We finished Volume 2 with the question: how many stars can a galaxy take. Clearly, keep counting. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is an even more chaotic, if less zanier, addition to its two previous partner films, and among the many planets it zooms, crashes or just swings through include a ‘Contra-Earth’ and Earth itself.
But it essentially is a passing of the baton. This is a film in which Rocket the Raccoon (yes, it is firmly established this time that a raccoon is who he is) gets a backstory, a centrestage, and a glorious send-off into the future – besides a couple of scenes of genuine high-emotion cinema.
Bradley Cooper is marvellous again, his Rocket making the switch effortlessly from pithy to pathos, zero gravity to maximum gravitas.
And if that sounds a desperate bit of scientific analogy, blame the writer-director James Gunn. He is not kidding in his version of the villain stereotype who is seeking to engineer “perfect” species to populate a “perfect” world; it was in the course of this that this person referred to as ‘The High Evolutionary’ (Iwuji) — HE for short — did experiments that turned Rocket from a streetside raccoon to an intergalactic buccaneer.
Vol. 3 expends considerable time talking about some of these experiments in their impressively unpronounceable descriptions.
While the Guardians have no fondness for spartan living as we know already, at least one planet they set out to conquer this time is made almost entirely of bionic material, which might have seemed better on paper than visually.
Watch the trailer of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 here
Rocket escaped HE and death once, and now HE wants him back. And since HE won’t stop at anything, neither will they – meaning, Rocket’s family of lovables Peter (Pratt), Drax (Bautista), Nebula (Gillan), Mantis (Klementieff), and Groot (Diesel). We thought Gamora (Saldana) was dead, but here she is back with some twist of space-time which, like Peter says, who can explain but an infinity stone expert. And they have none right now.
The Guardians do what they do – which is that they banter, bicker, badger, bluster, bludgeon or blast their way through obstacles. They do this once again with impressive panache.
It’s the film that can’t do what it does so well. With the word around that Vol. 3 might be the last of this franchise – though of course the characters are likely to be around and fit into the many Marvel films — Gunn just packs in and in and in.
If HE is in love with himself and his creations, in a self-confessed god delusion, Gunn too seems reluctant to let the world he has crafted go – into that giant infinity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But, this means that at 150 minutes, Vol. 3 runs out of its welcome — even if there still remain more planets to decimate.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 cast: Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Chukwudi Iwuji, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Pat Klementieff, Vin Diesel
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 rating: 2.5
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director: James Gunn