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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Guardian of the Galaxy Volume 3 (2023)

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You know when someone comes at you with a huge needle and says "this is going to hurt," you never really imagine how much. Most of the time, it's not as bad as you think. Sometimes, like here, it's just as bad as promised.

By all accounts, not least those I trust, this was going to be a wrench. Personally, there was already irony for reasons I won't go into here but what I will say is that the pre-screening I attended for the start of this trilogy signified the end of something. This final chapter promised the start of something else.

James Gunn chooses to bow out the Guardians in spectacular fashion, of course, but this is not what it will be remembered for. Instead, the life of Rocket Raccoon takes centre stage through backstory of an unenviable life before the Guardians and how he became who he was - a fiercely loyal fighter with a heart of gold, ravaged by furious grief. Not often reduced to a blubbering mess in a room filled with strangers, I had to force back the tears more than once. Gunn has delivered an excellent, if overlong, piece of cinema which many imagined Marvel lacked the ability to provide. And without him, that might be true going forward.

The gang is all here again. It wouldn't be the same if even one of them was missing, regardless of loosely tied-in stories elsewhere that juggle the canon a touch, but not so noticeably as to make you question what you're looking at. Just like the Guardians, this adversity is overcome with Gunn's superlative gung-ho, still occasionally irreverent, script and the casts' excellent delivery thereof.

This has received many plaudits already and out of what's available from the MCU, is head and shoulders above most and a fitting tribute to something we were both surprised and delighted by all those years ago, when Starlord danced and swaggered across a desolate planet with his Walkman. I'm sad to see them go, thankful for the time we had with them, but this is a beautiful and poignant way to say goodbye, much to the surprise of many. You're unlikely to see a better Marvel feature this year, so I'd recommend you check it out.


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