“Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3”: A Bittersweet Farewell

Marvel's family of outlaws-turned-heroes return for a new and (possibly) final adventure. We tell you what you can expect from this bittersweet farewell in our review of "Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3".

Still from the movie 'Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3'

Photo: Marvel Entertainment

LatinAmerican Post | Juan Andrés Rodríguez

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Leer en español: “Guardianes de la Galaxia vol. 3”: Una despedida agridulce

It must be recognized that since "Avengers: Endgame" (2019), the epic conclusion of the first saga of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the franchise has struggled to find the reason to justify why to continue with this story beyond filling from Disney's vaults with billions of dollars. Although some films work individually as the great action and entertainment pieces that the brand promises, the feeling prevails that they are the final moments of a party in which the best moments have already passed, but the organizer persists in exciting an exhausted audience.

In this context, James Gunn's effort to give a proper closure to the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy with a space odyssey to celebrate the union of its strange and dysfunctional protagonists must be recognized. After years of protecting planets and societies throughout the universe, the Guardians must save one of their own when Rocket becomes the target of High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), a sadistic scientist obsessed with creating the perfect society.

The epic and colorful action sequences are elevated by the chemistry of the cast, who have a mastery of each character and allow the humor to flow naturally. This creates a combination that partially compensates for the manipulative techniques used to heighten the emotional factor and which seek to move to tears in ways so obvious that they are outrageous and offensive to the intellect of the audience.

One last trip in style

Amid the usual criticism about how Marvel movies seem like the product of artificial intelligence (a joke that is not far from becoming true), it is refreshing when they allow a director to work from his authorship to print his style. This has made a difference with the Guardians movies under the command of James Gunn, who says goodbye to the franchise with quite a show.

Returning the direction to Gunn, after a ridiculous temporary layoff, was a wise decision, since it allows for a cohesive closure, both in style and the narrative arc of its protagonists. The special effects, another of Marvel's common weaknesses, stand out because they are very well done, full of textures and colors that bring to life an odyssey in an eccentric galaxy. This together with the inevitable eighties and nineties classics make the sequences and action montages unforgettable.

Also, Gunn's loyalty to certain actors pays off very well this time around with the inclusion of Chukwudi Iwuji as the villain on duty. The High Evolutionary is a narcissist whose obsession with being a god plunges him into terrifying sadism. Other additions such as Will Poulter for the role of Adam Warlock, one of the most powerful characters in comics, demonstrate a good casting choice that unfortunately falls short in development due to the number of characters.

But the most important thing is that there is a closure that respects the evolution of the protagonists we met nine years ago. The dysfunctional dynamic of these ex-convicts grows stronger with each installment, and the dysfunctional dynamic of a family is genuinely felt in their latest adventure. Each member has the focus to highlight their character's journey and that in the end, despite exaggerating the melodrama, it deserves the nostalgic feeling of a farewell.

Read also: "Evil Dead: Rise" Review: An Ode to Horror Fans

Guide to emotionally manipulate an audience

Usually, the last chapter of a saga has the emotional climax of the journey, the risk is felt, and the loss is anticipated, which causes anxiety and pain. In "Guardians Vol.3" they want to achieve this through the story of Rocket (Bradley Cooper), finally presenting his tragic past. This narrative line becomes an excuse to increase sentimental value, disguised as a discourse on animal rights.

Putting cute, anthropomorphic animals that create emotional bonds in the middle of a context of torture seems typical of other Disney movies. The intention for the audience to weep at certain times through pity is made so obvious that it is ridiculed, which is offensive, as if the audience is so insensitive as to need utter misery to empathize.

In "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" James Gunn wants you to feel the weight of the last chapter of an adventure, which is determined by the climax of action and emotion. Although he manages to fully comply with the first section with the largest installment of the trilogy, it is in the second when he fails abysmally when developing a link that he considers gives emotional weight, but is unnecessary when it already exists in the relationship of the protagonists, that at times goes into the background.

Gunn will move on to DC to give direction to that entire franchise (which is also running out of resources) and actors like Zoe Saldana have already mentioned that this is their last involvement with Marvel, indicating that it really may be the end of the Guardians. If this is the case, although they do not leave in the best way, they do so on their terms and with a worthy story.

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