'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3' Movie Review with Spoilers: A Twisted Yet Sweet Finale?

 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 movie review

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 brings closure to our favorite space friends, but Rocket's backstory delves into twisted territory with animal cruelty taken to the extreme. The third film in the James Gunn trilogy may not be suitable for all kids or those easily triggered by the suffering of animals.

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his ragtag crew (Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff Dave Bautista) are living peacefully on Knowhere but Quill is still reeling from Gamora’s death. When Warlock (Will Poulter) comes hunting for Rocket for The High Revolutionary, the Guardians must go on another space adventure to save the life of their friend.

Gamora is now living as a Ravager but she is recruited by the Guardians for their mission against The High Evolutionary (Chuckwudi Iwiji), a mad and cruel scientist who experiments on animals and transformed Rocket into a genetically-enhanced creature of today. The High Evolutionary Frankenstein-ed critter's bodies with different objects.

The final GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL movie is Rocket’s origin story. Gunn flashbacks throughout the film to Rocket’s past as a cub. The furry Guardian is a product of The High Evolutionary’s cruel experiments. These flashbacks are intrusive to the present-day story and quite depressing. The young Rocket meets other mutilated animals in captivity. An otter with mechanical arms named Lylla, Teefs, a walrus with tires as legs, and Floor, a rabbit with mechanical spider legs and a metal piece covering her mouth. They help Rocket deal with the physical pain from the experiments and become a family in the process. As much as there are comedy and endearing moments among these friends, the images are heartbreaking and morbid.

Cutting back and forth between the light-hearted moments with the Guardians and young Rocket’s story is jarring in tone and slows down the pacing. The flashbacks are depressing because of the disturbing visuals. One or two flashbacks would’ve sufficed to introduce Chuckwudi Iwiji’s High Evolutionary character and Rocket’s backstory.

It’s surprising Marvel Studios approved such morbid imagery of mutilated critters. It makes you wonder if Gunn’s return to the MCU after being fired was conditional. Was he given creative freedom and a final cut approval? The end product seems to suggest that was the case.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 3 also wastes Warlock’s (Will Poulter) introduction into the MCU. The character makes a grand entrance but then he falls to the wayside.

Another off-putting element is the swirling camera movements that make you want to hurl. The stylistic choice is overdone and lends itself to a music video rather than a space adventure.

What Gunn got right are the returning characters. Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis, Nebula, Gamora, and Groot remain the main attraction, and their interaction is still endearing and hilarious. Missing, however, is present-day Rocket who is sidelined for most of the movie, and the irreverent character is sorely missed.

As someone sensitive to animal suffering, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 3 was hard to enjoy despite loving the Guardians. One minute you’re enjoying the present-day shenanigans, and then we flashback to the uncomfortable. While most fans may find it emotional, for others it may be unbearable.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 3 is now playing in movie theaters.

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