Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Written by Harry Akiens on 5th July 2023
The quality of recent entries in the MCU catalogue seems to have dipped in recent attempts by Marvel and Disney.
Infinity War and Endgame have secured the franchise’s legacy but also acted as something to live up to and recreate.
The end of phase four with entries such as Thor Love and Thunder and the start of phase five with entries like Ant Man and the Wasp Quantomania have left many fans disappointed, regardless of whether each film sets up later developments or not.
Therefore, fans of the Guardians of the Galaxy series were rightfully worried about if the conclusion to their beloved series would be handled with care. However, it must be said that the fan favourite space faring rag tag team adventure has gone out with a bang.
There is no argument at all that this is by far the most serious entry of the trilogy, delving into the traumatic backstory of Rocket. However, the film also makes certain to stick to its roots in terms of keeping the humour flowing in the same way the previous films did so. This makes the film a ride of emotions, with myself personally going through fits of laughter to the occasional fits of tears as result of the crushing flashbacks.
Bradley Cooper as Rocket steals the show as a result of his performance and his increased screen time when compared to the previous films that gives the character this room to breathe and show what has happened to him.
These backstories are intertwined with the film’s events taking place in the present and each run parallel, with the flashbacks being experienced by Rocket in a unconscious state while he fights to survive a fatal wound. However, these flashbacks would not be nearly as investing without also including the so easily hated High Evolutionary.
The antagonist for this film could be argued as the best villain the MCU has faced since the mad titan Thanos himself. Originally being a B class villain of very little note, wearing an outlandish red costume, the High Evolutionary is in both instances a man obsessed with perfection by means of genetic manipulation.
The methods he uses makes him incredibly dislikeable in a purposeful and intentional sense. Through what is shown and what is inferred in terms of what he does to his subjects, audiences find a sense of disgust that anyone would even consider doing this, that is why he is so effective.
To draw another comparison to Thanos, both characters (are admittedly purple, yes) but have their own motivations and goals they wish to achieve, making any sacrifice to achieve them. For Thanos that would be his own daughter as well as anyone else he kills, while for the High Evolutionary that would be every creature he has tortured by way of intense experimentation and modification.
Thanos’ culling of half the universe is psychotic and very extreme, however when he snaps his fingers and all those people die, he does not actually know who dies and he can’t control it. When the Evolutionary actually kills an entire planet, he pushes a button knowing full well that everyone on the planet will die in a hellish inferno.
Aside from the truly evil nature of the High Evolutionary however, he is also an effective villain in terms of his relation to Rocket. Throughout the film he is made a more prominent character in the team. The second film was starting to mould him into more of a leader figure and that was almost certainly for this film.
The whole team acts as they do in the film for the sole purpose of saving Rocket, both from his life threatening injury and from the Evolutionary. This means he is the main target of the Evolutionary, meaning he has the strongest link to the villain. Therefore, when the villain is finally defeated, you can tell who says the last word and you can tell who decides to spare the Evolutionary, prolonging his misery of defeat.
Regarding this films place in the trilogy however, it makes the ending point at least of the Guardians as we know them. Star Lord is set to return point in future, but it is likely that Mantis, Nebula, Drax and Gamora will not return to reprise their roles. Should we see the Guardians as a team once again however, we will instead have a line-up of Rocket, an even bigger Groot, Adam Warlock, Kraglin, Cosmo and one of the child experiments of the High Evolutionary.
Should the Guardians return (with Adam Warlock almost certainly as result of his importance going forward) we will see a strong line-up, bound to entertain future audiences and add a sense of comedy, and a brilliant playlist to future Marvel.