Review: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”


Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 logo. Licensed with Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons.

JD Szeto, Staff Writer

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is Marvel’s newest feature film in their cinematic universe, first airing in theaters on May 5, 2023. This film is the final installment in the iconic “Guardians of the Galaxy” trilogy, with James Gunn returning to direct the film.

Fans viewed “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” as Marvel’s last hope. After a string of broadly unpopular shows and movies that rigidly follow a stale formula, fans put the last of their faith in director James Gunn. This was Gunn’s last Marvel film before his contract ends, and fans were worried Gunn would play it safe with a bland film. Gunn had directed the first Guardian film with great success at the box office and among audience sentiment, but fans wondered whether Gunn would be able to bring a satisfying end to the trilogy. 

However, following an extremely successful trailer, fans’ worries eased. When the movie was finally released in theaters, it was met with widespread acclaim, earning a 94% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes. Fans found the balance between humor and grittiness to be palatable, and the film’s ending was touching and left fans hopeful for the future.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” follows Chris Pratt’s character, Peter Quill, amongst a colorful cast of characters. After a devastating attack by Adam Warlock, Rocket Raccoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper, is severely injured. When the Guardians try to operate to save Rocket’s life, they find that there is a “kill-switch” implanted in his body that prevents anyone from tampering with his body. Thus, the movie follows the Guardians as they travel the galaxies to find both the man who had experimented on Rocket in his youth and the code necessary to bypass the kill switch.

This film is one of the darkest and most heart-wrenching films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is littered with flashbacks to Rocket’s life in the hands of the High Evolutionary, the film’s villain. Through these flashbacks, the audience gets glimpses into the extreme manipulation Rocket and his friends were put through, and it makes his eventual development into the character he becomes all the more satisfying. These flashbacks are made immersive with excellent visual effects and direction. Furthermore, although Rocket Raccoon becomes the focal point of the movie, the other members of the Guardians also get their time to shine.

The chemistry between the actors is just as dynamic as their roles in the previous films. This shines through during the many comedic beats of the film. Character dialogue bounces back and forth dynamically, so the audience truly perceives the Guardians as being members of a tight family. Characters also shine in the action. Everyone has a unique fighting style that makes fight scenes feel grand and impactful. This is backed by choreography that gives each scene and action beat variety.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is an excellent finale to the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise. Marvel fans will find the movie to be a return to what made this cinematic universe so great in the first place. This film is a glimpse into what Marvel could be if it embraces breaks from the formula it rigidly abides by and perfects the balance between raw emotion and comedy.