John’s Review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Hello! I meant to write a review for Shazam! Fury of the Gods, but it was super boring and I had nothing to say about it. I’ve been busy with lots of writing assignments and finals, but school is now over for the summer and we’re going to celebrate with a review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3! It’s James Gunn’s final Marvel movie (Maybe not, but probably? He’ll be pretty busy at DC for a while.) and hopefully Chris Pratt’s final Marvel movie! Also I didn’t like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 but I liked the holiday special and also disliked their inclusion in Thor: Love and Thunder. So it’s 50/50 whether I like something with the Guardians. Anyway, if you don’t want to hear me rant about Chris Pratt looking smug and always putting on a “Look at me, I’m doing a big joke” voice, you should probably not read this. You know the drill. Non-spoilers then spoilers. Enjoy!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 stars Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Vin Diesel, Maria Bakalova, Elizabeth Debicki, and Chukwudi Iwuji. It also features Sylvester Stallone, Will Poulter, Michael Rosenbaum, and Nathan Fillion.

Quick Plot Rundown –
This is hard to do out of spoilers. But also it’s been out for a little bit. Basically Rocket spends a lot of the movie remembering his backstory with the villain of the movie, the High Evolutionary, who is a maniac that creates whole new races and societies only to kill them when he decides they don’t fit. So the Guardians have to help Rocket confront his past and stop this bad guy from doing creepy genetic engineering things. Also there’s a golden guy named Adam Warlock that’s flying around messing with people, and Gamora doesn’t remember her relationship with Peter Quill because she’s from 2014 and she didn’t have one. These are the things that happen in this movie. How’s that? Is that a good explanation?

General Non-Spoilery Thoughts –
I liked this. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. It just washed over me, somewhat, except for one bit at the end where James Gunn made me almost cry with a particularly manipulative song choice. I think this was way better than Vol. 2 even though Peter Quill is far whinier in this one. I think James Gunn’s writing for that character makes him somewhat unlikable. I think the jokes were funnier because there was a more serious tone and less characters laughing raucously at their own jokes. There were a few cameos from James Gunn’s other movies that I noticed and enjoyed. I don’t think the soundtrack of this one was overall as good as the other two, and what’s funny is I kind of worried that would happen years ago back when I thought specifically about the quality of future superhero movies and what would make them bad or terrible like it was the most important thing in the world. I did like a lot of the songs though. I’ll talk about that more in a bit. I think that overall this was a solid movie with a lot of fun and interesting ideas. I also think it was way too long and felt very formulaic in terms of the overall plot structure. I think the effects in this and the sense of horror and menace in this are all pretty terrific. Parts of this movie are much scarier and unsettling than most Marvel movies are allowed to be, which surprised me. But yeah, overall pretty good movie. I don’t have much of an urge to watch it again, and I think I’m done with the “I have to watch every MCU movie at least twice” mentality because Wakanda Forever was really sad and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania wasn’t very good. Some of these can be one watch and done, although there are definitely scenes in this I’ll want to revisit. But first let’s break down the characters and what they do!

Characters –
Peter Quill AKA Star Lord – Chris Pratt
Sigh. I want to be clear, when I write about what I disliked about Chris Pratt in this, I am not criticizing him just because everyone on the internet started hating him a few years ago for beliefs he may or may not have. I’m not touching that with a ten foot pole. When I say I disliked him in this movie, it’s because I found his performance really grating and annoying. And I love Parks and Recreation, but I always thought he was annoying in that. He’s a funny improviser and I still liked a lot of his jokes in that show. But for whatever reason, I’m not a fan of his “I never really grew up” approach to playing Star-Lord, or James Gunn’s writing of the character, which portrays him as needy and clingy and unlikable. I thought he was fine in the Holiday Special because he wasn’t in it that much and he didn’t whine or act like a child. Yet that’s literally all he does in this movie. As I mentioned above, he has a tinge to his voice whenever he’s about to do a joke, and I kept noticing it throughout the movie. I also got the impression that James Gunn didn’t really know what to do with him in this movie. Apparently Gamora was originally going to die in Guardians Vol. 2 because Zoe Saldaña doesn’t want to do these forever. So I feel like their whole plotline in this movie was a real afterthought. I’ll talk more about that in a bit. Also, Quill was basically the main character of the last two movies, and he’s still top billing on this one. Yet he’s not really the main character this time, Rocket is. And Quill is clearly the most incompetent and useless member of his own team. He acts like a child whenever he’s on screen, refusing to accept that an alternate version of his dead girlfriend does not want to be in a relationship with him. There’s something interesting buried in there, a plotline about him struggling with this constant reminder of what he lost, brought on partially by his own incompetence. It was at least semi-explored amidst his constant whining about how Gamora should give this weird and annoying guy a chance. But he’s a Hollywood movie star that is far better looking than I am, so he’s got that going for him. There is one part to his story that I enjoyed, which I will talk about later.

