Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 film review and soundtrack list

Guardians Of The Galaxy Blasting Off To $260M

Marvel needed to make Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 work was a loaded Gunn. MCU fans may remember when Disney removed writer/director James Gunn from the superhero film after the resurfacing of his controversial tweets. However, after a few months, Gunn was brought back on board, allowing him to tell one last story with the galaxy’s most iconic superhero team of misfits. The third and final film in the Guardians trilogy features an ensemble cast of heroes going on one more adventure to save one of their own in a thrilling, hilarious tale that closes out the series in an epic fashion.

The first two movies in this trilogy established quite a voice for these films. When you walk into a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, you will get some outrageous comedic banter, a bunch of off-beat characters, and some perfectly timed needle drops to fill up the soundtrack with songs that will land in your next mixtape. Gunn knows what you’re looking for too. He’s taken some big swings with other more adult superhero films like The Suicide Squad and Super, but he brings every bit of his established PG-13 voice (this time with the MCU’s first F-bomb) to the movie and retains his wild, brash sense of humor.

Nobody can make Guardians like Gunn. He holds this movie together in a film that decides to take a more somber tone. The first two movies were funny, entertaining action movies with a few moments of emotion. But your first hint that this movie will go down a slightly different path comes in the opening credits. While Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 features baby Groot dancing to Mr. Blue Sky as the Guardians battle behind him, this movie’s opening credits follow Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) as he sings along to Radiohead’s “Creep.”

In the opening act, the Guardians are attacked by Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), an infinitely powerful being who leaves Rocket mortally wounded. The Guardians must set out to save him in a film that regularly flashes back to Rocket’s origin story. We’ve gotten hints of it before, but this movie offers a glimpse at how tragic it was. He was created by the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), a mad scientist who creates hybrid creatures in pursuit of perfecting the universe and those that inhabit it. Although Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) is still the protagonist, the movie centers itself around Rocket, their goal to save him, and how the enemy they fight in this movie ties into Rocket’s past.

GOTG Vol. 3 Review: A Fitting End

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a strong ending to the trilogy. It brings us back into this colorful world for a story filled with some of the funniest scenes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as the most gut-wrenching. The humor primarily works well in the movie due to how it organically fits into the situations the characters are in. It feels natural, and every character gets their time in the limelight. The biggest surprise is Nebula (Karen Gillan) getting to have a few humorous moments, especially after her very dramatic introduction into the MCU. Cosmo the Spacedog has a supporting role in this movie after previously making cameos in the first two. The decision to cast Oscar-nominated actor Maria Bakalova in the role was perfect. It’s not the voice or accent you would expect to come out of this Labrador, but it is hilarious.

But all of our Guardians are the key to making this movie work. Chris Pratt is excellent again as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, and he knows the character like the back of his hand. Zoe Saldaña is back as Gamora, the alternate version from Avengers: Endgame who does not remember her experiences with Peter. There is some drama between them, but the movie doesn’t always push their relationship far enough. They have some excellent moments, but Gamora primarily serves the story rather than herself and her personal journey. Dave Bautista’s last outing as Drax is hilarious, as is Pom Klementieff as Mantis.

Iwuji portrays the High Evolutionary, the strongest villain in the trilogy. His performance is breathtaking, as his loud, booming voice makes him a threat every time he enters a room. The High Evolutionary’s lack of remorse and cruel actions prevent him from being a sympathetic villain. Rather, he is a person who plays God, setting a clear goal without caring how many die in the process. Every character, including Kraglin (Sean Gunn) and Adam Warlock, gets their shining moments in the movie. However, Cooper gives his best performance in the MCU as Rocket, taking a role that began in 2014 as a hilarious loudmouthed sidekick to a tragic role filled with pathos.

Although the pacing doesn’t always work, and it’s a little inconsistent throughout, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 sticks the landing. It’s dark, emotional, and funny, and the final act offers an astounding amount of spectacle. There is a hallway fight scene filmed entirely in one take that may be one of the best action scenes in the MCU, as it gives every Guardian time to shine and allows this send-off to feel meaningful. The movie delivers everything you would expect from a Guardians film. Unlike its Marvel predecessor Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, a film that felt like it was directed by a committee to set up more projects, this movie only wants to conclude the stories of this beloved family. It has that MCU magic back and is proof that all is right when you’ve got yourself a Gunn.

Best Songs on the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Soundtrack

“Creep” (Acoustic Version) – Radiohead
“Crazy On You” – Heart
“Since You Been Gone” – Rainbow
“In the Meantime” – Spacehog
“Reasons” – Earth, Wind and Fire
“Do You Realize??” – The Flaming Lips
“We Care a Lot” – Faith No More
“Koinu no Carnival” (From “Minute Waltz”) – EHAMIC
“I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” – Alice Cooper
“San Francisco” – The Mowgli’s
“Poor Girl” – X
“This Is the Day” – The The
“No Sleep Till Brooklyn” – Beastie Boys
“Dog Days Are Over” – Florence + The Machine
“Badlands” – Bruce Springsteen
“I Will Dare” – The Replacements
“Come and Get Your Love” – Redbone

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Song Highlights

As for how these songs are used in the movie itself, it’s something of a mixed bag. Personally, I don’t think that the incorporation of the Awesome Mix tunes has ever been quite as seamless as it was in the first film, where every single song (not to mention the novelty of having deep cut AM radio tunes in an incongruous outer space setting) hit with maximum impact. And, of course, those earlier soundtracks had the additional novelty factor of being mixtapes that had been specifically made by characters in the films. That being said, the “random tunes loaded onto a Zune” approach taken with Awesome Mix Vol. 3 gives Gunn more freedom in terms of the eras he can pull from, and still makes for some unforgettable cinematic moments that feel pretty far removed from the usual Marvel far

Radiohead – “Creep”

First and foremost is the use of Radiohead’s “Creep” in the film’s opening scene. While “Creep” was an unforgettable, even overplayed staple of the peak MTV/grunge takeover years in the early ’90s (and an albatross the band spent most of the rest of its career trying to shed) it’s still a hell of a tune. But the version we hear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 isn’t the one familiar to most casual fans, but rather an acoustic alternate version which turned up as a b-side on several of the band’s early releases.

The downbeat, plaintive tune is appropriately used to highlight Rocket’s alienation as he mopes around Knowhere. It’s a stark contrast to the upbeat numbers and action sequences which opened the previous installments in the franchise, and it appropriately sets the tone for the rest of the film. Plus, even with just an acoustic guitar and Thom Yorke’s voice, it sounds incredible at movie theater volume.

Spacehog – “In The Meantime”

But the real highlight, and a genuine highlight of the entire Guardians franchise itself, is the use of Spacehog’s “In The Meantime…”. One of the greatest one-hit wonders of the ’90s, a band that was gloriously out of step with the grunge movement of their era, Spacehog’s unapologetic love of David Bowie and Roxy Music is enough to make me forgive that somehow no actual Roxy Music song ever made it on to an Awesome Mix. That eerie telephone buzz opening giving way to a glorious bassline and soaring guitars is what accompanies the “Among Us meets 2001: A Space Odyssey” spacesuit sequence that featured so prominently in the film’s trailers and it doesn’t disappoint one bit when it hits here.

Beastie Boys – “No Sleep Til Brooklyn”

The Beastie Boys’ License to Ill album often plays like a parody of the excesses of early MTV culture, and the absurd riffery and posturing of this track are perhaps the best example of it. But the fact that this accompanies a spectacular one-take action sequence, one of the best in the entire history of the MCU, makes it really special. Another one best appreciated in IMAX.

Rating: 8/10

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Simon Costanza
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