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‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Review: Raccoon Tears and a Final Mixtape

Animal lovers, comic book fans and unofficial arbiters of narrative continuity, action and style in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: lend me your ears. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is not the movie for you.

It’s probably two-and-a-half hours long, visually. ASPCA A movie nightmare only happens to perfectionist fans like me, arriving at the theater armed with overpriced popcorn in the hopes that Director James Gunns Can replicate the latest ramp and anti-gravity gamble. the first.

For those who need help demystifying their multiverse timeline, “Guardians” is the second film in the MCU’s worst Phase Five ever, followed by, to quote my colleague, “Completely un- affected”Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantummania“It was the last time we caught the whole team of our beloved ruffians together.”Avengers: Infinity War“When Thanos (Josh Brolin) throws his adopted daughter and guardian of the galaxy, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), into the Abyss to retrieve one of the Infinity Stones, which he used to control half of the universe. (Kevin There were some dancing grotesques about kidnapping Bacon and a cute holiday special, but — sorry, Q — they were irrelevant.)

Now the Guardians are settling in Knowhere, a community in the severed head of a celestial that serves as their home base. With Gamora gone, Peter (Chris Pratt) aka Star-Lord, is still grieving, unaware of the fact that somehow Gamora—or rather, a type—is alive, his and the Guardians’. Deprived of memories. When, minutes into the film, Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) suffers a fatal attack, the team is reunited with a hostile, partially amnesiac Gamora, who is reluctant to save him. They are dragged into their conspiracy.

While Rocket is in critical condition, Peter and company do some risky spying through Rocket’s traumatic backstory to figure out how to save his life and his pursuer, the High Evolutionary (Chakwudi Ioji). How to stop A powerful god-like figure, the High Evolutionary has genetically modified Rocket, other animals, and even children to create a perfect race to live in his imagined utopia. (Yes, that’s another Nazi-coded villain for your bingo card.)

Much of “Guardians 3” seems to come out of left field, most notably the main story, which is driven by Rocket, though Guardians is second-string to Star-Lord, the hero who drives most of the plot. has played The change makes sense given the film’s role as the end of a trilogy, resulting in a Guardians team with a different starting lineup and an unclear position in the context of the rest of the MCU. But this shift also feels jarring and emotionally manipulative. Scene after scene of CGI animals with big emotional eyes being shot, blown up, tortured and burned is as brutal as it gets. Clips of injured animals set to Sarah McLachlan’s song.

It seems that the “Guardians” need the bait of this extreme shock to set their stakes and prove that the bad guy is, in fact, bad. Which is unfortunate because Iwuji, who gave a much more nuanced performance in Gunn’s fun DC Extended Universe series, “Peacemaker,” is left with only a thin shadow of an antagonist to work with here. (Will Poulter and Elizabeth Debicki also appear as silly secondary antagonists for no reason.)

Something like Thanos Light or Knock-Off Doctor Frankenstein, High Evolutionary represents one of the central problems the franchise has been facing of late.End game” MCU: Characters and situations that pale in comparison to Thanos and his devastating, consequential multi-arc-spanning plotline. Because at least the extent of Thanos’ power and the roots of his villainous philosophy were clear. “There is no God – that’s why I stepped in,” the high-evolutionist says at one point. This little germ of inspiration does nothing but point out all the questions the film could have answered about the character to make him more interesting. Certainly an atheist with a narcissistic personality and obsessive-compulsive disorder has some deep psychology to unpack. ah good

While this “guardian” is certainly less fun than the others, there are still glimmers of joy in the more mundane and subtle interactions between the families to be found. Dave Bautista delivers another priceless performance as Drax, and Bautista’s signature chemistry works with Pom Klementieff as Mantis. Groot (Vin Diesel) equals the bang-bang-shoot-em-up category, as does Nebula (Karen Gillan). While the film makes no attempt to explain the logic behind Gamora’s magical appearance (“I’m not an Infinity Stone scientist!” Peter exclaims after trying to confuse things), it at least gives Saldana He gets a chance to reinvent his character, which he manages beautifully. The same goes for Rocket, who delivers an Oscar-worthy performance—through Cooper’s great voice acting, of course, but also through the animation, which makes his face, posture, and movements so incredibly believable. are seen

Gunn makes a curious, daring choice to pursue an unsettling aesthetic that is part Cronenberg, part “Osmosis Jones.” A series of scenes takes place in a plane with the appearance of viscera and innards, with fleshy globules and architectural dendrites, often in nude tones. Squishy sound effects add an unwanted layer of grossness.

Even when the film returns to a more lambent palette of nebulae and bright starlight, Gunn’s direction doesn’t serve the full tableau. His camerawork is gorgeous, moving excitedly on every axis during group fight scenes rather than giving us a steady look at the choreography.

At least this “Guardians,” like the previous ones, stays on beat with a great soundtrack by Spacehog, Beastie Boys and Earth Wind & Fire. But after the breakout hit and the sequel, pumping out the soundtrack aside, “Everything would have been fine if your father, the space god, had played catch with you: the movie,” This final piece of the trilogy makes one thing clear: “The Guardian” was simply a one-hit wonder.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Rated PG-13 for some swearing and a menagerie of horrors. Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes. In theaters.



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