Rocket Raccoon – Bradley Cooper
So the bulk of the movie is centered around Rocket Raccoon. As you can tell from the trailers, a large part is about where he came from and what his origin is. I can’t really talk much about that yet, but from what’s shown in the trailers I can definitively say that Rocket’s origin is tied into The High Evolutionary, the main villain of the movie, in some way, and that he also used to know an otter when he lived in a cage. This movie features a few very intense animal cruelty scenes, which was a little hard to watch. This isn’t a spoiler, but if you have a hard time with that, I wouldn’t watch this. Bradley Cooper did a good job voicing this character. And Sean Gunn has done a pretty great job doing the motion capture for Rocket, too. The movements of the character are based on him, which means the physicality of this raccoon character that shouldn’t feel realistic at all, helps him feel way more realistic, to me at least. That character has never looked bad, effects-wise. And it is basically his movie, which I enjoyed. I always liked Rocket. I will say, there’s a weird reoccurring gag where Star-Lord calls Rocket his best friend, and Drax says “Second best.” But how are they best friends? They argue all the time. They’ve argued pretty much nonstop since the first one. In Infinity War, Rocket leaves Quill, Gamora, Mantis, and Drax to die because he’s afraid to face Thanos. And Drax and Quill talk all the time and are clearly better buds. At the beginning of the movie (Not a spoiler) Quill is blackout drunk and yells at Rocket. Sure, Rocket makes sure Quill gets to bed, but how are they meant to seem like best friends?

Gamora – Zoe Saldaña
As I mentioned above, I think James Gunn was having a hard time figuring out how to incorporate this character into this movie. I like this character and this actress, but her relationship with Star-Lord didn’t feel genuine to me to begin with, so I didn’t care to see that get rehashed over and over, and much of her character development is just her learning how to get along with and trust the Guardians. Which is all well and good, but I already saw a movie where Gamora from 2014 bonded with these characters and learned to be friends. I don’t know. I think James Gunn wanted to give the character a proper sendoff since her death was so gruesome, and no spoilers, but I think he succeeded overall, even if I don’t think she needs to be in this movie.

Drax – Dave Bautista
I never bought the sudden shift between stern Drax from the first movie and goofy Drax from the second one. I think this one maybe uses him the best in a way that’s a bit of a cop-out because they literally talk about his character development out loud, (Not a spoiler) but Drax realizes he’s meant to be a Dad because he’s protective and kind of dumb and lovable. And Dave Bautista’s just the best. The jokes he has in this movie are way better than the second one, in my opinion. He’s incredibly funny and sells emotional scenes really well. I want him to be in more things, and he will be because he’s great.

Nebula – Karen Gillan
I don’t have much to say about this one. She’s just great. It took me until Endgame to realize I loved Nebula because she was so far in the background all the time, and I really like Karen Gillan, and I loved seeing her being stern and yelling at people in this. Also she has a new nanobot arm, and I don’t remember where they said it was from, but I thought it might be an improvement on Stark tech? Unsure, but it was very clear that either James Gunn decided that Nebula needed a new arm either to help fix some plot points or give her more to do. I didn’t mind that they gave her a new arm, I’m just saying she suddenly has a nanobot arm that I don’t think she had in the Holiday Special and it’s very convenient for the plot.

