Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is the latest, highly anticipated chapter in the adventures of Marvel heroes. In cinemas on May 5, 2023, directed by James Gunn, starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, and many others.
Fasten your seatbelts, the 90s have arrived. No one dares to question the centrality of music in the thematic, narrative, and sentimental architecture of the trilogy; the fact that Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 3 – written and directed by James Gunn and in cinemas on May 5, 2023, for The Walt Disney Company – begins with an acoustic version of Radiohead's most famous piece, it is from 1992 and is called Creep, shows us how much the film's emotional center of gravity has progressively moved towards more mature and introspective territories.
In fact, for everyone involved in the project, the super cast includes Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Chukwudi Iwuji, Sylvester Stallone, Elizabeth Debicki, Will Poulter and it just ends there for do not overload the mnemonic archives of the reader, they are not really great. It also applies to the voice actors, i.e. Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and Maria Bakalova. Alternative rock is a nice word, but we must not forget that this is a Marvel film and there is a limit beyond which you cannot go when you go hunting for sophistication. Unless your name is James Gunn.
Explain the film by means of Radiohead. The almost grunge of Creep is a symbol of the 90s counterculture, of course, but Radiohead has never been just any band, rather the Beatles of alternative rock, just as the success of the song has never been a matter of niche and lucky few. Thom Yorke avoided singing it for years, giddy with a popularity he feared might lead him astray.
Fortunately, he changed his mind, but it is precisely in the contradictory nature of the piece, commercial and on the margins, that the ambition of Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 is reflected. Complicating things, weighing down personalities, and deepening relationships, without forgetting color, feeling, and humor. The split personality: mainstream and alternative (again, within the limits of the Marvel universe) at the same time.
On balance, it works, which Marvel has to worry about a bit. Because as James Gunn does, the cinecomic, there are few. He now works for the competition, so that the film is loaded with another layer of melancholy. The long farewell of a director, a team of heroes, an imaginary. Will it really be like this?
Guardians of the Galaxy 3: it's time for Rocket, while the Guardians have a bad quarter of an hour
Don't ask what Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 is about because the theme is pretty much the same as every commercial film made in the last 130 years. The family. The point is that the trilogy and the single chapter work decently on the subject, better than many others because James Gunn knows how to treat it right.
First of all, he chose an acquired family, not built on blood and the imponderable arbitrariness of circumstances; the Guardians are the family you choose, not the one you inherited, even if you inevitably have to deal with the latter anyway. Secondly, he understood that yes, it's true, a successful family is one that knows how to harmonize differences.
The difference is the keyword. The Guardians are a very heterogeneous group, they have different histories, personalities, and abilities and it is ridiculous to think of making them one. Harmony here does not mean diluting the originality of the characters, nor exalting difference for the sake of difference. The magic, the harmony of a family at work, is the casual, providential interweaving of many different beats in a common will and feeling. Ironically, this happens already at the beginning of the film. For once, the Guardians are immediately on the same wavelength. Depressed.
Star-Lord, for earthlings Peter Quill (Chris Pratt,) drinks because Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) is back but she doesn't remember him, she no longer feels anything and wants nothing to do with it. Gamora is a Ravager alongside Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone) and she no longer hangs out with the Guardians. Nebula (Karen Gillan) has the usual bad temper, and Groot (in the original Vin Diesel) hones his oratory skills with obvious results.
Mantis (Pom Klementieff) tries to keep the team together but struggles, especially with a head as hard as Drax the Destroyer's (Dave Bautista). Kraglin (Sean Gunn) argues with the dog, whose name is (the original voice is by Maria Bakalova). The place where the characters are stranded is called Knowhere and it's all a program. A bad quarter of an hour for everyone, especially for the real protagonist of the film. Rocket (Bradley Cooper).
Rocket isn't feeling so well. Literally, a victim of the brutal ambush hatched against him by Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) – welcome to the Marvel universe – committed by “mother” Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) on behalf of the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), a debauched intergalactic fascist who through a reckless work of genetic manipulation pursues the dream of a perfect society, light years away from chaos, corruption, and imperfection.
He called it Controterra, his delusional and defective fantasy. Rocket knows her well because he grew up alongside the Evolutionary. A good part of Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 is dedicated to the reconstruction of the traumatic (understatement) childhood of the talking raccoon. To reveal traumas, regrets, and excruciating pain. And shed light on the reason for an adorable but bristly character, not always welcoming.
Rocket is the tip of the balance of the film. Saving him, protecting him from the dark aims of the High Evolutionary, and rebuilding a strong sense of family even in the face of death, pain, and the trauma of abandonment, is the heart of the story. The important thing is to find a way to laugh even in the darkest hour. Fortunately, James Gunn hasn't forgotten that his cinecomic travels on colorful and positive vibes. Also on a lot of beautiful music.
James Gunn's sense for the cinecomic
It really feels like saying goodbye to a band you really loved; melancholy, warmth, and at the same time the impression that the conversation stopped at the right moment. The Guardians are the quintessential Marvel Cinematic Universe, for many reasons. Because their lateral, non-mainstream nature made them perfect characters to experiment with a different approach to comic book storytelling: popular heroes, of course, but Spider-Man is something else.
Which granted more leeway than heroes and narrative paths crushed by the weight of unwieldy expectations. The most striking thing about Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 is the naturalness with which the film makes the most important dynamics and relationships adult and mature, without sacrificing a consolidated appeal made up of laughter, action, and lots of feeling.
An extended and very deranged family once again fights for what they believe in, with imperfect heroism that facilitates the viewer's identification. This time the greatest test of love is letting go of the people you love, no matter how bad it may hurt, because it's right. The end approaches.
James Gunn seems to really believe in the possibilities and rewards of the genre. Compared to the most prestigious visions of recent years, not only in the Marvel arena, from Sam Raimi to Ryan Coogler, from Christopher Nolan to James Mangold, his singular strength is a boundless devotion to the genre.
That is to say that James Gunn, unlike many illustrious colleagues, does not pour his poetics on superhero cinema, interpreting it as a passing stage within a wider path that embraces a thousand different stories, no, he lively incarnation. The first, authentic, cinecomic author in the history of American cinema.
He is the only one, for now, to have decoded the rules of the game to a very high level of approximation. A courageous and overall paying choice, in this third chapter, is to have deviated from general expectations from what would have been the most obvious course of action, the problematic relationship between Gamora and Star-Lord, preferring to focus on the dark, dark Rocket's background.
Obviously, there is no authorial vision or artistic temperament that he holds, or at least can overcome the structural drawbacks of the Marvel product, that is to say, a general impression of pleasantness that prevents scratching the surface of things. In addition, the unusual density of the texture prevents total and guaranteed satisfaction at the end of the ride; that is to say that not everything is treated with the same attention and is of the same degree of effectiveness.
Marginal notes, in the context of a space adventure that plays with the past and present of the saga without contradicting itself, fueling more than one question mark about the future of the characters but never forgetting to entertain, in a warm and spontaneous way. Rarely, at this level, does a film have so much heart.