GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3. James Gunn saves the MCU [Review]

The MCU’s losing streak has finally been broken! The Guardians of the Galaxy managed to save the Marvel Universe from destruction.

Natalia Hluzow

5 May 2023

James Gunn’s compilation entitled Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was made of the best Marvel hits, shamelessly drawing from the franchise’s most successful productions and using proven tricks. At the same time, however, the unique style of the director and screenwriter can be seen and heard in every shot. The final installment of the series about Quill and co. is another example of superhero cinema, which shines against the background of others not because it so efficiently implements genre conventions, but because it spins a superhero story a makes it auteur, full of warmth and empathy, comic and sensitive at the same time, which while serving unrestrained entertainment, touches on important issues.

Everything good

Remember the opening scene of Infinity War? And the constant fear accompanying the screening, when you wondered who would die? Or the destruction of Asgard in Ragnarok? Or the adorable last scene of Love and Thunder? If not, you’ll remember it all during the screening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. There’s no denying that James Gunn bet on proven ways to evoke emotions in fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but you can’t blame him either, because he did it with true mastery. And what’s more – as it was mentioned at the beginning – he embellished it all with his characteristic humor and unmistakable style.

The Guardians of the Galaxy really captivated me only during Infinity War, during the Holiday Special stage they already had my heart, and now I feel that I won’t be able to live without them. I must admit that my boundless love for the god of thunder, whose paths intersected with the paths of the Guardians in the third part of Avengers, contributed to this. The same feeling made me appreciate some similarities between the latest installment of Guardians of the Galaxy and the fourth part of Thor like no one else. Absurd humor, the apparent stupidity of the characters, the plot with children and a gigantic dose of empathy (even towards enemies) – all this appears in both films, only that it is permeated by different styles of each of the directors. Opponents of Love and Thunder, let me reassure you in advance that while watching GOTG, you are unlikely to feel as confused as in Waititi’s film. Nevertheless, Gunn’s film can also be called an emotional rollercoaster with a clear conscience, capable of moving the viewer from laughing to crying and back again in a minute.

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Good old friends and a brave new world

What the whole room will be laughing at in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 should be no mystery to anyone. James Gunn delivers here exactly what fans expect from him and what they love him for the most. As for crying… The reasons are twofold. First of all – Gunn gave the Star-Lord team a really worthy farewell. Each character gets their 5 minutes and a touching summary of less than a decade of being on screen. Our hearts tremble for each of them here, because this is the finale of the history of the Guardians we have known so far, so we cannot be calm about the fate of any of them. Groot is great here, as well as Nebula, which should be especially appreciated, because so far they have been rather overshadowed by other characters. The threads of friendship between Drax and Mantis and the situation between Quill and the “new” Gamora are also fantastically presented. Love and good will prevail, but don’t expect a classic visualization of this cliche.

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The second cause for tears will be felt primarily by animal lovers and defenders, for whom Gunn intercedes here, presenting the backstory of Rocket – the result of the experiments of a mad scientist. We’ve seen it many times, but by presenting innocent, tortured beings, the director knows how to hit the most sensitive points of the viewer and does it in an unusually (for him) mature way. It is impossible not to notice the analogy that the director builds between experiments on animals and the disgraceful activities of Dr. Mengele. This is not the only reference to the sins of Nazi Germany. It is the whole plot of the Great Evolutionist, his obsession with creating a perfectly pure race and building a brave new world, while annihilating the failed copies.

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Rogues from outer space

Known, among others from Peacemaker, Chukwudi Iwuji does the role brilliantly. As an archvillain, he is disturbingly logical, powerful and – like Thanos – absolutely convinced of his point. It’s a shame that Kang, and not him, was chosen as the main villain of Phase 5. This would be a much better choice for many reasons.

For both villains, the principle applies here – show me your opponent and I’ll tell you how much of a superhero you are. Or rather – how good of a superhero cinema maker are you. James Gunn proved once again that he is the right man in the right place.


After a flawed Phase Four and a nightmare start to Phase Five, the MCU’s losing streak is finally broken! The Guardians of the Galaxy managed to save the Marvel universe from annihilation and prove once again that in the third decade of the 21st century there is no place for a generic superhero – what counts is the author’s flair, original humor and an empathetic heart.

Natalia Hluzow

Natalia Hluzow

A lover of the works of Tarantino, Nolan, Waititi, superhero cinema and the TV series "The Office" (US!) Raised on "The Lord of the Rings" and "Lethal Weapon". She considers "Fight Club", "Inglourious Basterds" and "Inception" to be synonyms of a film masterpiece. Her newest love is Matt Reeves' "The Batman". Contrary to the stereotypes about film school graduates, she loves mainstream cinema and all the intertextual games that take place within it. She hates contrived dialogues, paper characters and when the creators doubt the viewer's intelligence.

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