A Quick Note On Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Marvel has always had a bit of a tonal issue across their cinematic universe, and even within singular franchises, such as Thor. There was one franchise in particular though that I was positive I had nailed down in terms of what to expect. Guardians of the Galaxy was one where I was sure of what I was going to get: loveable assholes being funny whilst fighting in spaceships. There was never much more to it than space lasers, iconic music, and comedy, and that was fine. So I was extremely surprised when I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 last night, and cried about ten different times.
Vol 3. was so unlike what I was expecting. In fact, I had pretty low expectations since the most recent Marvel movie I saw in theaters was Thor: Love and Thunder, and it ended up being the worst Thor movie, the worst Marvel movie, and one of the worst movies I’ve literally ever seen in my life.
So, yeah, I wasn’t particularly excited for Vol 3., but I figured I’d give a shot. And I am so glad I did.
Vol 3. was emotionally complex, and managed to keep its comedic tone while being a real tearjerker and having some seriously serious moments. The characters were still their pain in the ass sarcastic selves, but without being wildly out of character for the sake of a joke (looking at you, Thor). They were also more three-dimensional in this one, and allowed to have more emotions than just sarcasm. The theme of “found family” was especially strong, and played in to pretty much all the conflict, and drove the plot and character motivations.
Of course, these are all positives and made for a really good movie, but it was also a hard watch. It was… sad. There was a lot of trauma, and a lot of grief, and it was painful. I went in unprepared for how much this movie would make me feel. For once, Marvel didn’t undercut the sadness with bathos. You get to sit in the sadness, experience the raw emotions of the characters, and really let it sink in. The stakes are high, the performances are powerful, and the tears are flowing.
The first Guardians of the Galaxy is a super fun, colorful, interesting new side of Marvel that was a classic opener of a series. The second one dropped the ball a bit and was pretty lackluster but at least contributed to some lore. And the third is a heart-wrenching story that wove together the past and present, showed so many forms of love and grief, and really proved that these characters love each other unconditionally and will go to the ends of the earth (or galaxy) for one another.
Overall, Vol 3. was a great movie, and did so many things well. It was unexpectedly sad, and I really recommend catching it in theaters if you haven’t already, but maybe bring some tissues. And be careful bringing children to this movie because there is a lot of nightmare fuel that honestly disturbed me.
Have you seen it yet? What did you think? Do you like the first, second, or this one best? Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!