Plot: What’s it about?
The latest (and final) installment of Guardians of the Galaxy stands as the 32nd Marvel Cinematic Universe film. Think about that. They’ve managed to overtake James Bond in the last few years with the amount of films in this franchise. What began back in 2008 with Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, has now grossed billions of dollars along the way. And we’re not through yet, not by a longshot. One offs, television series and the like are just a few of the tributaries that the MCU has spawned. The first film was a bit of a head-scratcher. Composed of a group of “heroes” that the masses hadn’t really heard of, it was a risk. But with James Gunn guiding the way, would we expect any less? It was a six year wait between 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (a new record), so hopes were high. We had a global pandemic which, no doubt, slowed the progress and with The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special giving us the only new content – I wasn’t sure what to think. Well the wait is over, let’s see what Peter Quill and company have in store for us.
We open with Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) being critically injured in a fight with Adam Warlock (Will Poulter). In an effort to save their foul-mouthed friend, Peter (Chris Pratt) along with Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) are on the search for a code that will override a kill switch embedded within his body. We also get an alternate-world version of Gamora (Zoe. Saldana), Peter’s ex who no longer has any memory of them. All of this lead us to The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), he’s the one responsible for doing a series of experiments on animals trying to make a “perfect society.” Rocket escaped his grasp and he wants him back. We also get a way too in-depth look at Rocket’s backstory and how he became the creature he is today. While the flashback sequences to serve as a means to an end, I have to say that a few were a bit difficult to watch. Nevertheless, that’s 150 minutes of plot in a few sentences.
I tend to net things out, look at the big picture and so forth. To me, there wasn’t a lot going on other than learning way too much about the history of Rocket Raccoon. Oddly, I feed raccoons on my deck every night and it was odd to see one on screen and then turn around and see one looking in my window. Fortuitous, perhaps? Add to that, this one didn’t seem to have the amount of energy and spunk that the previous two did. Now that we’ve seen the gang pop up in other MCU films, the allure is still there but it’s tarnished a bit. I don’t know which members of the cast have thrown in the towel, but (without giving too much away), the stage is set for a “new” Guardians of the Galaxy with some new (and old) faces. Lastly, at 150 minutes this movie is a commitment. I felt it about 30 minutes too long, but I won’t question the man who gave us Peacemaker. ‘Nuff said.
Video: How’s it look?
There’s no denying that this film looks good. Really good. With the majority of it taking place in, you guessed it, space there was plenty of room for “artistic expression.” And that’s what we get and it’s consistent with the previous first two installments. Groot’s ever-changing roots, the detail in Drax’s skin and the floppy-haired mess that is Peter Quill. Beautiful. Lovely. In a first, Disney has also give us a mixed IMAX and regular widescreen presentation with the seamless integration between the two that makes it work. Varying aspect ratios aside, there’s nothing I can find to fault there. It’s all there – brilliant color, amazing clarity and detail and so forth. If it’s a good-looking picture you’re after then look no further.
Audio: How’s it sound?
I have to assume that this is a true Dolby Atmos mix. And if not, then I need to get a new receiver as the Atmos light was on while watching. So we’ll go with that. All of the Guardians…films have had one thing in common – amazing soundtracks. The jazzy tunes of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s have been supplanted by a more “modern” mix this time around that contains the likes of Spacehog, Florence + The Machine and The The just to name a few. It works. Not to be outdone, we’ve got plenty of special effects that keep every speaker in your setup earning its keep. Things blow up (duh), vocals are pure and crisp and if you’ve ever wondered what a cage full of baby raccoons sounds like in uncompressed atmospheric sound, well then…your wait is up.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- The Imperfect, Perfect Family – View the evolution of the Guardians through the cast and crew’s passion for each other and the entire franchise. Join this tight knit “found family” as they leave behind a legacy and recount their best memories wrapping up this epic trilogy’s final film.
- Creating Rocket Raccoon – Director James Gunn talks about bringing Rocket to life and how personal the character is to him. Uncover BTS footage, the research and development of the visual effects process, and the inspiration for Rocket through conversations with cast and crew.
- Deleted Scenes – Eight total, though as we might expect, none shed too much light on the overall picture.
- A Bit Much – Adam Warlock explains to Ayesha what he plans to do with the Guardians.
- A Lending Hand – Peter lends a hand to an injured humanimal on Counter-Earth and shows he means no harm.
- Drax’s Analogies and Metaphors – Drax gives Peter some interesting life analogies and metaphors.
- The Perfect Society – The High Evolutionary reveals his mission to perfect the universe.
- The Search for 89P13 – Behemoth brings not-so-good news to The High Evolutionary.
- Annoyed Peter – Peter gets annoyed while altering the shield.
- A Burning Escape – Peter runs back to grab his music player before escaping a blazing inferno on the Arête.
- Knowhere After the Battle – The High Evolutionary is brought back to Knowhere and locked up while Kraglin recruits Adam Warlock.
- Gag Reel – With this crew, I think we all know there were some thing going on set.
- Audio Commentary – Director James Gunn does sit down and if you’re so inclined to listen to a 150 minute audio commentary – it’s there. I did a few segments here and there and if you’re a fan of Gunn’s tracks – this is more of the same.
The Bottom Line
I enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and in a way it was fitting that it “end” like this. That said, I didn’t necessarily see the need for this movie as it doesn’t seem to play a larger part in the MCU. And if it does, I was oblivious to it. But those who have enjoyed this ragtag group of saviors will get a kick out of it and, yes, maybe even shed a tear or two. I’d personally wait for the disc version, but for those that are fine with a digital release then there’s nothing here to be upset about.