(L-R): Karen Gillan as Nebula, Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, and Dave Bautista as Drax in Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo by Jessica Miglio. © 2023 MARVEL.

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is a Dark And Heartfelt Conclusion

By: Robert Prentice

The Guardians are back in their third film, and what will be James Gunn’s last MCU film as he starts to lead the DC universe into its new era. Things are far from great for some Guardians and all of the emotions will be out as the crew faces new foes in a fight to save a close friend.

Our beloved band of misfits are settling into life on Knowhere. But it isn’t long before their lives are upended by the echoes of Rocket’s turbulent past. Peter Quill, still reeling from the loss of Gamora, must rally his team around him on a dangerous mission to save Rocket’s life—a mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians as we know them.


Our rag-tag team of guardians is back for what has been dubbed their final run. The third film in the franchise focuses heavily on characters outside of our main few that have been explored heavily in previous films, instead providing deeper insights into the past of one character in particular, Rocket. For a Guardians film, the story for Rocket and overall got a lot darker, and more emotional than I would have expected, but this change was a needed one for the franchise and also provided us our first f-bomb as well.

From a story standpoint, Vol 3 is dense, at 2 hours 29 min, a lot of stuff is going on. This isn’t the first recent Marvel film to be overly dense, Ant-Man was the same. We are introduced to a lot of characters and revelations that those who have not read the comics or already know the characters will be surprised by. The story does suffer the most from its villains. The film starts out with us first seeing Adam Warlock fighting the Guardians but we quickly shift to meeting the High Evolutionary. The narrative makes it clear who our main villain is in the story as we get further into the film (It’s not Warlock). Yet, the writers didn’t seem as sure how to process Warlock’s dynamic with the Guardians throughout the film, and his development, or my desire to care quickly burned out.

The laughs are plenty in this 2 hour + film, with all the same style of whitty punchlines you have come to expect. Even with those lighter moments of laughing, it’s mixed into a darker MCU story than one might expect. I would even venture to say between the F-bomb and a particular scene late in the film, it was close to an R rating. Still, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 delivered another iconic soundtrack mix with the fun banter of our crew and an expanded backstory to one of its more colorful characters. Even with the lack of a compelling singular villain who was evenly remotely menacing (compared to Thanos or Kang), the film brings to a close a chapter with these characters that has spanned 3 dedicated films and several more MCU appearances. What lies ahead for these characters remains to be seen, but as always stick around for several post-credit scenes.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is a dark and heartfelt conclusion for this team that brings laughs, tears, and an iconic soundtrack.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 hits theatres May 5th.


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