Mantis – Pom Klementieff
Mantis is now one of my favorite characters, I think, after this one. The Holiday Special helped develop her character and now she’s more sure of herself and using her powers in cooler ways. And the Drax/Mantis banter for me has gone from being incredibly grating in Vol. 2 to being charming end emotional by the end of this one.

Kraglin – Sean Gunn
He wasn’t in it much, but he has a fun ongoing joke with Cosmo that I enjoyed enough. He’s great though, Sean Gunn, as this character and in general. His Rocket acting is great. He motion captures Rocket. All around awesome, but not in it much.

Groot – Vin Diesel
So let’s just entirely disregard Vin Diesel from my notes about Groot as a character because all he does is say the same damn line in a gravelly voice. At one point in this he says “I love you guys,” which I hated because it made me remember this was Vin Diesel. The one good movie that you actually acted in was The Iron Giant, Vin, and it’s not a good movie because of you. They could’ve gotten anyone with a gravelly voice to talk about family. Anyway, I like what they did with Groot in this. Design-wise, my favorite version of Groot was in the first Guardians. I thought they nailed it right away. I like this design too, kind of a broader, more muscley version. He was kind of sidelined in this one in that he didn’t actively contribute to the plot for much of it, but they gave him some cool action things to do. I’ll talk about that later. But good.

The High Evolutionary – Chukwudi Iwuji
I don’t want to say much until spoilers, but he was excellent. Maniacal and scenery-chewing and menacing. Loved him so much. Best villain of the whole trilogy.

Adam Warlock – Will Poulter
So this is a weird one. I don’t read a lot of the space-based Marvel comics, and it’s the part I know the least about, but in every comic I’ve seen Adam Warlock appear in, he’s been a stoic space defender that usually shows up to tell people doom and gloom prophecies about how the end is nigh and all that. In this, he’s just been born recently, so he acts more childish and doesn’t really know what he’s doing or the extent of his powers yet. For the majority of the movie he just kind of wanders in and out of the plot, not really having much of a reason for being there beyond helping James Gunn out of writing corners, it seems like. But I enjoyed him. I thought it was kind of funny. And I like Will Poulter a lot, so cool stuff.

Score/Soundtrack –
Yeah. I don’t think this soundtrack is as good as the first two. The songs were just weaved more seamlessly into the other two, I thought, whereas this one has many more abrupt musical cues. Overall, I liked most of the songs, but I don’t think they all fit in this. Like “Creep” or “No Sleep Till’ Brooklyn”. But at one point they play “The Dog Days Are Over” by Florence & The Machine, which almost made me cry, because that’s a very emotional song. Damn you, Gunn. Also I’ve had “Since You Been Gone” on a semi-constant loop since I watched this. So good, but not great considering how awesome the last two were. And I figured this would happen at the end of two. Because the first movie is mostly 70’s music, two is mostly 80’s music, and at the end of Vol. 2 Quill gets the Zune, so now it’s a sprinkle of everything. I think. Or it is mostly 90’s music and I just didn’t enjoy it as much.

Cinematography –
Real good. I don’t have many insightful things to say, it’s just shot better and in a more interesting way than most superhero movies. There are menacing scenes in this enhanced by the claustrophobic proximity of the camera and intense, one shot action sequences.

It’s Spoiler Time everybody!!!

I’m gonna start spoilering Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

But hey, while I’ve got you…

Mind if I ask a question?

Yes, you. The one reading this review.

Do you enjoy these reviews of superhero movies?

Or should I talk about other movies like John Wick 4 or something?

Anyway, let me know.

