‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3’: Compassion in the Cosmos
When Rocket insists for the umpteenth time that he is not a raccoon, when Gamora returns from the dead indifferent to her former lover, Peter Quill, (aka Star-Lord,) and when Mantis claims she, like Quill, is the daughter of Ego, and therefore, the sister of Star-Lord, it’s clearly time for us to hurdle through the fourth dimension and save our sanities. But of that dimension––or is it dementia?––there is too little time. In this third installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, our motley team of super-powered heroes are compelled to forego any meaningful exposition. Why? Well, to save the life of Rocket who is, yes, a raccoon. The tough little guy is at death’s door. His only chance of survival is retrieving the codes that first engineered his superior talents.
And so, the Guardians of the Galaxy blast off to planets and starships and queendoms unknown to locate the evil brainiac who holds the very keys that will unlock the hopes and dreams and security of new worlds, new generations and, we hope, another sequel.
Like its earlier “volumes,” GotG-3 is a whole lot of fun––that is, most of the time. Rocket’s origin story is the focus of all the crazy exploits that drive this plot. But that “birth” is wrapped in deep sorrow without as much as a mother or caregiver to shed a tear. Rocket is not alone in this heartless predicament either, which, as if to ease the pain, introduces us to three like characters: Lylla, Teefs, and Floor. Like the entire storyline, there’s no time to develop their characters, so writer/director James Gunn lays it on pretty thick. It’s all about compassion and empathy and love. If audiences can survive the sadism of genetically-modified, yet good-humored, cuddly creatures, then the rest of the film is smooth sailing.
Of course, by Marvel design, the Guardians are not just obligated to save a planet or two, but the entire galaxy. And, as such, we are introduced to fantastic new worlds, not so much defined by space or time, but by incredibly elaborate sets. Knowhere, the “village” where our Guardians seem to reside, is something not dissimilar to the picturesque opening scenes of Beauty and the Beast where children play with dogs, burly hunters slop their grog, and the women ply their trades on open streets. When that peace is pierced by Warlord, a young Sovereign, the action begins. We must now head to OrgoCorp, a planetary factory of bio-engineered tissue. Which takes us to Earth, or at least a “counter” version thereof. And that returns us to the planet of Sovereign, from whence Warlord has come, before we arrive happily back home in Knowhere. Of course, dancing to great music for which the franchise is beloved, ensues.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 3 features an amazing cast of big-name stars including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Will Poulter, Sean Gunn, Chukwudi Iwuji, Linda Cardellini, Nathan Fillion, and Sylvester Stallone.
Just to be sure, all of the Guardians are here: Drax, Mantis, Groot, Nebula, Kraglin, Gamora, Rocket and Quill. Space travel is as exciting as it ever has been, the heroes are as capable as ever before, and their challenges are no less complicated than that which any space adventure demands, but…(spoiler alert) the next GotG may feature one less hero.
And, then, maybe not. After all, Gamora survived her death in Volume 2.