Oh i was not emotionally prepared for the raccoons.
The third (and supposedly final) Guardians of the Galaxy movie arrives at a time when the state of the MCU is rather divisive. The last few movies – most, since Endgame, if i’m honest – have been sub-par. Don’t get me wrong, i did enjoy Quantumania, but it was daft as wensleydale, but Love and Thunder, Wakanda Forever, The Eternals… hmmm just not ballbreaking, are they? And this nonsence with Jonathan Majors… will we even get the Kang Dynasty?
After a dark opening with a young baby raccoon – my eyes had already started watering – and then we join the Guardians on Knowhere, a giant asteriodal skull. However, all is not well. Star Lord has tipped into drunken self-destruction, still reeling from the death of Gamorah in Endgame. (sorry if thats a spoiler but COME ON). Adam Warlock crashes in and trashes the place – sent to capture Rocket for some reason. Fortunately he is briefly defeated, but not before he critically injures our favourite anthropomorphised trash panda.
And so the plot then follows Star Lord and his band of misfits setting out to find the cure (or rather the kill-switch, but the details are unneccesary), uncovering an absolute maniac with a god-complex, (Chukwudi Iwuji, whom James Gunn has previously cast in his DC show Peacemaker) and crossing swords with Adam Warlock, who actually made me laugh out loud nearly every scene.
But lets address the elephant in the room. This film is an absolute assault to the senses. I think i cried out loud at least once every 30 minutes. I mean, i am an absolute softy – i cry at the end of Real Steel every time. I am reduced to a bawling mass at the end of Dragonheart. Even “Victor and the Doctor”, an episode of Matt Smith era Who wells me up. But i also absolutely crumble when presented with cute animals. I’m about as masculine as a jigglypuff when it comes to this nonsence. So presenting me with cages full of baby raccoons, an otter, a rabbit, a dog in a spacesuit… i was not ready for this. And did i mention Rocket is probably my second favourite Marvel character of all time – after Tom Jane’s Punisher – so having his entire existence in question throughout the whole movie… oh boy.
There is possibly too much of a jarring differential between the hard dark drama – Lyla, i’m looking at you – and the witty comedy bickering between the various characters. Groot is brilliant, Vin Diesel once again proving his acting range as a literal piece of wood (typecast?). Dave Baustista has made Drax his very own, showing some nice, accidental gravitas. Pom Klementieff is unfeasibly adorable as Mantis – and obviously, fellow Scot Karen Gillan absolutely shines as Nebula, whose scenes with Quill are as touching as could be – if it wasn’t for his obsession with Gomorah (Zoe Saldana) who is a previous timeline version of his lost love.
Hats off to the animators – there may not be anything new about the space CGI and huge, eye-watering special effects, but the animals… (i’m crying)… are sooooo good.
It isn’t as good as Guardians 2 – that had baby Groot, Micheal Rooker, Kurt Russell… but its still far and away the best MCU we’ve had since Endgame.
Whats next? We have the second series of Loki coming up, as well as Secret Invasion… whats the next movie? The Marvels…hmmm. Not sure i’m overly excited about that. There are other movies out this year which top my priority list. Indy? Ethan Hunt?? The Kwisatz Haderach???