What could be more fun for a movie than a mix of humans, aliens and furry anthropomorphic animals dressed up like humans? Especially adorable is Rocket, a furry racoon-like little guy voiced by Bradley Cooper.
The premise in the the third of this three-part film series is that High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), a human (I think) with a computer gizmo on the side of his head, is trying to create a super utopian world full of beings who are perfect and peaceful. He has been experimenting using batches of animals.
I have only read summaries of volumes 1 and 2, so I can only report on how good “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is as a stand-alone. I quickly understood that there used to be a love connection between the human leader, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), who was adopted by Ravagers, and Gamora (Zoe Saldana), who is no longer with the team. Basically, Quill is the leader of a group of hodgepodge criminals that banded together in Vol. 1 to fight evil. By Vol. 3, Rocket is injured and near death. Like the Musketeers, the remainder of the group must save his life. This is the focus of the adventure in Vol. 3.
There are so many crazy-looking characters, such rich sets and so much anger and violence that Vol. 3 was a little overwhelming. As the English teacher I am, I commend the writers on entertaining alternate stories within the film – just like Shakespeare. But also, I would remind them to focus less on what is peripheral and more on what is important. A journalist’s rule of thumb is that if a sixth-grader can’t understand it, it needs a reworking. Good entertainment should not need research and study.
Can Vol. 3 stand alone? The adorable Rocket and developed characterization of Peter Quill are a joy to watch. But sometimes Rocket is near death on a gurney and other times he is thrown into a dungeon. Where are we in time/imagination/hallucination?
The concept that evil could be crouching behind the idea of building a perfect being and a perfect society was intriguing, except for the problem that the creator is so deeply flawed and cruel – so it doesn’t really track for me.
“Guardians of the Galaxy,” in all its renditions, had some power to rank with the early Star Wars series and be a full-family adventure. Vol. 3’s values in being loyal and caring to those you care about and being against the influence of evil come through. But its violence, really scary creatures, overwhelming effects and multiple stories are too difficult for children under 13. For those a little older, parent guidance is advised (raisingchildren.net.au).
The bottom line is that the characters, like Rocket and his fury friends, are refreshingly adorable in an action film and the band of different beings with different talents in Peter Quill’s gang is a teachable concept. But how well it stands alone and how well it presents this third adventure for first-time viewers is questionable.
Director: James Gunn
Screenplay: James Gunn
Release: May 5, 2023
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Chukwudi Iwuji, Bradley Cooper, Sylvester Stallone, Will Poulter and Nathan Fillion
Awards: 2023 Winner Golden Angel Award for Most Popular U.S. Film in China
2024 Nominee GrammyBest Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media
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