Goodbye to the Guardians

Elliot Eisenberg

Bradley Cooper as a raccoon, Vinn Diesel playing a talking tree, and a dance-off to save the galaxy. While these ideas once seemed questionable, three movies later this seventies-music-loving, Kevin Bacon-obsessed group, also known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, are some of the world’s favorite heroes. Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 was released last week as the final adventure of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) best band of misfits.


Leading up to the film’s release Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldaña, who play Drax and Gamora respectively, had stated that Volume 3 would be their last time playing their characters after nearly ten years. Although saddened knowing the Guardians group was about to be disbanded, fans flocked to theaters excited to watch another highly amusing and lively film. At its core, however, the movie that lay in store for audiences was drastically different from the previous two.

Volumes 1 and 2 are known for their comedic natures and light-hearted storytelling. Volume 3, although containing laugh-out-loud scenes, thanks mostly to Drax, was the heaviest movie of the trilogy. While continuing the team’s storyline forward, it also focused on the horrific background of Rocket. His life before finding a family in Star-Lord, Groot, Drax, Mantis, Nebula, and Gamora was filled with torture and cruel experiments. We learn about the way Rocket as a baby raccoon was stolen, exploited, and altered in a truly ruthless manner. The movie also shows Rocket witnessing the death of his first three friends at the hands of his inventor. While disturbing, audiences can appreciate the way the film fleshes out such a beloved character.

The main villain of the movie was The High Evolutionary. He’s a man intent on making “perfection” in the universe by creating entirely new species, along with planets for them to live on. Part of his process involved the torture and destruction of trillions of living things and populations. Although Chukwudi Iwuji did an excellent job depicting the character, I felt The High Evolutionary as the main antagonist wasn’t great. His ideas are very straightforward as an evil that procure a quite one-dimensional character. 

The Guardian movies have redefined what it means to be a family. From the iconic line, “We are Groot” in Volume 1 to a shocking new Groot sentence in the shape of “I love you guys,” fans easily can see the deep connections that have formed between the Guardians of the Galaxy team. With an already depressing movie, killing any of the Guardians off would have sent me spiralling with grief (yes, I know these are fictional characters), so I believe that instead of killing our favorites, sending them on their own paths, alive, was a superior decision. The movie’s ending inclusion of “Come and Get Your Love,” which was notably played in the first movie, really tied the whole series together in a heartwarming, nostalgic way. Overall, director James Gunn did an excellent job in creating full-circle journies with characters that the world’s grown to love. Leaving the film I felt very satisfied with the amount of closure we got.

With Star-Lord returning to his grandpa on Earth and Mantis off on her own adventure, the Guardians of the Galaxy are officially over. However, that does not mean specific characters will never be on the IMAX screen again. During the mid-credits scenes, audiences watched a revised version of the original team consisting of Groot, Adam Warlock, Kraglin, Cosmo the Spacedog, and Phyla-Vell (one of the rescued kids of The High Evolutionary’s creation) on a mission. And at the end of the final credits scene, the movie flashes a “Star-Lord will return” after a scene of him adjusting to life back on Earth. Finally, I could see the idea of a future Mantis spinoff series about her pet abilisks and their new lives together.

Despite being my least favorite of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, Volume 3 was a solid film. It had some utterly ridiculous, but enjoyable, scenes to laugh at the characters’ stupidity and I admired the way that Gunn bade farewell to the lovable crew. The length and underdeveloped villain are my only complaints. I would give the movie a 6.5/10 and recommend that anyone who appreciates a fun soundtrack, star-studded cast, and epic action sequence should head to the cinema.