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Rocket's eye showing the Guardians of the Galaxy. Dolby Poster for the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3: The breath of fresh air Marvel needed

By Gisselle Penuela Solis

Opinion Columnist

Marvel has always had a sweet spot in my heart, from the characters to the variety of storylines. Phases Four and Five are huge for Marvel, they are building up the main villain for the Avengers and finishing storylines. Fans have had mixed reviews about how many movies and series on Disney+ have been coming out, some even stating Marvel is having a quantity over quality issue. Comparing Phase One to Phase Five the number of projects has doubled since before there were only 6 movies and now there are 12 projects.

I have been a fan of the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe but I do have to agree that some of the projects in Phase Four weren’t my favorite. Many others agreed especially with Eternals which currently has 47% on Rotten Tomatoes making it one of the worst-rated Marvel movies. There have been hits like Spiderman: No Way Home featuring the three iconic Spidermen fighting alongside on screen. They received 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and even became the sixth highest-grossing movie of all time with $1.8 billion alongside Avengers: Endgame and both Avatar movies. Marvel has come out and said they are changing focus to quality over quantity meaning after phase 6 we may see a decline in projects, but it should be for the better.

Marvel revealing Phase Four at San Diego’s Comic Con

To dive deeper, What is a Phase? It isn’t like an emo phase instead more like a way to organize the movies. Currently, there are 6 phases, the most recent Five and Six were announced during the 2022 San Diego Comic-Con. The phases are based on release dates and what the movies are about. For example, Phase One introduced us to the Avengers and was the start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the release of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 we are two movies into Phase Five. From fan screenings and previews, many have said that the movie is heartbreaking and hilarious which are two seriously contrasting views. 

James Gunn, Director of all three Guardians of the Galaxy movies

Production was put on hold for a while due to directing issues. James Gunn the director for the GOTG movies was “canceled” by journalists and some fans due to old scandalous tweets coming out. Disney decided to fire him due to the controversy, which led them to have to look for a different director. This decision quickly became an issue for the movie since some of the actors decided to stand by their desired director and friend James Gunn. Consequently, for Disney,  James Gunn would end up as Co-Head of DC after debuting with ‘The Suicide Squad” which was a hit. Many fans have said that James Gunn will “save” the DC Universe since he has been incredible during his years at Marvel. Eventually, he was rehired to continue working on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. 

The Guardians of the Galaxy (From Left to Right: Mantis, Groot, Peter Quill, Drax, and Nebula.)

Many fans have said that this movie felt like a “breath of fresh air” from the recent overproduced Marvel movies including Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, that just didn’t feel as impactful. I personally agree with this, I always watch Marvel movies in theaters as soon as they are released. When watching the past few movies in Phase Four and Five; I didn’t really feel the excitement or emotional connection to my favorite characters nor the storylines. I do believe that Marvel’s plan to focus on quality will help new and old fans feel a stronger connection to the new upcoming characters that are being introduced.

This movie finishes The GOTG trilogy with sadness and joy, we watch as The Guardians (Peter Quill, Mantis, Groot,  Drax, and Nebula) go on a mission to save Rocket’s life; who as we watch the movie reveals himself as the secret protagonist all along. We watch as they go through themes of grief, family, and finding yourself. The GOTG movies are known to be funny but also emotional with an amazing soundtrack, I believe this movie is a perfect balance of it. 

Sidenote: There will be spoilers ahead, although minor they are still spoilers.

Rocket’s Childhood Friends (Starting Left: Teef, Lylla, Rocket, and Floor)

We are introduced to Rocket’s backstory with Lylla, Teefs, and Floor. We watch as the villain The High Evolutionary experiments on animals to “create the perfect species” out of what he saw as the lowest life form. It’s completely disheartening to see this ideology on the big screen but it’s a real issue that has been kept under wraps. Because of this, PETA has come out and officially named Guardians of the Galaxy the best animal rights film of the year. According to PETA “Audiences see animals as individuals and suggesting that just because we can experiment on them doesn’t mean we should.” I believe this is absolutely true since there was no dry eye during each and every baby Rocket flashback.

At some points in the movie I did feel like there was such a sudden change in mood, for example, we would see a horrific scene of The Hig Evolutionary gripping baby Rocket’s head then a funny scene with the rest of the Guardians. While I do believe that this movie is the perfect balance of funny and heartbreaking there are some scenes I would move around to let it flow better because of just how quickly it was paced. 

My two favorite scenes had to be Lylla and Rocket’s moment in the afterlife along with Peter and Gamora’s last moment. I was absolutely heartbroken watching as Rocket almost let go of his life with the Guardians to live his dream of “flying with his friends.” The scene with Lylla comforting Rocket hit me so deeply, watching as Rocket’s soulmate motivates him to continue his life regardless of if he let her down. I don’t think there will ever be a movie that makes me so deeply emotional about a raccoon and otters relationship than this one. 

Throughout the movie, we watch Peter suffer from losing Gamora, while theoretically as Nebula stated she isn’t gone. Gamora’s storyline leading up to this movie is devastating, watching as she gets sacrificed only to be brought back from the past before she even knew the Guardians. Since Gamora is from the past, she feels zero connection to the Guardians because she never knew them. As we see in the movie, Gamora is unable to understand Groot and is cold to him because of this. Watching their mother-son relationship grow in the other movies makes those scenes hard to watch, that is until the end when Gamora finally understands him. This is when we get the scene of Peter and Gamora saying their goodbyes, the simple comment of “I bet we were fun” gives Peter closure that his Gamora is gone but still pulls at the heartstrings knowing that their relationship was so impactful to both of them. 

The Guardians of the Galaxy
(From Left to Right: Peter Quill, Drax, Rocker, Gamora, Groot, Nebula, and Mantis)

Personally, this movie has brought back the spark that the MCU had before their quantity over quality issue. I really adore this movie and will definitely be rewatching it in theaters and as soon as it comes out digitally. I left the theater with the soundtrack stuck in my head, replaying all the scenes that stuck with me. I really do hope we see the Original Guardians in future movies but I can’t wait to see what the new Guardians of the Galaxy have in store for the MCU.

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