Is there a reason that Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 is the best MCU film to date? Yes, there are many reasons that this final-ish chapter of one of the greatest team-ups is so incredible and it's not just that James Gunn utilizes every character to their total full potential. The level of emotions, original comedy, and sincere love of this story and its characters is unparalleled not just in the superhero universe, but perhaps in all of cinema. There was a high expectation for Guardians 3 and the result was even something better than could be expected that brings everything full circle in the greatest ways possible. It doesn't get better than this. MUST SEE
With the conclusion of the main saga of the MCU in Avengers: Endgame, Marvel put their other foot forward and tried something different with their next phase of movies and television shows. It's almost unanimous that with the exception of perhaps Shang-Chi and Spider-Man: No Way Home that every installment and franchise property in the Marvel Universe has been less than average, downright bad, or at the most instantly forgettable. Sure it was fun to see Bruce Campbell back in a Marvel film, but that doesn't cut the cake really these days. And with James Gunn returning to the director and writer's chair, Guardians Volume 3 serves up a slice of something that's been missing from the MCU for quite a few years - emotion and fun. It's a fine line that was captured in those early movies, especially the Guardians movies, but somewhere Marvel lost its way. That is until now when Gunn and Co. have one last adventure together that is one for the ages.
Over the years, so many characters that were born out of the Guardians franchise have become universally known and beloved. Even the smaller characters who only receive a few lines of dialogue all have important roles and stakes in this third film. But the spotlight this time around is on everyone's favorite rodent - Rocket (voiced incredibly by Bradley Cooper). The last time the Guardians appeared was in Thor: Love and Thunder and their own Christmas Special with Kevin Bacon. Since then, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) has been looking for Gamora (Zoe Saldana) where his crew of Drax, Groot, Mantis, Rocket, and Nebula are going through their daily routines while Quill becomes an alcoholic out of depression. It's here where things start off quickly and go from light-hearted comedy to a tragic nightmare.
As this third installment is essentially Rocket's film - Gunn reveals the little critter's backstory in little vignettes throughout the movie. This reveals a baby raccoon and how Rocket became the shootin' super-smart, talkin' son-of-a-gun character he's known for - and it's a deeply sad tale that hits every emotional note to a tee. There's an incident with Rocket at the start of the film that puts this story in motion where the Guardians have about 48 hours to save Rocket and find out where he came from while dealing with a madman played by Chukwudi Iwuji as the High Evolutionary and Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), who are both trying to capture and kill everyone. There are new worlds that are discovered as Gunn plays to those amazing undertones of acceptance and kindness, themes that are so relevant and important today, that they ring true in the best ways that only James Gunn can display fantastically through a lens that resembles The Island of Dr. Moreau.
It's no secret that Gunn can take charge of such large casts of characters in one single film and inside Guardians 3, that's no different. Again, every character no matter how large or small is allowed their time to shine. Even newer-ish characters such as Cosmo the Space Dog have an important role here, while the veterans reveal their true natures in incredibly emotional ways. The combination of comedy and sadness here is pitch-perfect and will conjure up the biggest laughs and largest tears out of the entire MCU, and no doubt some of the biggest audience cheers. And the action beats are simply incredible. Gunn has filmed an action scene in this third film that was left out of all trailers and is the absolute best action sequence in all of the MCU. It's executed perfectly with all the right beats, music, and carnage and will be remembered for a while.
Everyone's performance here is top-notch as they all bring in more development and twists to their respective characters. And the music soundtrack this time around is simply marvelous and will no doubt have those older songs at the top of the charts again. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 is the best MCU movie to date and might just be a candidate for the most enjoyable and best movie of the year. There should be a huge thanks to James Gunn and company for providing these amazing films to mass audiences, especially this third movie that gets everything right. Highest Recommendation that's full of joy, laughter, and tears.