The last of James Gunn’s Marvel movies doesn’t get caught up in the multiverse and is the best Marvel movie in years. It’s a big-hearted, emotional rollercoaster with a creativity to the filmmaking, dialogue and performances that modern superhero movies often lack.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 opens with Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) listening to “Creep” by Radiohead. The film is filled with clever needle drops, and it’s a tone-setter. Rocket sees himself as the weirdo, the creep, but the movie will teach him that he’s so so special, of course.
The big bad is the entity known as the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), a powerful mad scientist who dabbles in cosmic eugenics, and has a connection to Rocket, and now wants him back.
How will the team save Rocket in this infinite universe? Well, without giving too much away – nothing is more powerful than family. It isn’t always perfect, but whether it’s the one you’re born into or the one you find, family is the only thing saving us in this cold, enormous expanse.
The film is a send-off to the gang of misfits first introduced in Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). As a team, they’ve always leaned more into mercenary violence and bro-ish banter than anything so hopelessly quaint as heroism, although they do tend to wind up saving the day, despite themselves.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a reminder that the best blockbusters don’t just sing along to a well-known tune like “Creep”; they make the song their own. The film takes the team in a darker direction, but without sacrificing heart or humour.
It’s a loving last hurrah for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most ragtag family, ending the trilogy on an entertaining high note.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, rated PG, plays at the Patricia Theatre (5848 Ash Avenue, Powell River) from May 19 to 23 and May 26 to 30 at 7 pm, with a matinee Sunday, May 21 and 28, at 1:30 pm. Running time is two hours and 30 minutes. The theatre is closed on May 24, 25 and 31, and June 1.
Gary Shilling is executive director of qathet Film Society.