‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ review: James Gunn’s reteam with Chris Pratt is a dud

I regret to inform you that the Guardians of the Galaxy as you know them are dead. What’s inside Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 they’re flickering remnants of fun moments, but mostly unabashed shit.

After bouncing back to the DC Extended Universe for the chaotic sequel The Suicide Squad, writer/director James Gunn is back with the superhero movie series that brought the Marvel Cinematic Universe to life. By 2014, a string of suspenseful yet oh-so-serious superhero movies (your Iron Mans, Thors, Captain Americas) had made this franchise a tense, weepy space. The Guardians of the Galaxy entered the MCU as rock-loving Russians who were unapologetically crude and goofy. But subsequent sequels and Avengers tie-ins haven’t just killed Gamora, they’ve killed the chaotic charm that made this motley crew of Marvel a blast.

What is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 About?

Guardians running around in colorful spacesuits

Credit: Marvel

With Gamora introduced Avengers: Infinity War, the surviving Guardians hold out at their headquarters in Knowhere, where a Peter “Star-Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt) is throwing a pity party, complete with drunkenness and a miserable soundtrack. Forget the bouncy pop mixtapes of the 60s, 70s and 80s that defined their rogue appeal. Radiohead’s “Creep” is what opens this Guardians movie, along with an animal abuse sequence. And there will be much more of this particularly traumatic element throughout the film.


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Written by Gunn, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 pits Peter and his crew on a quest to rescue Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) from the mad scientist who created him, The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji).

After an attempted kidnapping by highly evolved kidnapper Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), Rocket is mortally wounded. Despite Peter’s angry attitude, the Guardians must band together to pull off a series of heists to retrieve the McGuffin that can save Rocket’s life. Along the way, they’ll encounter familiar friends and foes, including Gamora (Zoe Saldana) from another timeline, who has no history with Peter and the Guardians and therefore considers him a pathetic sex pest who keeps the trauma poured out. her at every opportunity. (Fair!)

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 it ruins their fun formula.

Zoe Saldana as Gamora

Credit: Marvel

Where the first film had a fun push and pull between the boisterous Peter and the teasing Gamora, the third has a Peter who is justified but annoying. Who could blame this Gamora for confronting whenever she’s around?

Meanwhile, most of the other guardians are forced into caretaker mode, constantly tending to Peter in a way that spills increasingly sad dialogue about loss. Of course, post-Snap we’ve seen many of the Avengers and their henchmen struggle with grief. But how many movies (and TV shows) does Marvel expect us to put up with? At some point, it’s just a chore. And this point is here, where not only is Peter a jerk, but Rocket, the comic relief of the wicked tongue, is in a coma for most of the movie. When he’s not, he’s experiencing flashbacks to a traumatic childhood that’s aggressively violent and so tragically tragic that parents might think twice about bringing their kids to it.

With Rocket on the sidelines, his best sidekick, Groot (Vin Diesel), finds himself adrift with the feeling of saying, “I’m Groot,” over and over again. And the joke has become stale. Meanwhile, Nebula (Karen Gillan) is busy being the nagging mother figure, dragging the dumbest, goofiest duo, Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff), into some form of plan. Although this leaves Gillan with little to do, Bautista and Klementieff are fantastic, bringing the most humor and heart to this superhero film.

While Peter and Mantis are siblings (exposition dropped as often as how Gamora is back in their lives), Mantis and Drax have great sibling vibes. They fight like children, passionately and irrationally. And it’s as light as this film dares to get. Even in their wide-eyed reactions, they’re charming, like when the new Gamora mockingly calls them “Bug and Doofus.” Where all the other Guardians are bogged down by Snap-related trauma, Mantis and Drax find just enough light to make this movie feel less dragged out. Fortunately, they are not alone in this.

Chukwudi Iwuji and Maria Bakalova bring verve Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3.

Dog in space suit

Credit: Marvel

Some of the newer faces in the MCU are welcome additions. On the one hand, Maria Bakalova, who broke out as Borat’s daughter Borat Later movie, lends his voice to Cosmo the Spacedog. A labrador-retriever mix in a CCCP spacesuit, she was launched on a test rocket never to return to Earth. But Cosmo has since acquired technology to help her speak English (with a thick Russian accent) i telekinetic powers that are quite fundamental. But his best contribution is a sweet, silly gag about his desire to be recognized as a “good dog.” It’s simple, silly and sublime.

