After seeing the trailer for The Marvels in the theater, I think I can safely say that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 might possibly be the last good Marvel movie.

They had a good run, more hits than misses but that trend has come to an end with junk like Eternals, Captain Marvel, the last Thor movie, that Black Panther movie that didn’t have Black Panther in it…

Even though I didn’t hate Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, it sure wasn’t something I’m going to remember much of. Hell, I’ve already forgotten most of it.

And don’t get me started on some of the TV shows that have now integrated themselves into the cinematic universe.

There really isn’t much left when it comes to the MCU to really be all that excited about. I kind of see this third Guardians of the Galaxy as a sad goodbye, not just to the franchise and these characters but kind of the MCU as a whole.

Can anyone say they’re super excited for that Agatha spinoff series? Or a return of Daredevil but watered down to be more “Disney”?

Nothing in that lineup is going to have any kind of emotional weight Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 had. And even as manipulative as it was, tugging on the heart strings by using animals, it still leaves you actually feeling something rather than forgetting half of what you saw in the last movie you watched by Marvel.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 more or less picks up after the events of the Christmas special. That’s right, not the last film or even Avengers, but the Christmas special, which I admit was really good. Mainly because it featured the best duo there is Drax and Mantis.

With that special we learn Mantis is in fact Quill’s half-sister.

The team have set up shop on Knowhere, the head of a dead god. Peter has been spending his days drinking away his sorrows after losing “his” Gamora. As she is still alive, it’s just a different version than the one they knew. Which is oddly familiar to a thing that happened with this sci-fi series I loved Farscape.

Now that I think about it a bit more, Guardians of the Galaxy really is basically Farscape, isn’t it?

This movie is less about Peter and this time focuses more on Rocket and his backstory. Which you know is going to be sad. The guy doesn’t talk about his past and refuses to make friends with anyone. So, when you see a younger Rocket making a bunch of animal friends like him, you know things aren’t going to end well.

What I didn’t expect was just how terribly sad it would end up being. There’s one character Floor, a sweet little rabbit, arguably the most innocent one in the group that Rocket befriends, but also maybe the most terrifying to look at as she’s been given mechanical spider legs.

But all she likes to do with them is joyfully run around in a circle. Watching her die was probably the biggest gut punch.

Forget Kang, Kang sucks as a villain, the dude was beaten by Ant-Man. How big of a threat can you be? Why because there’s a bunch of him? Who cares!

The main bad guy here, calling himself the High Evolutionary, takes the cake for worst piece of shit these movies have to offer.

He’s a scientist that loves to experiment on animals, trying to evolve them into humanoids, trying to create the perfect society.

A race created by him were those gold people we met in the last Guardians film. The gang pissed them off, so they created Adam Warlock, who was teased at the end of volume 2.

It kind of seemed like something James Gunn might have been forced to include as he barely fits into this movie.

The High Evolutionary wants Rocket’s brain, as he’s the only one who not only has an imagination, but is smarter than him, his creator.

So he sends Adam Warlock to retrieve him. Warlock acts less like he is there to take Rocket, and more like he’s there to straight up murder him. Which he kind of does.

Adam Warlock is basically Superman, but to counteract the fact he’s unstoppable, they do what they mostly do to characters like him, making him incredibly stupid and completely incompetent.

Before he showed up, we got to see Peter in a drunken state, having to be carried to bed by Nebula. From the trailers it kind of hinted at a possible Quill and Nebula love triangle, but it never really goes anywhere. It goes so far nowhere that I don’t really know why it was even brought up.

I guess maybe to show just how much Nebula has grown as a person. She is basically who Gamora was when she died.

I’m all for Nebula, and I’m not just saying that because she reminds me of Jack from Mass Effect. Okay, maybe a little.

During Warlock’s attack, Rocket gets seriously injured with a blast to the chest, but they are unable to use this fix all stim pack you’d find in Half-Life because he has software protection preventing them from helping him.

He has a few hours left to live unless the team is able to get the access codes to unlock his safeguards sort of speak.

That means going to the place that essentially made him, Orgocorp, headed by the High Evolutionary.

But to pull off this old-fashioned heist, they need help. Nebula calls on her sister Gamora, who has joined up with the Ravagers, Peter’s old crew.

This whole sequence is pretty fun, and something only James Gunn can deliver. Orgocorp is like this living organic building out in space that looks like intestines with a gaping sphincter.

Everything inside is just as organic and gross looking, giving off this David Cronenberg vibe, even featuring a piss fountain. I’m sure it isn’t piss, but it sure looks it!

Nathan Fillion also makes an appearance here as one of the guards. The suits they wear are so bizarre looking, almost like a flesh-colored Michelin Man.

The team need to grab Rocket’s records so they can find out who has the codes to free his restrictions.

While all of this is happening, we get to see more into Rocket’s past as he lies dying on the operating table.

We see Rocket as just a baby, not yet worked on by the High Evolutionary. After the horrific experimenting is over with, they toss him in a cage with the other animal experiments.

In the cage with him is Floor, the cute rabbit with spider legs. Across from them in the conjoining cell we are introduced to a walrus named Teefs and an otter named Lylla. These four become best of pals, making plans to leave this place one day to finally see the sky.

Rocket’s growing intelligence disturbs the High Evolutionary as Rocket is able to solve the problem that has been plaguing him.

The High Evolutionary has been putting animals in a tank, speeding up their evolution, making them more like people. However, the process also turns them violent.

