Although just how much time has passed between GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY films (and other appearances) isn’t too much of a concern in volume three. The story that’s presented continues from where AVENGERS: ENDGAME left off, where an alt-universe version of Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) appeared, and she hates Quill (Chris Pratt). That’s when Starlord’s downward spiral started. What this movie does is to show how he’s grieving in what I assume is some months later.
This latest is very specific to saying that now that the universe has a group of heroes, let’s set up shop. However, the events from the last film have finally gestated to Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), and his Queen sends him out to hunt them down! I was more invested in this narrative than the others because in the fight, Rocket gets hurt by this new threat, and it’s up to the team to find means to heal him. His heart is shielded by a biomechanical device which acts like a bomb should anyone want to tamper with it.
Fortunately, the team doesn’t have to search the entire galaxy for a healing salve. They know who to go after, and that’s when the action gets amped up! We get some crazy set pieces in a biological spaceship and a lot of hilarious irreverent humour mixed in. Like the past films, the music helps set the mood, and as for the flashbacks, it’s an entirely different story–Rocket’s history is revealed, and it’s hard to watch since it delves into how he was treated in a laboratory, complete with a few Tim Burton style body horror experiments (technically, the science borrows from ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU). To see him finally go berserk suggests why he is what he is. Chukwudi Iwuji as The High Evolutionary delivers a stellar performance that’s as worthy as Jack Nicholson’s from THE SHINING. Although he seems like a one note threat, just how dangerous he is needs to be explained. He had a lot of appearances in the comic books where he could not be stopped. He’s even gone up against each of the Earth’s Mightiest Avengers over the years, and also with Adam Warlock (Will Poulter)!
The cinematic version of the latter finally makes his debut and overall, I was impressed with this grand entry. Although this version comes through as very pre-Herculean (i.e. very naive), and there’s potential for more stories to put him in the main action. Although I never expected any adherence to his comic book adventures in Gunn’s story, he’s an adversary.
Sadly, there won’t be any more stories with this filmmaker at the helm. He won’t continue after the kerfuffle with the higher ups concerning his past social media posts. Although they gave him the creative freedom to do anything he wants with this finale, any follow-up without him is not likely to live up to all that he’s built. This finale shows just how much of this series is his baby than Marvel as led by Kevin Feige.
And yet, he adds some ideas for others to explore should there be a continuation. There’s a young girl who can become the next Captain Marvel, and as for the Guardians of the Galaxy who say they need to find themselves again, that’s material for spinoffs to explore. As for the rest, I’m okay with them taking a break. But I’m still waiting for a new HOWARD THE DUCK movie to manifest. The 80s version has its place in Marvel Entertainment’s multiverse, but the version we’re introduced to needs his own story! It’s not fair to constantly give him an appearance in each film and not do something about it.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 is now playing in theaters.