Time to spoil the heck outta this movie!!!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Spoiler Review
Okay, now I actually have to talk about the plot. So basically, the movie starts with Rocket remembering being abducted as a baby, which then fades into him listening to “Creep” by Radiohead on Knowhere, the new base of the Guardians. Peter Quill is drunk and passes out while yelling at Rocket, so Rocket has Nebula carry him to bed while all the other Guardians walk with them in a straight line in slow motion. They do this a couple times. Later, Rocket is getting ready for bed when he’s attacked by Adam Warlock. All the Guardians fight Adam Warlock, who eventually escapes. In the battle, Rocket is badly hurt and when they attempt to cure him with a “heals anything” space medpack, this activates a kill switch in Rocket’s DNA that’s meant to turn on if the technology inside him is tampered with. I find it a little odd that this is the first time this has happened, but okay. It’s fine. Comic books. The Guardians need to break into Orgo Corp, this weird fleshy company building planet floating in space, in order to find Rocket’s activation code or whatever to fix the protocol so he doesn’t die. They break in with the help of the Ravagers, who are now led by 2014 Gamora. Gamora then accompanies her former teammates on the mission. They try to go undercover in the facility and run into Nathan Fillion playing a security guard that’s kind of a dick. Very good and funny stuff. Love that guy. Also James Gunn’s wife, Jennifer Holland, is in this as the woman monitoring the cameras at the facility, and Daniella Melchior, AKA Ratcatcher 2 from The Suicide Squad, is a pink woman who works the desk at this facility. Chris Pratt tries to seduce her and then Gamora uses her as a hostage. So that’s all fun and good. My favorite joke of the movie also happens in Orgo Corp when Mantis uses her powers to make a security guard believe that he’s deeply in love with Drax. Dave Bautista’s line delivery is so goddamn funny. He’s very reticent and reserved and accepting because Mantis has apparently done this many many times. I can’t remember if she did it in the Holiday Special. I’ll have to rewatch that.
Also Elizabeth Debicki returns as Ayesha, that annoying golden woman from Vol. 2 and she’s now Adam’s mom. She gets killed when the High Evolutionary blows up his home base, Counter-Earth, a planet made up of humanized animals living in a 1970’s style world, because that’s when the Evolutionary visited Earth. These are all the elements that I really enjoy, James Gunn having living corporate structures and all these other cool ideas. And the Evolutionary has two henchmen that dress in all white and talk weird, one of whom was in Superstore. Eventually the Guardians make their way from Orgo Corp to Counter-Earth, take the thing they need after killing the Superstore henchman. They stop Rocket from dying and he finishes having gruesome and sad flashbacks to his past, which weave throughout. Basically he’s in a cage with three other augmented animals and there’s lots of bits where the four of them just roll around in their cages and laugh and say “We’re playing! We’re friends that are playing! One day we’ll all make it to the new Earth and see the sky!” Super depressing. Eventually the Evolutionary reveals to Rocket that none of them will be making it to the new Earth, but Rocket’s brain will remain with the Evolutionary so he can study it. Rocket tries to escape with his friends but then the Evolutionary shoots the three friends and Rocket slashes up his face. Later, it’s revealed that the face he has in the present day that appears untarnished is a mask, and they peel it back to show his bloody face, his imperfections. It’s great.
So Rocket doesn’t die, but he has a moment in a big white afterlife void where he sees his friends but he can’t reach them and someone tells him he still has stuff to do in the land of the living. Stop doing those scenes. I’m sick of the “It’s not your time yet” speeches and I’m sick of the “Believe in yourself” speeches. So the Guardians escape Counter-Earth as it explodes and a bunch of seventies animal people die. At this point Drax, Mantis and Nebula are stuck on the Evolutionary’s ship. They discover a bunch of children on the ship. The Evolutionary’s new race. So they have Kraglin bring Knowhere to their location and dock it next to a giant airlock and evacuate all the children. Rocket confronts the Evolutionary and learns that he is in fact a raccoon. The other Guardians show up and help Rocket beat the shit out of the Evolutionary, who dies, and then they all escape the ship, except Star-Lord, who goes back for his Zune and suffocates in space when the two ships separate. At this point I was like “Hell yeah! They’re killing him off in a super mean way!” His face was all bloated and everything. I thought that was hilarious.
But then they save him and the Guardians all go their separate ways. Gamora rejoins the Ravagers, Nebula and Drax take charge of caring for the children, Rocket and Groot stay on the Guardians, and Mantis goes off to find herself. Peter Quill finally returns to Earth to reconnect with his grandfather, who he resented for years because his grandpa showed anger and vulnerability the night that Peter’s mother died, and Peter felt abandoned when he needed someone more than anything, which is when Yondu showed up. Peter Quill is at his core a child, as I said below, because he was traumatized at a young age and then thrown into a world he couldn’t possibly comprehend. Back when I used to obsess over plot points and soundtracks for movies, I read articles about leaked plot details for Infinity War that said Star-Lord was finally going to see his Grandpa again. And I always liked that idea, so I’m glad they finally did it. I don’t care for that character, but I appreciate that they ended his story in a way that showed some form of growth, and didn’t force him back into a relationship with a younger version of his dead girlfriend. I’m so glad they didn’t end up back together. So yeah. That’s most of what happens in this movie, I think. Pretty good.
Oh, and they say fuck for the first time in a Marvel movie. They’ve never done it before. They’ve hinted at it in the past, and I am kinda pissed that Samuel L Jackson didn’t get to be the one to say it. That man perfected the art of saying fuck in movies. There is an art to how you say fuck in a PG13 movie, because you only get one. Some are great, like in X-Men: First Class with Hugh Jackman showing up just to tell James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender to go fuck themselves. Some are odd, like Free Guy. Ryan Reynolds just drops one in the middle of a montage of saying good morning to his goldfish, but then later on Chris Evans shows up as himself and says “What the shit?!” Shouldn’t Evans be the one to say fuck? I don’t know. But in this it’s really well-used, Chris Pratt apparently improvised it while telling Nebula to open a car door and get in on Counter-Earth. Again, I don’t love all his comedy, but he’s made some jokes I like quite a bit. He improvised “Leslie, I just typed your symptoms computer and it said that you could have network connectivity problems” while on Parks and Recreation, which is a pretty funny joke. So yeah. Good use of the word fuck.