With one look, Rocket is able to come up with a solution.

It’s funny, because I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but there seems to be a few Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles references.

The first animal we see get put into the tank is a turtle, immediately getting the reaction from the audience in the theater to yell, it’s a ninja turtle!

Later on, we even get Bebop and Rocksteady. Not just kinda looks like them but is flat out them.

I honestly wouldn’t put it past him, as he loves doing cameos like these. Howard the Duck is even back. But in the same scene apparently there’s a cameo from Lloyd Kaufman, who is in every single James Gunn film.

If you didn’t know, James Gunn got his start at Troma.

Back at Orgocorp, they manage to get their hands on Rocket’s file, but the info is missing. It leads them to one of the High Evolutionary’s assistant who might have what they need in his brain file thing on the side of his head.

So the gang goes to Counter Earth, a planet made by the High Evolutionary to recreate the society on earth, but with animals.

The High Evolutionary and the guy they need is hold up in the main headquarters on the planet, but they know it’s a trap, but if they know it’s a trap, that just makes it a standoff. According to Peter at least.

Groot and Peter get shown into the building, meeting with the High Evolutionary. While there, they spot the guy they are after with Rocket’s info in his brain thing.

The High Evolutionary has this ability to manipulate gravity, so he’s able to stop people pretty well with what I’m guessing is a power his suit gives him. He actually looks exactly like RoboCop with his helmet off and I’m glad they bring that up, as it was too obvious not to.

I guess a quick return to Rocket to wrap up his sad story, so Rocket learns that he is going to be dissected and his friends killed, so he plans an escape.

Him and Lylla finally get to embrace but it’s short lived as she is shot in the back. Rocket goes apeshit and basically claws the guy’s whole face off. You later get to see what he all did to him and it isn’t pretty.

Peter’s whole plan mostly relies on Groot keeping a ton of guns hidden inside him, whipping them out when the moment arises.

The High Evolutionary however decides that Counter Earth really isn’t living up to its promised potential, so he destroys it, one city at a time.

A ticking clock on top of another ticking clock, as they are racing to now escape this planet before it explodes and getting to Rocket before he succumbs to his injuries.

Peter grabs the dude with Rocket’s info and dives out the window, with Groot right behind them, growing wings to fly them to safety. By safety I mean only Peter and Groot, as the guy they tossed out the window with them gets big killed.

I kind of want to bring this up, Groot. I was going on the impression that Baby Groot was just Groot regrowing himself, right? But I’m pretty sure this is a new Groot. More like an offspring of Groot.

Maybe I’m wrong, they never address it. But just by looking at him, he is completely buffed out, not really looking like the original Groot at all anymore.

Drax and Mantis show up at the headquarters not knowing Peter and Groot already escaped. As the planet explodes, the HQ building turns into a spaceship, lifting off into space.

Thinking Peter and Groot are inside Drax, Mantis and Nebula run inside themselves. There they run into a bunch Village of the Damned children with white hair and psychic powers who are next on the High Evolutionary’s experiment scale.

They’re perfect except for one thing, they don’t have a “soul” sort of speak. More or less that’s basically the issue he keeps running into with his creations. Rocket being the only thing with a “soul”.

Speaking of Rocket dies and goes to heaven it seems, where he meets his friends from the lab. They’re happily waiting for him, but his time isn’t up yet, so he’s brought back to life.

The planet blows up, killing Adam Warlock’s mom, the hot gold lady from the second film.

Everyone now has to rescue Nebula, Mantis, and Drax, calling on Knowhere to help them out, which has now been fashioned into a weapon. Or maybe it has always been a weapon. The eye piece is a giant cannon, which seems like something Rocket would have made, so who knows.

They attack the ship, shooting the shit out of it, but not knowing about the children inside, it’s now a race to save everyone inside before the whole thing blows up.

In another touching moment, Rocket runs into all the animals the High Evolutionary was or about to experiment on.

Rocket sees a bunch of raccoons, finally knowing where he came from. He can save them but there’s a ton of other animals needing to be saved as well.

That’s when the High Evolutionary shows back up, only to get his ass kicked again by the team. There’s a really cool sequence where the whole team fights together in kind of this one take action hallway sequence.

I kind of forgot what happens with the High Evolutionary. The team gives him a beat down, but they choose to let him live, or at least die on the ship.

But I don’t remember anything about him after that, mainly because once he’s down, he’s forgotten about and it’s mostly about trying to get the animals off the ship.

Peter drops his Zune and goes back for it, missing his chance to jump into Knowhere that’s being held together by Cosmo, the dog.

Did I mention the dog? She’s a Russian dog with psychic powers, that’s pretty much all you need to know. That and she’s a good dog. A running gag, which you knew was going to have a predictable payoff. But a fun one, nonetheless.

Peter jumps from the exploding ship, just barely reaching Knowhere and dies in space but is saved by Adam Warlock.

The team kind of breaks up after this, Rocket finally gets to be the leader of the Guardians with a new crew.

Mantis goes off to discover herself.

Drax and Nebula stay to help raise the kids.

Gamora goes back with the Ravagers.

And Peter goes back to earth to see his grandfather.
It was a nice conclusion to the story of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Though I could have done without the corny dance montage at the end.

And that brings an end to the best Marvel has to offer, with the Outerspace stuff now left up to Captain Marvel, I guess. No thanks.

I give Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 a SEE IT rating.

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