Rob Reviews "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3"
Before I went to my screening of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, I was seeing an interesting mix of reviews from those who had done so before me. I do my best to filter those out until I can formulate my own opinions, but they were in the back of my mind as the lights dimmed. The thing is… I’m still not completely sure how I feel about James Gunn’s final swim through the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The team (Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper (voice), Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, Maria Bakalova (voice), and Vin Diesel (voice)) is finally setting up shop in Knowhere with all of them dealing with their own personal issues from abandonment to loss and even acceptance. When one of their own finds themselves in peril, the team reunites with the alternate timeline’s Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and rallies on what could be the most dangerous mission they have faced to date as they take on the High Evolutionary (Chukudi Iwuji).
And that’s really all I want to say about the two and a half hours that this film runs.
I hate that I am about to write this next statement, but I REALLY felt the run time on this one. It seems like Gunn has SO MUCH to say (whether or not he knew at the time that he would be moving to the other side of the comic-to-screen street to run DC’s adventures) and chose to jam ALL OF IT into one film. It is definitely better than Vol. 2, which really had a great message at its core but chose to deliver it in a slow burn that reminded me of Wile E. Coyote watching his fuse work its way towards the dynamite he has lit and it never really getting there. However, this film from a pacing standpoint suffers a different issue in the previously mentioned amount of content that the script itself has.
There is a high level of emotion (and even a more dramatic tonal shift than even Vol.2) to these stories that as Alex commented in my social media post of being at the screening put it, I “was not prepared for” which choked me up more than once. This is what led me to think (and not for the first time this year) that Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 could have either been split into two films or taken a “side quest” for one of its stories like the comics do by mentioning something and then putting an asterisk next to the dialogue to tell the reader what story they are referring to in order for them to be “caught up”. The problem here is that most of the viewing public would not do the research and would then poo-poo on this film because of it in a way that Serenity suffered at the box office, which I would contend could have been fixed with the deleted scenes of the DVD included in the theatrical cut by filling in the “holes” that non-fans would not have understood. There will also be some hate thrown towards this movie due to some liberties taken from the comic book continuity, but I honestly gave up on that a long time ago. I don’t know that there will be a time when all of that righted itself (especially when it comes to the WAY overdue arrival of Adam Warlock, played by Will Poulter, and don’t get me started on all of THAT), so it is important as I have said before to look at these types of films in a broader scope than just a fan base.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 is not necessarily a bad film, but there are definitely issues that could have made it better. I am not sure if there is something contractually binding that makes them overwhelmingly clear the two-hour mark, but there are some cuts that could have been made here that would have improved the cinematic experience for me. Seeing it in a premium format is definitely the way to go here (at least from an audio standpoint), but I will honestly say I appreciate that Gunn did everything he could to wrap up the journey of the team that few thought could translate to the big screen and made it one of the most talked-about series in the entire MCU.