The Villain
It’s not a spoiler this time who it is, but the question is, was it a good villain? Marvel is 50/50 on those, too. I think, yes. Some of the dialogue James Gunn gave The High Evolutionary was a bit too expositiony and shouty, but I thought Chukwudi Iwuji did a fantastic job. So menacing. And now that we’re in spoilers, I can talk about his plans and motivations more. I really enjoyed watching this man who is obsessed with genetic perfection just willingly throw away his ship, his chances at seeding a new society, everything he’s built, just so he can understand what it is about Rocket’s mind that makes him so inherently intelligent. I think, in the hands of a lesser actor or lesser director it wouldn’t work. But he was fantastic. It is a little weird, though, Ego was all about terraforming planets and recreating the galaxy in his image. Same goal: perfection in the eye of the beholder, just different tactics. And from memory Ronan’s plan was much the same, and he was a xenophobe of some kind.

Is this a good trilogy?
That is a very good question and I don’t yet know what my answer is. I guess if we track the character developments over these three movies and the other stuff they were in that supplemented this, that’s how we can determine the answer. Peter Quill was a big goof who loved music and missed his dead mom and then he made some friends and became a hero. He met his dad, his dad told him that they both had God powers and he killed his mom. Peter killed his dad and then he lost his other bluer dad and his girlfriend and disappeared for five years. Then he came back to life, hung out with Thor for a bit, got depressed, met Kevin Bacon, yelled at a younger version of his girlfriend for not loving him, almost died, and found his grandpa. So that’s one so far. How’s that for character development? I’m gonna say that’s minus one point because he acted like a child for all of the movies. Gamora was a badass killer raised by a genocidal maniac. She was a bad sister. She made some friends and met a guy that constantly tried to seduce her even though she said no. Then he met his dad and she started to like him slightly more for some reason. She started dating him and became a slightly better sister, only to be murdered by her dad. Then a version of her from 2014 was stranded in the present day and started leading a team of alien thieves and criminals and Sylvester Stallone. She almost ended up back together with the crazy man that was in love with a dead version of her, but then she didn’t and went back to her gang of criminals and Stallone. I’m gonna say original Gamora got fucked over in terms of character development, but 2014 Gamora gets a plus one for escaping a toxic and unrealistic relationship with a man who was desperately and idiotically trying to reclaim something that was lost forever. Rocket gets a plus one for being likable the whole time and overcoming his depressing past. Drax gets a plus one for making the shift from grumpy silent warrior to fun goofy dad, even if he changed personalities in between the first and second movie to do it. Groot gets a minus one because he looked the coolest before he died. Yondu gets plus five for being Michael Rooker. Nebula gets plus ten for going from annoying background henchman to a fantastic character and one of the best parts of Endgame. Karen Gillan is the best. Also she overcame her issues with her sister and her father, despite the torture she suffered. Mantis gets plus five for going from Kurt Russell’s weird henchman to kidnapping Kevin Bacon and being awesome in the third movie. And Sean Gunn gets plus one for learning how to whistle. What does that all amount to? I mean, no, it’s a good capper but it’s not a good trilogy. In terms of being cohesive and working well together, it’s not good. The movies are all pretty solid, even the one I didn’t like, but the character development in these movies for Peter, Gamora, and Drax in particular was all over the place. Not to say that Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldaña aren’t terrific.

