New Guardians, New Marvel Universe
Where We Left Off
Last audiences saw James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, they were kidnapping Kevin Bacon. The fate of 2014’s Gamora (Zoe Saldana) who aided in the defeat of Thanos in Avengers: Endgame was left out, instead opting to focus on Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). It was filled with the usual gags and wild humor, seeing fan favorites like Drax (Dave Bautista), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel), and Nebula (Karen Gillan) entertain for just under an hour of content during the Christmas season. They are joined by Kraglin (Sean Gunn) as well as the Russian talking dog Cosmo (Maria Bakalova) on the planet Knowhere, setting up the misfits-turned-heroes for their next move in Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 3.
As always, the Guardians team leads the MCU in comedy. Specifically, Bautista’s Drax and Klemetieff’s Mantis hog the laugh-out-loud moments with some refreshing additions by Pratt’s Starlord, Gillan’s Nebula, and especially, Poulter’s mother-obsessed Adam Warlock. The serious flashbacks bring about an unexpected heart-wrenching theme as a brilliant addition to a usually unserious series. Additionally going against the usual drag of Marvel villains, High Evolutionary only adds to the story and themes, not standing out hugely in the film but instead, standing out as a well written villain in this universe. It does not hurt that its length is a full 150 minutes and, as usual in a Guardians movie, it has a full soundtrack of lesser-known hits.
As for new performances, audiences are quickly introduced to Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), last heard of in the end credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2, as he bursts into frame blasting the Guardians to pieces, critically injuring most of them, specifically Rocket—whose injury is the focal point for the film’s main plot. This turning point leads to the emotional highlight of the film and introduction of the main baddie, a series of flashbacks over the course of the entire story where audiences finally get a view into Rocket’s backstory and his creator, the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji). He is a horrifying scientist with a need to perfect society with his animal experiments, those including Rocket as well as new characters Lylla (Linda Cardellini), Teefs (Asim Chaudhry), and Floor (Mikaela Hoover), Rocket’s experimental cellmates.
The Horror Aesthetic
The High Evolutionary’s experiments and general attitude lead to some major shifts from the comedic tone the Guardians usually take. In Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 3, Rocket’s friends take on classic horror elements, combining nature and machine, with Lylla being an otter with mechanical arms, Teefs being a walrus with bloodshot eyes attached to a monster truck-sized wheelchair, and Floor being a white bunny with spider-like limbs and a metal plate over her mouth. Their grotesque appearances highlight the perturbation of their attitudes, each obsessive and broken from their entrapment and experimentation. The High Evolutionary himself sports a tight skin face and a mad scientist similarity based on his god complex. James Gunn experiments with other monster mashups as well, including a mechanical pig-beast, an enormous metallic falcon, and a towering bunny with squid tentacles, which creates a refreshing originality break from Marvel’s usual formula of unoriginal CGI armies.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 revives the Marvel Cinematic Universe with an original story combined with old favorite characters. It is a definite watch for any Marvel fan and would be a solid watch for any average moviegoer. It deserves a solid four out of five stars.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 will remain in theaters for the next couple of months and will hit Disney+ in the near future.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023): Official Marvel Studios Trailer
|I am a Film student at Stetson University in Florida. I am a screenplay writer and filmmaker with a heart for storytelling. I discovered a love for film at a young age and am working hard every day to expand my deeper knowledge of technique and detail. Currently, I am on the team in charge of Spooky Empire in Orlando in October, so I spend a lot of time around the horror genre.|