At this point, we have come to expect certain things from an installment in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. There will be music, quirky humor, and characters who realize that family can be found in the most unique places. But what makes Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 unique is its focus on Rocket. As teased in the trailer, we see flashbacks to his youth as we understand the tragedy that has been alluded to since the beginning. As it turns out, this was an excellent, but heart-wrenching choice.
Some things should be mentioned off the bat. Despite the film being about family, this is the least family-friendly film in the MCU. There are some scenes and moments that are hard to watch. It is a testament to the writing and direction that we care enough that we want to look away when some of our friends are being abused, but it also results in an uneven tone. The difficult moments segue into moments of humor in a less-than-seamless way.
While the movie is focused on Rocket, the rest of the Guardians all have their moment in the spotlight, which is great as we end this chapter of their journey. While the film wisely focuses on the characters whom we need closure with, it comes at the cost of newer characters not getting much screen time. You may leave the film a bit unfilled in terms of how little time you get to spend with Cosmo or some of the other characters. Hopefully, the MCU will find a way to bring them back so we can get our fill of them as well.
The action scenes and visual effects are expertly crafted. The action ranks among the best in the MCU, which is able to be exciting and clear through the various set pieces that are peppered throughout the experience. The performances of the non-human characters are superb. The film is built on them, and the artisans that crafted them are at the top of their craft.
Due to circumstances that nobody could have anticipated, we have waited longer to reunite and say goodbye to the Guardians of the Galaxy. While it is clear that this is the end of this chapter, this finale does not have the perfect closure of Avengers: Endgame. But what we do get is a moving story about Rocket and the lengths his found family will go to in order to give him the justice he never thought he would get.
While the film may be uneven, the journey is an important one for any Marvel fan to take. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 provides new insight into the entire saga. Beyond Rocket, we get to understand our friends in new ways, which makes a rewatch of Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and the Holiday Special next up in your Disney+ queue. Thank you, James Gunn, for showing how the boundaries of the MCU can be pushed to make something special while giving the studio the confidence to continue trying new things. The MCU is better for having had his work, and DC is lucky to have him in the future.
While Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, may be the weakest in the trilogy, it is a great send-off for the band of misfits. And while James Gunn may be moving on, we can hope that we will see some of this world again in the future. The desire to return to the world is all the evidence you need to see how successful the films were.