Who specifically dies and were those deaths emotional and effective?
So I wrote that question before seeing the movie because I assumed at least one of the Guardians would die, but none of them did, surprisingly enough. James Gunn has had some pretty heartbreaking character deaths in his other movies. RIP Rick Flag. But from memory, there are at least two eventful deaths that do happen, so I’ll mention those quick. Ayesha dies very quickly from the planet exploding around her. I like Elizabeth Debicki, but that character was always annoying to me, so I didn’t care. The High Evolutionary’s death was good but disappointing. Marvel needs to stop killing villains. If I was Chukwudi Iwuji though, I’d be thrilled. He got to play a grand, postulating villain and die a memorable, gross death. He didn’t have his face on! They showed his eyeballs and his red mushy skeleton! It would be so awesome to die like that in a movie. It’s way better than just fading away into sand or ash or light, which is how people die in movies if they’re old and wise or if the Infinity Gauntlet is used improperly. So no and yes is the answer.

Did they do Rocket’s story justice?
Yeah, I think so. I didn’t love the melancholy scenes with him and his animal friends “playing”. You’re just rolling around in a cage! Stop being depressing! I didn’t love the looks of his friends either. The walrus with the big wheels who named himself Teefs or something was gross looking and I didn’t like the bunny with the spider legs and the teeth like the Jaws guy from the Bond movies. And why did the otter have weird thin metal arms? I don’t understand why those three all looked like rejects from the third act of Finding Dory or a mishmash of the various scary toys in Toy Story. Rocket looks like a normal raccoon that got stretched into a more human shape. So I don’t know. I think it’s funny that the High Evolutionary is always ranting about genetic perfection but when he originally got into the business of being cruel to animals and genetically altering them, he went at it with the energy of a child yelling at a ballon artist to make him something cooler.

“I’m sorry? Do you know how balloons work? Here, I can give you a sunflower.”
“How would I even… That makes no sense!”
“Thin metal arms? Kid, have you seen a balloon before?”
“Ma’am, can you get your child away from me, please? Thank you.”

The balloon artists that worked at Perkins in the Twin Cities area back in the mid to late 2010s must have hated me. But yeah. I mostly covered it already, but I like this character a lot. I think the overall integration of his backstory with the overall plot was mishandled in a way that weighed the pacing down and made it feel like he wasn’t really a part of the movie for a while. I think having him be near-death for most of the movie was a mistake. I also think it’s odd that in Guardians Vol. 2, Infinity War, and this, Rocket was separated from most of the main team for the majority of the movie. Is that because it’s easier to have Bradley Cooper voice scenes separately? Not sure. I also think the bit where Rocket sees his dead friends in a vague white void and the otter tells him he can’t die yet was a bit schmaltzy and unnecessary. I’m kinda sick of those scenes. This one reminded me of the time that Harry Potter met ghost Dumbledore and the creepy fetus Voldemort in the unrealistically clean mindscape train station. Spoilers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, by the way.

