Are you playing ‘Come and Get Your Love’ or ‘Fox on the Run’ while reading this? That’s totally fine because I was playing those songs too while writing this! J This is it. The last Guardians of the Galaxy movie and James Gunn’s last Marvel film is here. It has been a wild ride. So hard to believe it’s already been 9 years since the first movie hit the theatres back in the day. James Gunn gives his last best work to the MCU before departing to rival comic book house, DC Studios as their co-CEO and Chairman. It is a movie definitely worth watching in the cinema filled with laughter and tears.
Please note that this article contains spoilers ahead. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and plan on watching it soon, kindly stop reading after this.
The movie wastes very little time by starting off with a big bang! The much-anticipated debut of Adam Warlock begins right away with the aforementioned storming the Guardians’ new citadel at Knowhere. Superman’s Marvel counterpart overpowers everybody in the start and wreaks havoc and critically wounds Rocket Raccoon. However, my first gripe with the movie also commences right after this moment when Nebula impales the overpowered character, leading Warlock to retreat. I felt this wasn’t the introduction Warlock deserved for his big screen debut. It was very reminiscent of the weak presentation of Darkseid’s first appearance in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. For those of you who do not read Marvel comics much, he was the man who defeated Thanos in the original infinity saga. Not Iron Man. Therefore, you can understand my annoyance in seeing him being slowed down right away.
After the ambush and Rocket’s serious injury, the Guardians discover there’s a kill switch which prevents them from treating him and embark on infiltrating the Orgocorp headquarters to retrieve the passcode. Meanwhile, Rocket recollects memories from his past of how he was experimented on by The High Evolutionary, who aimed to enhance animal life forms to create a counter earth. While there were other test subjects that Rocket befriends in captivity, he turned out to be the only successful one to gain exemplary intelligence and escapes from the ominous villain’s stronghold. The origin story and character development get a thumbs up from me. Conversely, I was hoping to see another cool Rocket Raccoon trap scene like the one from the second movie. An idea I believed would have truly created a legacy for the character much like how Bryan Singer’s Quicksilver had the infamous slow-motion scenes in X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse when he uses his super speed to save everybody around him from a catastrophe. Those scenes were then replicated by speedsters from other franchises such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Merton McSnurtle / Terrific Whatzit from DC League of Super-Pets. I strongly feel James Gunn and the Marvel Cinematic Universe missed out big time on that opportunity.
As Rocket remains unconscious, his buddies device a plan to trespass the Orgocorp’s HQ. They encounter Gamora from the alternate timeline who now is a member of The Ravagers along the way and they decide to help the Guardians. While I was delighted to see Sylvester Stallone return as Stakar Ogord along with Zoe Saldana, I found it to be a bit inconsistent to keep this variant of Gamora after Avengers: Endgame. Remember when The Ancient One told Bruce Banner that taking anything or anybody from a different reality endangers that specific universe’s safety unless they were all returned there? Which begs the question as to why that version of Gamora did not return to her home universe along with the infinity stones and other individuals? That way they could have just brought the late Natasha Romanoff’s alternate variant too to the 616 universe and kept her. Or even Tony Stark!
After successfully gaining access into the Orgocorp, they discover the passcode is with one of The High Evolutionary’s advisors on counter earth and once again briefly face off with Adam Warlock who put up another unimpressive portrayal in my humble opinion. After another action sequence, the Guardians make their way to counter earth to retrieve the passcode. The team finally encounter the main antagonist in his ship. My fav joke/insult of the movie comes from this very moment when Peter Quill disses the villain’s facial appearance by comparing him to RoboCop. Pretty soon another scuffle breaks lose but the beloved heroes get the passcode at last. An angry High Evolutionary decides to self-destruct the planet. Rocket is nearly at death’s door and briefly visits his cellmates from the past but is brought back to life after his fellow Guardians finally provide him the treatment he desperately needed.
Meanwhile Mantis, Drax and Nebula come across countless humanoid children imprisoned in The High Evolutionary’s ship before being captured and tossed into a cell with three horrendous looking monsters who Mantis befriends using her telepathic abilities. As the rest of the Guardians get back on the villain’s ship, Rocket reencounters The High Evolutionary and manages to subdue him with help from the other Guardians. The heroes try to save all the animals and children by having Cosmo to telekinetically bridge the The High Evolutionary and Knowhere’s ships together. Quill however, nearly dies when the two aircrafts separate while he tries to make the jump from one vessel to the other after Cosmo was unable to hold them together any longer. Adam Warlock makes the save in one of the cheesiest manners where Warlock’s index finger was reaching out to Quill’s to illustrate the Creation of Adam painting which was unwarranted. Another thing that irks me is that this movie never had Quill use his usual equipment such as his helmet and jet boots.
After the dust settled and things returned to the status quo, some of the members of the Guardians decided to go their own separate ways. Gamora returns to the Ravagers, Quill goes to earth to reunite with his grandfather, Mantis goes her own way with the monsters she adopted to find her purpose in life, while Drax and Nebula stay at Knowhere to raise the rescued children. Rocket Raccoon takes over as the new leader of the team with Groot, Cosmo, Kraglin and Adam Warlock.
All my friends who watched the movie last Saturday night with me, enjoyed it wholly while I ended up being the more picky and critical viewer. Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was a good movie. But it wasn’t the best. In fact, I still favor Vol.2 and the first film more as they had better plots and soundtracks in my opinion. It was also the extra childish humor that left a bad taste in my mouth and I was not surprised by it since that’s how Disney’s Marvel movies have been lately with the amount of bad jokes that were in Thor: Love and Thunder and Eternals. I appreciate humor as long as it’s tasteful and not immature. My last beef with the movie were the mid and after credits scenes which did not have any sorts of leads to the future MCU films such as Thunderbolts, Deadpool 3, Kang Dynasty or Secret Wars. All we got were the new Guardians prepping to take on a new mission and Quill eating breakfast with his grandfather. Felt like a kick in the… you know what.
I will on the other hand commend the director and studio for also taking a big gamble on having some PG-13 and almost R-rated like elements in it. For instance, we got our first ever uncensored F-bomb from a Marvel movie here which was shocking since it is not Disney’s MO to have such profanity being spoken in their films. Another scene that had stunned the audience was when The High Evolutionary’s face was ripped off and having a more bloodied and grotesque look than the Red Skull from Captain America: The First Avenger, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. It was a good homage to the character’s real face that was revealed in one of the comic panels. My heart tells me that there is hope for Disney to eventually pursue more mature and darker content for future projects such as the upcoming Deadpool 3 and Daredevil Born Again.
All in all, I give this film a 7 on 10 for its decent plot, standardized costumes, and a few intense moments.
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