Elsewhere, Will Poulter is delightfully mad as a himbo in the vein of the early Thor, and is a great balance to Elizabeth Debicki’s returning, jaded Ayesha. The Suicide SquadDaniela Melchior brings a sharp wit to a small role, as does Nathan Fillion, who starred in Gunn’s horror flick. swipe. But Chukwudi Iwuji stands out from the group of newcomers by giving us a villain that feels Disney in a good way. (As opposed to…)


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The High Evolutionary’s deal is wearily reminiscent of Thanos and Kang: yadda yadda perfecting the world by making it in their vision. In this case, it’s a bioengineer who has been turning mammals into mech-monstrosities, resulting in a scene that looks very Toy story, when Woody and Buzz end up in Sid’s misfit toy workshop. The premise of this villain and its appearance (which the film calls out as a blatant rip-off RoboCop) are meh. But Iwuji brings a volatile bravado that feels like a vintage Disney villain. Think Jafar, Ursula or Scar. At any moment, he could burst into violence or song! So whether he’s rhapsodizing about eugenics or casually deciding on genocide, he’s electrifying to watch.

Speaking of the genocide and eugenics of it all, again, parents might want to preview this PG-13 Disney flick before having offspring.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 it’s more slog than romp.

All the Guardians march in line away from a burning structure.

Credit: Marvel

Gunn’s films are usually known for zany humor, exciting action, and a slight edge that feels rebellious to Disney’s MCU machine. But here, much of the humor and edge is tempered by the depressing onslaught of death and torture. The violence is alarmingly intense for this brand. Characters are mutilated, set on fire, or have their bones broken, and a head is decapitated for comic effect. Maybe this mayhem would play better if the movie was funnier or at least less solemn. But as it is, it’s shocking and unpleasant to see so much graphic violence in a movie that was presumably meant for kids and parents to enjoy together. Essentially, Gunn seems to be reaching maturity through impact value and feel, and the result is gritty, not captivating. (Does this bode well for the future of DC movies?)

Likewise, the needle drops that once had rocking theatrics alongside Peter’s gorgeous playlist now feel haphazard and overlong, whether used for reflection or celebration. At two hours and 30 minutes, Gunn’s latest is painfully indulgent, engaging in slow-motion sentimentality more enthusiastically than the action sequences, which are so frantically cut as to be efficient but not effective.

To sum up, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 it’s a big disappointment. While some of its stars manage to shine despite a script that’s a black hole of sadness, the underwhelming action, convoluted plot and muddled score add dead weight rather than uplift. In the end, the credits come as a blessing, not a bane.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 opens in theaters on May 5.

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Ikaroa is thrilled to bring you a review of James Gunn’s much-anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Starring Chris Pratt reprising his role as Star-Lord, fans had high expectations for this follow-up to Guardians’ widely successful first two installments. Unfortunately, the latest installment is a letdown.

Bolstered by an accomplished performance from Pratt, the story starts out strong. The opening act is a much-needed injection of energy and drive, but the film quickly becomes muddled in a labyrinth of over-the-top and overwhelming special effects. What was once a simple and light-hearted romp quickly turns into a bloated, convoluted and uneventful production.

The action sequences, while visually impressive at times, lack the spark and ingenuity of the first two Guardians’ films. Moreover, while the special effects are relatively well done, they add nothing to the overall enjoyment of the film. The script also leaves much to be desired; the dialogue comes off forced and clunky in some areas and the characters, which were once so vibrant and loveable, have been reduced to caricatures of their former selves.

In addition, the comedic elements that made the first two installments so charming and endearing are almost completely absent from the third act. What was once a film dripping with humor is now disappointingly dry, leaving audiences unfulfilled and wanting more.

Ultimately, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a mediocre showing for James Gunn and Chris Pratt. While the actor’s performance does keep the film just afloat, it’s ultimately not enough to save what once was one of Marvel’s most beloved franchises. Here’s hoping future installments can redress the balance and reignite the spark that made the previous Guardians’ films so enjoyable.

At Ikaroa, we strive to provide the best possible reviews and insights for tech enthusiasts and cinephiles alike. As always – stay tuned for our upcoming reviews and insights!


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