Did I like this more than Guardians Vol. 2?
Yes, by quite a bit. I think part of my issue with the last one is that the characters in the movie were constantly laughing at stupid jokes. Also there’s that bit where Dave Bautista loudly proclaims that he has “famously huge turds”. For some reason, he made another poop joke in this movie. He’s an intergalactic warrior, James. Why is he talking about pooping in the shape of a fish? What’s the point of that, man? I don’t know, maybe I should rewatch it. The only thing is, I remember what happens pretty well. It’s not like I’ve forgotten what happened and it may be better than I remember. I remember it pretty well. But yes, this one is better. Even though it had the least amount of Michael Rooker in it. I miss Michael Rooker playing Yondu.

Did I like this movie more than The Suicide Squad?
God, no. I LOVE The Suicide Squad. that’s maybe my favorite superhero movie. Maybe. Anyway, nothing tops that. I don’t have much else to say here. And I shouldn’t need to. You ask me a brief question, you get a brief answer. Move on! Go look at the bit about post-credits!

The credits scenes and what they mean:
The mid-credits scene features the new Guardians lineup out on a mission. The new team consists of Rocket, giant Kaiju Groot, Phyla-Vell, Kraglin, Adam Warlock, and Cosmo the Spacedog. Phyla-Vell is one of the children they rescue from the High Evolutionary. Presumably she was the one in the hamster wheel? I can’t remember. There were so many small children in identical outfits, it was hard to tell. In the comics, she’s related to Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel, but in this universe, Mar-Vell is Annette Bening, and completely unrelated to all of that. Maybe they’re still related? We’ll maybe see someday. So Rocket is leading the team now and everyone loves music. Groot will presumably continue to grow if he’s that big now, so maybe he’ll turn into a planet later on. I think they’re doing that in the comics right now. Grootfall or something, it’s called. I don’t think this is a tease of more movies, I think they’re just saying the adventures are continuing, like they did at the end of Love and Thunder. I’d be hesitant to see them make another movie, even though it’s a financially viable franchise and they’ll probably try to make another one without James Gunn. I don’t think someone else will be able to get it, especially considering the overall direction these movies are heading in. After Quantumania and the controversy surrounding someone in that movie, I think the future of this universe is suddenly very uncertain and not in a good way.
The post-credits scene shows Peter Quill eating breakfast with his grandpa and gossiping about a neighborhood woman that asked Peter to mow her lawn because her adult son won’t do it, and that’s then accompanied with a large title card that says “THE LEGENDARY STAR-LORD WILL RETURN” which could be a joke, given the nature of the scene. I’m pretty sure he’s said in the past that he prefers playing this character when James Gunn is directing, so I don’t know if he is coming back for a while. But then again, I’m sure he wants more money and he’ll come back for the next two Avengers movies in between recording Mario and Garfield sequels in his garage. Bummer they didn’t say the Guardians will return. But I think hopefully they leave those characters be for now at least. I think they have plenty of other movies and shows to focus on first, and then we can maybe get a Guardians movie with Beta Ray Bill. Actually, never mind. New Guardians movie now, with Beta Ray Bill. Who’s Beta Ray Bill? He’s horse-faced Thor. He’s an ally of Thor that can wield Mjolnir and he’s a badass and an awesome character and I love him. I put a picture below. Ain’t he cool?

Should you watch this?
Yeah, probably. I mean, it’s hard to tell. I’m not sure who specifically you are. Are you someone who likes superhero movies and watched the first two? Then yeah, you should watch it. But if you’re someone that doesn’t watch any superhero movies and you’re just randomly reading this for no reason, then probably not. I don’t know. Just use your own damn judgement to figure it out. Why do I need to tell you whether you should watch a movie or not? We don’t know each other! Unless you’re a good friend or relative and we do in fact know each other. And if that’s the case, why focus on this part of the review? You can just text or call me and ask if you should watch it or not. You know what? I’m just gonna move on. I resent having to answer a question I couldn’t possibly answer without further background information on who specifically is answering the question. Stupid question. Now I’m in a really bad mood and I still have to finish the review. Humph.

