Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 (Gunn, 2023)

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Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

Production Company: Marvel Studios 

Director: James Gunn

Producer: Kevin Feige

Scriptwriter: James Gunn

Main Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillian, Pom Klementieff

Release Date: May 5th 2023 (US)

Running Time: 150 minutes

Certificate: 12


Well I guess all good things must come to an end. After three films the Guardians of the Galaxy have finally flown off into the forever.. Well at least until Kevein Feige brings them back in for Kang Dynasty or Secret Wars. Anyway, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 more than delivered with an emotionally satisfying conclusion. It also shows more heart and comedy than 95% of Phase Five. Though that last part isn’t exactly difficult…. Also, SPOILER warning in place. Anyway, what better time is there than now to review James Gunn’s last Marvel film so without further ado let’s get into my review.


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 follows the titular Guardians, Star Lord (Pratt), Drax (Bautista), Mantis (Klementieff) and Nebula (Gillian) as they try to save Rocket Raccoon (Cooper) from the clutches of the High Evolutionary. On this journey to save everyone’s favourite raccoon, the Guardians slowly realise that war with the High Evolutionary may mean not all of them are able to come back. Also, joining the Guardians are Gamora (Saldana), technically not in the Guardians because of Endgame and alternate realities, as well as Kraglin and Cosmo. Anyway, enough with the synopsis let’s get into the analysis portion of my review now.


Dave Bautista’s Performance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

To begin my analysis of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, I’m going to discuss one of the outgoing Guardians actors: Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer. And honestly, this performance really shows him at his comedic best. Take for example, the scene where he’s trying to explain to Star Lord to move on from Gamora. Here, Bautista starts off well before descending into a mad rant about how he’s really good at analogies and metaphors. This is just wonderful as it breaks up a quite serious talk with some funny comic relief to stop the film becoming too dark at that point. Also, his funniest jokes are probably his interactions with Pom Klementieff’s Mantis.

Take for example, the speech to Star Lord where Mantis is reacting to him in an over the shoulder shot. Or another example is when they’re trying to fight their way out of Orgocorp where Mantis is trying to avoid violence while Drax is punching people. Arguably, this is Bautista’s greatest strengths as Drax: his ability to switch between comic relief to action star in the same scene. Also, on the topic of Mantis and Drax, another example of her bringing out a funny Drax moment is her and Nebula arguing while Drax goes and tells all the children to move away from the ship’s starboard. This is brilliant as Drax stays out of shot in the background the entire time only to appear mid Mantis and Nebula argument. Bautista was made to be Drax and the fact he never hit a Batista Bomb in the film is a shame.

Soundtrack in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

Continuing my analysis of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, I’m going to discuss the film’s soundtrack. And honestly it may be one of the biggest things I’ll miss about James Gunn’s Guardians films. Take for example, the scene where the Guardians choose to go into the High Evolutionary’s ship to save the children. Here, Gunn has the Guardians march in slow motion while No Sleep till Brooklyn plays over it. What makes this song choice even better is Gamora’s eye roll as she reluctantly joins the Guardians on walking towards their death. Also, the rest of the soundtrack has some phenomenal choices too. Take Since You’ve Been Gone or Don’t Stop Me Now.

Honestly, I’m going to miss James Gunn and his great music taste which works in tandem with the score. For example, look at the scene of the Guardians breaking into Orgocorp with some boisterous pop song playing on entry before it switches to a more high tempo action film score. This continues throughout the film and is a great example of why the Soundtrack is so good: it blends the director’s trademark musical playlists with the more traditional Hollywood score to give the best of both worlds.

Bradley Cooper’s Performance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

Furthermore, in the next part of my analysis of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, I’m going to discuss another departing Guardian: Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon. And yes I know what the end credits suggest but still… Anyway, if you saw Rocket being the emotional heart of the film before you saw it you’re lying because Gunn uses him to deliver a brutally hard hitting and emotional narrative. For one example of Cooper’s brilliant performance, look at the scene where Laila and his other friends are shot by the High Evolutionary. Honestly, the sheer emotion and anger in Cooper’s voice here genuinely will make you tear up.

So, massive credit to Cooper and Gunn for making you emotionally invested in an otter, rabbit and walrus. Also, look to the ending for more examples of Cooper’s great performance as he refuses to abandon trapped raccoons being used for High Evolutionary’s experiments. Yet, again the sheer amount of emotion in Cooper’s voice as he gathers up his brethren in a desperate attempt to give them a better life is incredible really. If this is Bradley Cooper’s last appearance as Rocket, then he certainly went out with a bang.

Chukwudi Iwuji’s Performance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

To conclude my analysis of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, I’m going to discuss Chukwudi Iwuji’s performance as the High Evolutionary. Firstly, credit to Gunn and Iwuji as they avoid the trap of making the villain somehow sympathetic as High Evolutionary is genuinely despicable. Anyway, Iwuji’s performance is fantastic as he’s so emotionally attached to retrieving Rocket that it blinds his own god complex. Just look at the scene where he murders Rocket’s friends in front of him.

Here, Iwuji’s complete lack of emotion really sells the audience on the fact that he feels disdain for Rocket simply because he believes he is a lesser lifeform. Another great example of his performance is when he’s confronted by Star Lord and Groot. Yet, again Iwuji does a very good job at showing his god complex by having the High Evolutionary refuse to acknowledge the two Guardians as a threat to him and his civilization. I mean I can see why people are desperate for him to be a Kang variant retroactively as this level of god complex and looking down on ‘inferior’ life would suit Kang well. Also, side note as mentioned above the fact that High Evolutionary is genuinely just a horrible person makes the performance so much better as the audience love to hate him. 


To summarise Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, this is a wonderfully emotional and fun finale to the Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s packed with great performances along with a great soundtrack and most importantly, it’s full of emotion and heart. What more fitting way for the Guardians to go into the forever?

Overall Rating: 8/10 – Very Good

Target Audience: 12+

Content Warning: Moderate Violence and Gore, Moderate Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs and Smoking, Severe Frightening and Intense Scenes

Recommendation: Yes