Pocket Rocket in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – The Guardians of the Galaxy have lost some of their freshness over the years. They’re no long the scrappy obscurities who came out of nowhere to deliver one of the more idiosyncratic and enjoyable adventures in the Marvel Cinema Universe. But while familiarity has taken some of the elements of surprise, they’re still an agreeable bunch to watch.

Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon takes center stage in the adventure, after a golden hued man child (Will Poulter) morally wounds the talking rodent. Star Lord AKA Peter Quinn (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Mantis (Pom Klementieef, Groot (voice of Vin Diesel) and the rest of the Guardians must find a way to save him. Turns out Rocket was experimented on by “The High Evolutionary,” (Chukwudi Iwuji), a sort of benign scientist who wanted to remove imperfections and make a utopia … he’s not pure evil, merely misunderstood. This gives the Guardians plenty of chances to go on trippy explorations, first to the High Evolutionary’s fleshy lab, which looks a bit like an outer space colonoscopy.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Photo credit: Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Pictures

While this movie have plenty of the usual Marvel space visuals which we have seen many times before, some of the sequences take more of their inspirations from old 1950’s sci fi movies. The film “Forbidden Planet” comes to mind, and that in and of itself is a bit of a refreshing change for the Marvel machine that’s been stuck in a bit of a rut lately. And writer/director James Gunn still can deliver the fun even if the formula has become a bit “formulaic.”

Along the way Star-Lord meets up with a Gamora from an alternate timeline, who has no memory of their love affair. The mining of Star Lord’s longing and pathetic middle school level attempts to impress Gamora, and make her remember they were lovers, is not a terrible thing to riff on. But I was most surprised that Rocket’s story is the one that had the most heart. He’s an experiment, along with other lab animals like an otter who has mechanical arms and a walrus in a wheelchair. They strike up a deep friendship in their cages of the High Evolutionary, but Rocket is the only experiment who transcends its creator. And dammit if I didn’t actually feel for a talking raccoon that wears clothes and carries a blaster.

This leads to an alternate earth which is laid out like 1960s/‘70s cul-de-sac, full of creatures who would feel right at home in the old black and white “Twilight Zone.” The moments of irreverence arrive on schedule and don’t surprise like they used to, but I still found myself chuckling at them. Drax in particular is still amusing with his inability to fully comprehend humor or social graces.

Group Pose in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’
Photo credit: Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Pictures

On the whole, The Guardians Of The Galaxy seem like they’re finishing the trilogy at the right time. I would rank this as the least of their three stand-alone adventures, but it’s still a solid Marvel movie. And I didn’t feel like I had to brush up on homework to make sense of what was going on. This is a movie fully of inherently silly characters that knows they’re silly and makes no apologies … they embrace the irreverence. And with Marvel in a bit of a cinematic losing streak of late, that’s just what the doctor ordered.

”Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is in theaters on May 5th. Featuring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper. Written and directed by James Gunn. Rated “PG-13”

HollywoodChicago.com contributor Spike Walters


© 2023 Spike Walters, HollywoodChicago.com

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