Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the second film of Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as the final chapter of the trilogy of ramshackle galactic heroes led by Peter Quill and James Gunn, too, after some inconvenience, who has reached the end of his collaboration with Marvel Studios.
The future, for the director and screenwriter, is rosy and sees a command chair ready at the head of the next DCU under the wing of Warner Bros, but for now let's stop at this latest, funny, and moving adventure that he wrote and directed under the watchful eye of Kevin Feige and Lou D'Esposito.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the plot
Nine years have passed since Redbone's "Come and Get Your Love" resonated in the caverns of the abandoned planet of Morag, imprinting a profound mark on the collective imagination of the MCU audience. The protagonist of the scene is a then-unknown Peter Quill, a dancer and very far from the hero image that the shared universe had proposed up to that moment.
The Guardians have changed shape, after the tragic events of Infinity War and Endgame, and after a parenthesis of cohabitation with Thor, Star-Lord, and company have settled in Everywhere, where their headquarters are now.
While each of them tries to find the rhythm after the death of their original Gamora (the one that circulates in the universe now is just a version of her from the past), an unstoppable and mysterious force bursts onto the planet and seems to want to kidnap Rockets. However, he only manages to injure him very seriously and so he runs away, leaving the Guardians behind him upset and frightened: their friend is dying and so they decide to embark on a very difficult mission to save him.
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Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is proposed as a final part of a parable of growth and development that began in the cave of Morag. What James Gunn was able to do with his characters was just this, a precise, rational, and coherent journey in the formation of these heroes, for which all the sense of end, of conclusion that the film carries with it also coincides with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction, as each piece falls into its rightful place, even if it's not quite what we envisioned from the start.
From desperate and lonely outcasts, the Guardians find themselves like a real elective family, learn to be one, and finally understand how important it is to accept themselves and others as they are, in order to walk on their own legs.
What no Marvel hero has ever had
What distinguishes the Guardians from all the other characters in the MCU is that they are always told by the same head and therefore this narrative parable was possibly better than in other cases. None of the Marvel heroes who have benefited from their own trilogy has had the same opportunity to tell themselves in such an organic way, from a narrative and stylistic point of view, thanks to the constant presence of James Gunn who moves with great dexterity within the boundaries that Feige traced around it.
The result is a film that perfectly mixes and calibrates the moments of unbridled action with those relaxing and reflective, the sharp and increasingly foul-mouthed irony with the truly touching moments, and above all those dedicated to Rocket's past, the heroic component with that slob.
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And obviously, the music is present, intrusive, a fundamental component of the film and for the imagination that viewers have built around these characters. The effect is immediate: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is actually the best Marvel film since Endgame because it brings back on the screen a piece of what all viewers loved about the first 3 Phases, together with the novelty that the film itself offers.
High Evolutionary makes himself a frustrated God
The actual narrative development that Gunn offers us, linked to the High Evolutionary, super villain of this chapter, however, turns out to be almost specious, so that we can then reach the right conclusions for each of the team members. This does not mean that the villain in question is just a tool, on the contrary: Chukwudi Iwuji plays the role of a character of Shakespearean stature, a man who tends to the utopian perfection of a good world, willing to do any horror to achieve his goal.
"There is no God, that's why I came forward" the High Evolutionary will say at one point, yet his attempt to put himself in God's place fails in the face of his inability to design and implement the creative spark, typical of civilizations best. And so, with a few simple jokes, Gunn also gives us a frustrated three-dimensionality of a villain who will have to deal with his past, in the figure of an angry raccoon shouting for revenge.
The balance of James Gunn's writing allows each character to shine, each member of the team manages to find his place, his usefulness, and his calling, proudly carrying forward the most important message of the film, self-acceptance. And the film stumbles precisely in the insistence of the message to be delivered to the public: continuing to carry out Disney's mission of blunting the decoding capacity of the viewer, the film explains several times that each of us "is fine as it is", clearly stated.
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A noble and just message but which takes on the disarming contours of a Progresso Advertisement when it is blurted out with this pedantic clarity. After all, it is a problem that Disney continues to present in its recent films in a transversal way, from Walt Disney Animation with Strange World, passing through Pixar with Red, up to, as in this case, Marvel Studios.
Thank you, James Gunn
However, we will not end this Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 review on a sore note, because the feeling of fullness and satisfaction, combined with emotion and fun, that leaves the film at the end (stay seated, there are two post-credits scenes!) is truly a rare commodity in the blockbuster cinema of recent years, and for this, we have to thank James Gunn, who while packing his bags and starting another extraordinary adventure with the DC Comics character, gave this last great gift to Marvel fans.
On the notes of "Badlands" by Bruce Springsteen ends the journey of the Guardians of the Galaxy (as we know them, at least) on the big screen. There will still be many adventures to experience and tell, but we will have to learn to live them without Rocket, Gamora, Drax, Nebula, Santis, Groot, and Star-Lord by our side.