Family and friendship win: A High Five review of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”

by Patricia Yap
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3
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Almost nine years ago, Marvel Studios took one of their franchise’s riskiest leaps with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy (GOTG) – a not so popular title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Lo and behold, GOTG became a box office hit. Fast forward to May 2023, just a couple days in May, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 premiered in cinemas worldwide.

SEA Wave Pop Culture Magazine and COMCO Mundo League of Enterprises recently hosted an exclusive special screening of the film, and we can confirm that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has big shoes to fill after this.

Here is our quick High Five review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

A simple yet heartfelt plot

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 still

Photo from Marvel Studios

The movie begins with the Guardians minding their own business aboard Knowhere (the severed head of a dead celestial that now hosts a mish-mash city) when suddenly an unidentified enemy attacks. During the intense battle, the golden-skinned, human-like enemy by the name of Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) deals a critical blow to Rocket’s (voiced by Bradly Cooper) heart.

The Guardians immediately take action to rescue their dying friend. They quickly find out, however, that Rocket’s heart cannot be operated on until a kill-switch embedded in his body is deactivated using an unknown passcode.

A few minutes into the movie, the plot becomes clear: Locate the passcode and save Rocket.

Time and again, sci-fi, action, and superhero movies have centered their plot on object-retrieval stories. What makes GOTG Vol. 3’s plot a tad different is that the object in question is not something to be used to gain more power—the usual trope. What they need is something to save a dear friend.

Now you might be thinking, don’t other movies share the same story? Correct, they do. However, GOTG Vol. 3 is heartfelt and emotional compared to other films. Throughout the journey, Rocket’s past is revealed bit by bit, not only to us audiences but to his fellow Guardians. And the way his dark backstory is delivered effectively tugs at the heartstrings, making viewers feel even more tense, angry, and sympathetic.

In fact, viewers who have never watched the previous GOTG films will probably be unable to fully understand why the rest of the Guardians care for Rocket and each other so much; they haven’t witnessed their bond. But in GOTG Vol. 3 that understanding reaches remarkably close. Such viewers are virtually outsiders to the Guardians’ will and efforts, much like in this universe’s version of Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) who has no memory of her time with the team, does not understand why they are trying so hard yet eventually arrives to realization.

Some trigger warning might have been necessary (TW: Animal Cruelty)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 still Rocket

Photo from Marvel Studios

Marvel movies are action-packed but never graphic. In GOTG Vol. 3, some scenes might be too much for some people, especially animal lovers.

As more and more of Rocket’s origins are revealed, we find out he is one of many animal experimentations created by the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), a God-like figure hellbent on creating the perfect replica of earth with the perfect set of inhabitants. While Rocket turns out normal-looking, the rest of his soon-to-be animal friends do not. Inside cold steel cages, we see critters such as an otter with limbs replaced by metal rods, a bunny without seemingly any physical function morphed with motorized spider legs, and a walrus with tubes and metal chunks all over its body, hoisted on a wheelchair.

Many viewers understood that this was included to prove that the High Evolutionary was unquestionably evil. It also made for heartbreakingly believable characters we could empathize with and cry for. Usually, characters that are animals or have animalistic qualities come off as comical and cute. In GOTG Vol. 3, director James Gunn made sure we saw these animals as real animals with deep emotions.

Overall though, a trigger warning would have saved a lot of audiences from some discomfort.

Saving oneself

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 still

Photo from Marvel Studios

As much as GOTG Vol. 3 was about rescuing a friend in need, it was also about the Guardians’ individual journey of saving themselves—not just in this third installment but throughout the years-long trilogy.

According to Gunn in previous interviews with several media outlets, GOTG Vol. 3 is “not about saving the universe – it’s about the Guardians saving themselves”. Gunn is right. For those who have yet to watch the earlier GOTG movies (you should), the narratives actually uncover the origins of some of the Guardians, such as Star-Lord, Gamora, and Nebula (Karen Gillan) and just how much trauma they have gone through growing up.

These narratives, although set in intergalactic worlds ruled by ridiculous powers, are still relatable here on plain, good old earth. We have all experienced hardships and heartbreaks at some point, and the Guardians’ are not as different. With each GOTG movie, the characters understand and process more profound pieces of themselves that they would ultimately use to evolve towards their better versions.

In GOTG Vol. 3, it is Rocket’s turn, and I am so pleased that this installment delivered his story, alongside his friends, in the most honest way that it did.

Simply entertaining and funny AF

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 still Star Lord

Photo from Marvel Studios

Past the emotional rollercoaster of a story, GOTG Vol. 3 was quite frankly entertaining and funny. Recent films from Marvel Studios are sprinkled with well-timed banter and goofy antics to lighten the air; GOTG Vol. 3 was no exception.

From beginning to end, there were scenes that had audiences at the cinema laughing, such as when the Guardians stop and stare at something idiotic Star-Lord or Drax (Dave Bautista) said or vise-versa when Gamora gets baffled at Groot’s (voiced by Vin Diesel) lack of dialogue. Even one of the enemies, Adam Warlock, was not someone you could get genuinely mad at as his character was fun to watch despite being a bad guy.

The otherworldly places the Guardians visited with the extras they met along the way were not simply colorful, visually appealing but a hoot. GOTG Vol. 3 definitely does not shy away from the comedic triumphs of its predecessors.

Friendship at its core

Last but not the least the theme of friendship. What was everyone fighting for if not a friend? Much like its first two installments, GOTG Vol. 3 holds the theme of friendship at its core. No matter the mission or plot, the Guardians and the rest of the people, aliens, and creatures they work with struggle and sacrifice for each other.

GOTG Vol. 3 even introduced us to a new band of friends, Lylla the Otter (Linda Cardellini), Teefs the Walrus (Asim Chaudhry), and Floor the Rabbit (Mikaela Hoover), and Rocket. It was downright gut wrenching how sweet and full of positivity these four were together in spite of their circumstance. When things took a turn for the worse they never once considered leaving each other behind.

In fact, Lylla the Otter’s iconic line perfectly captured the essence of the GOTG trilogy: it’s really good to have friends.

The Verdict

If you are only looking for a fun, exciting, entertaining, and all-around appealing Marvel movie without stressing yourself too much with complicated plots, timelines, and universes, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is for you. There is not much negative to say about this movie; many viewers can say the same. You can watch this movie even if you have not seen the previous two. You will certainly appreciate it more and understand its full potential if you do.

In conclusion, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is worth watching. More so with friends.

 

We give Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 a 4 out of 5 waves.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is still in cinemas globally from Walt Disney Studios.

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