GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 (2023)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Finds Quill aka Starlord (Chris Pratt) still mourning the loss of his Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and the fact that the other timeline Gamora does not remember him or their relationship. When the Guardians are attacked by the powerful Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), sent by the vengeful empress of the Sovereign, Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) is critically injured. To save his life they seek his creator The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), unaware that he is a deranged individual with a sinister purpose and has devious plans for Rocket.
Third and supposedly final Guardians flick is once more directed by James Gunn from his own messy script. The story itself is a simple one stretched out over 150 minutes and basically meanders through a bunch of noisy and overblow set pieces till it reaches its admittingly satisfying action-packed climax. We do get a lot of flashbacks filling us in on Rocket and his origin and these scenes do resonate emotionally. It’s the time-wasting nonsense involving the Guardians efforts to save him that are less engaging, especially since the group seem sick of each other and their once playful bickering now comes across as meanspirited and nasty. It hurts the charm and camaraderie the group had, and it gets tiresome quick. The action scenes in the first two thirds seem almost random and really don’t accomplish much. Overall, the film rarely feels like a climax to a trilogy, until it kind of forces itself to in the last half hour or so. To be honest, a lot of the film feels made up as it goes along. The FX are still top notch. Iwuji does make for a solid villain and the last act pulls things together for an entertaining climax. The movie as a whole though, feels like it’s missing something up till then.
The main cast are all veterans in their parts though one can feel certain members seem to be tiring of all this. No point in going over the leads as we have seen them play these parts in five previous flicks. Newcomers are good. Chukwudi Iwuji makes for a sinister villain as The High Evolutionary, though his actual plan doesn’t make much sense. Will Poulter is fine as Adam Warlock, but the comic character’s loyal fans will be very disappointed with his being portrayed as a pouty teenager with minimal screentime. There are also some nice voice performances and some fun cameos that won’t be spoiled here.
Overall, this was a disappointing adventure and finale. It stretches a simple plot well over two hours and as a result, a lot of the sequences feel more like filler than an integral part of the story. The team’s bickering seems not only overdone, but a bit too meanspirited to be funny. Speaking of funny, a lot of the jokes fall flat here and lack the twisted fun of the previous flicks. It does recover with a solid enough last act, though doesn’t really feel like a climactic installment till forced to in the last moments. At least the sequences featuring Rocket’s origins give us something to endear to. Stay through the credits for two additional scenes that sadly don’t amount to much.
Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) Gamoras.