Am I starting to get a little tired of superhero movies?
Just a teensy bit. But I promise you, I’m not giving up on superheroes anytime soon. They’re a major part of who I am! A few generic movies won’t change that. If Marvel dropped a trailer tomorrow for a Captain America movie starring Chris Evans where he’s wearing his Endgame costume and returning the Infinity Stones, I’d squeal with joy. And in my happiness, I would forget about and forgive Chris Evans for Ghosted, which is one of the most generic and lifeless movies I’ve ever seen starring two incredibly talented and very good-looking people who should feasibly be able to make a better film. So I’m not going to stop watching anything, but even though I love James Gunn, I kept feeling echoes of past Marvel movies in this. The movie ends with everybody escaping a big exploding ship. Oh, cool. I liked when they had to escape an exploding thing in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Black Widow, The Suicide Squad, and now Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Okay, it hasn’t happened as much as I thought, and there is a finite amount of plot elements and set pieces to draw on or creatively whisk from thin air. It is funny to me that all of his superhero movies have a big thing exploding at some point towards the end of the movie that all the characters have to escape from. Or when Adam Warlock asks Groot why he saved him and Drax says Groot thinks everyone deserves a second chance. I remember that happening in Thor: Ragnarok and Quantumania at least. Also they recreate the Creation of Adam by Michelangelo when Adam Warlock saves Peter Quill. He does the weird touch fingers thing and I think that’s almost as dumb as when they had Ikarus fly into the sun in Eternals. Stop doing stuff like that! It’s not clever! But yeah, other than that I enjoyed this one. This is easily better than both Shazam 2 and Quantumania because it at least feels like a fully realized vision that wasn’t ruined by studio input or crunch time for the visual effects artists or The Rock. And James Gunn tried to do some really interesting things, world-building wise, as I detailed before. The action scenes were shot mostly in long one take sequences, which sometimes was a little spotty-looking or awkward, but most of the time just looked cool. The Guardians just kill a bunch of guards in a hallway sequence at one point, set to “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”, which was also used in Super Mario Bros as well. Guess Chris Pratt loves that song. James Gunn also, as I said above, really cranked up the menace in some scenes and really highlighted the disconcerting nature with the way it was shot. It was great. Kudos to him.

My Unintentional Mini-Review of Shazam! Fury of the Gods
I should also say, I don’t want to discredit David F. Sandberg and the work he did on Shazam 2. I loved that first movie and I thought even though the second one was somewhat boring, he introduced some fun magical elements that I really enjoyed. At the end, Philadelphia is invaded by a bunch of classic mythological beasts and monsters, like cyclops and harpies and unicorns at one point? And clearly a lot of care and attention was put into making sure all of those monsters had a very distinct look and aesthetic to them. There’s a sentient pen as well that’s kinda funny. At one point Djimon Hounsou shows up at Billy’s house dressed like a pimp. That was weird. My friend Katy and I both said “He looks like a pimp.” They did more stuff with those floating doors. David F. Sandberg is a good director and it’s evident that he loves making movies. They gave him a much bigger budget for the second one and he used it to do some cool stuff. Sure, it tanked. Sure, there’s a lot of scenes with Lucy Liu riding a dragon where it looks like she’s in front of a big green screen. Sure, there’s an incredibly weird and disturbing sequence in which Billy Batson, dreaming that he’s in Shazam! mode (AKA very annoying in this one) and on a date with Wonder Woman (He’s a child. Why is he constantly crushing on this woman who’s hundreds of years old) and then she turns around and Djimon Hounsou’s face is on Wonder Woman’s head. Hated that. And sure, it’s just not very good in general. But David F. Sandberg is a good director and he should hopefully get another shot. Also, there’s a few times where Helen Mirren just beats the shit out of Zachary Levi and I though that was hilarious. 6/10.

Overall Rating – 7/10(James Gunn directed The Suicide Squad and pretty much everything he makes is exciting and interesting, even if I don’t love it. I’m looking forward to his DC movies, and I liked this one enough, even if Chris Pratt put a damper on the whole affair.)
Star-Lord Rating – 2/10(Shut up.)

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