Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is messy but fun
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a convoluted mess. After a surprisingly streamlined beginning, the series quickly devolved into a miasma of interconnected plots and characters that have only gotten more confused as more entries appear. The lone oasis from this mess has been James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy series which mostly kept to itself before Infinity War dragged the characters into the party. So now that the big bad is dead and the Peter Quill/Gamora potential romance was unceremoniously cut short, where does Gunn go with the conclusion to his saga? The answer is a labyrinthine, overlong, occasionally annoying but still fun and charming epic.
The Guardians have set up shop in the outpost of Knowwhere, but a visit from a powerful being bent on revenge has left Rocket (Bradley Cooper doing some great voice work) mortally wounded. His friends must travel the stars, uncovering his mysterious origins in order to save him. In doing so, they discover a plot by a villainous scientist (a wonderfully evil Chukwudi Iwuji) to create a utopian world using poor animals as test subjects.
More than any other film, this one is Rocket's story. It makes sense since the other Guardians have already wrapped up their tales in previous films, but it throws the dynamic between the characters off. Much of the chemistry that the first two films had in abundance is sorely missing from this outing. That said, Rocket's backstory is compelling and Gunn's dialogue is still funny and charming when it needs to be. The Guardians films have always been my personal favorite Marvel films and now that they're over, I think I finally feel comfortable putting the series to rest.
Written and directed by James Gunn // Starring Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Sean Gunn, Chukwudi Iwuji, Will Poulter, Maria Bakalova, Elizabeth Debicki, Linda Cardellini, Judy Greer, Nathan Fillion, and Sylvester Stallone // Marvel Studios // 150 minutes // Rated PG-13