Marvel’s Saving Grace: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Review

Signature walking shot from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Signature walking shot from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Peyton Koutrakos

The dog days are over. The starring track of the most recent Guardians of the Galaxy movie perfectly sums up this decades-long epic. The Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is able to consistently hold its signature charm, and the third installment is no different. Though, everything must come to an end, and this trilogy that’s been held as a treasure in many hearts recognizes and utilizes this in the most endearing way possible. 

The film follows the aftermath of, primarily, Avengers: Endgame, but with more context from The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. It opens with each character struggling individually, and is perfectly, unironically, backed by Radiohead’s “Creep.” But these struggles do not break them, as their bond persists and drives this movie. The Guardians now must band together once more, but this time to save one of their own. Rocket Raccoon, somewhat of an enigma within the Marvel world, surfaces as the film’s focus. As his past comes back to haunt him and on the verge of death, the rest of the Guardians venture across the universe in search of a way to help their friend, soon realizing the fate of Rocket is not so different from that of the galaxy. 

The Guardians franchise has become a staple in the Marvel world, with very little letdown or upset in the first two movies. The third carries on its legacy with little disappointment and is able to stand up in the face of its predecessors. Ramapo Band teacher Mr. Sloezen notes that the first two have not lost their charm after all these years. And of course, there’s the soundtrack, on which Mr. Sloezen comments on its relation to visuals and how these two forces compound to create “an even greater spectacle as well as make the world come alive.”

Immediately after its theatrical release, Guardians of the Galaxy received high praise from critics and fans alike. The film reviewing website Letterboxd averages the film a 4.2 out of 5 stars, and it was inducted into Letterboxd’s Top 250 Narrative Features of All Time list at #221 on May 8th, 2023. 

In an interview with Gizmodo, writer/director James Gunn remarks on his fascination with Rocket as a character and how he was the core drive for the entire trilogy: “And as I mused upon it, I started thinking about how this was the saddest creature in the universe, […]. That was my way into it, was this underpinning of just isolation and sadness, and all of these characters are isolated and sad.” At the hub of this misfit-love, entertaining movie is each character’s confrontation with their own truth, and how it brings about seemingly immeasurable despondency. Like the Guardians, it is the alienation that truly brings this movie together into something greater than the sum of its parts.

The natural vibes carried out by the Guardians movie are the most recognizable aspect; its ability to take the audience through galaxies and not lose a single moment of delectation. Senior Gianna Amato states that “the new Guardians movie was exactly what I expected. I love the first two films, and I feel like this one fits in perfectly as the last in the saga. It does a great job of wrapping up storylines with an emotional touch while keeping the same humor and vibes as the other two movies.”

Compared to the previous films released in the Marvel franchise, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is seemingly its own separate force of nature. Unlike others from the past couple of years, the Guardians are able to pull it off with little to no conflicting opinions. It has been praised universally, and it’s clear what pulled this off: the heart. Instead of trying to impress its audience with complex visuals (which, do not be misled, are definitely here), convoluted storylines concerning multiverses, and trying too hard to impress the viewer, the focus of the Guardians movies has always been their hearts. The camaraderie shared between the characters emanates onto the audience, making it impossible not to have a good time.