vol. 3 is pulling me back in. It did not set up any new movie or series; it was just a beautifully told self-contained story. 

The costume and set design are virtually perfect. I am a comic fanboy, so I have firm opinions on how the characters look, and the MCU does not have a flawless track record. For example, Ant-Man from the previous Marvel movie; is a perfect comic design, and it is being muddled up with unnecessary lines and visual garbage.  

So when I saw the team uniform for the Guardians, it was like a breath of fresh air. The comic look made in the real world. Simple and clean but still get the visual point across. All the costumes were wonderfully done, but just the simplicity of the team’s uniforms was all I cared about.

The sets are excellent as well. As of late, Marvel has been using green/blue screens to shoot their movies, which has problems. Most people can tell it’s a visual cheat that pulls them out of the film. In GotG, most sets are practical, and the difference is between night and day. Based on the sets and costumes alone, I love this movie. 

Beautiful cannot describe the story well enough. The movie focuses on Rocket Raccoon, which previous movies gave a peek at his backstory, but Vol. 3 gives us a complete look into him. During flashbacks, it is revealed that Rocket is an experiment by the High Evolutionary to make a perfect society. As a part of that goal, Rocket was operated on while awake, implanted with cybernetics, and thrown in a cage. His first word was “hurts” as he struggled to stand. That was the first of three times I choked up during the movie. Rocket is injured at the beginning of the film, and because of the High Evolutionary, he cannot be operated on unless a passkey is found.  So instead of the stakes being the world’s end, it’s all about saving one dear friend. While they are low stakes, it’s much more raw and emotional than anything else. Along with solid writing, the visual storytelling is on point. 

 The Guardians visit the High Evolutionary’s “perfect world,” much like ours; idyllic suburbs, random beatings, family, and drug deals. The High Evolutionary created his utopia, which is not good enough for him. He wants to raze the colony and build a new one, and that is when it truly sets in; he will never stop. Perfection does not exist, but he cannot understand that and will continue his cruel experiments and these heinous crimes as long as he lives. This is not a morally gray villain you can sympathize with. He is evil down to the core, with no chance of redemption. It feels good to hate this guy. 

Superhero movies deserve their fair share of criticism. Many are the same, inferior treatment of VFX artists working on them, no real story, just set up the next franchise hit. But not this movie. This beautiful story is about letting go of the past and being better. Superhero fatigue is a thing, but it does not apply to this work of art. 


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