Read This Before You See ‘Guardians 3’

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Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 3

Credit: Inside the Magic

Amidst all the reports of superhero fatigue and the onslaught of press surrounding the genre, Marvel appears to be getting back to what they do best with the recent release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. That being said, the final chapter in the Guardians’ saga might not be what the average fan is probably expecting.

Guardians of the Galaxy characters Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (Vin Diesel), Nebula (Karen Gillan), and Mantis (Pom Klementieff)
Credit: Marvel Studios

This is definitely one of the biggest superhero movie releases of the summer, and both Marvel and James Gunn do not disappoint with this new addition to the MCU. However, it’s safe to say that even the most die-hard of fans aren’t prepared for what the Guardians are up against in the new film.

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One thing we can certainly say without going into spoilers is that most viewers are not prepared for the experience the movie offers. While it’s highly recommended to watch volumes one and two at the bare minimum beforehand, Volume 3 comes equipped with a punch that could rival Rocket’s Hadron Enforcer.

It can be so easy to forget just how much Marvel’s favorite team of rag-tag renegades has been through since the last time we saw them. The new film comes with a lot of emotional weight, and everyone involved has something on the line. Those expecting the wild antics of the team accompanied by a hair-band-fueled soundtrack might be surprised, but not disappointed to see how far the team has evolved.

The Guardians of the Galaxy: Then and Now

Guardians of the Galaxy from 'Vol. 2'
Credit: Marvel Studios

When most people think of the Guardians of the Galaxy, their minds almost immediately go to visions from the first or second film. The group of space outlaws united by the power of love, friendship, and rock and roll fighting against the forces of evil is the image cultivated by Marvel and the cast. Although that’s precisely who they still are, the third chapter features a team of battle-hardened heroes who have truly been through it all.

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Remember, apart from their guest appearance in Thor: Love and Thunderthe last time we saw the team was in Avengers: Endgame. Since then, they have fought the forces of Thanos, come back from the Blip, watched loved ones die, and came back to their ship with tons of trauma and emotional damage. No one’s going to be the same after that!

That’s not to say the Guardians have lost their charm, far from it, but the team has greatly matured since the last time we saw them on the silver screen. Quill is still cocky, Nebula is still jaded, Drax still doesn’t get metaphors, and Groot is still a gigantic tree capable of mainly three words, but they’ve grown from a team cobbled together from galactic outcasts into a fully functioning unit.

Remember What They’ve Lost

Rocket cries for Groot
Credit: Marvel Studios

James Gunn has a gift for telling emotionally shattering stories with a sense of humor that ultimately balances everything out for the greater good. Whether that’s done through jokes, dialogue, or simply a great taste in music, it’s a balancing act that doesn’t go unnoticed in Vol. 3. As fun and charming as the Guardians are, they’re still dealing with their own unprocessed traumas.

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There have been complaints from certain viewers that some of the fun has been lost in the new film, affecting its “tonal consistency” with the series. That’s partially true to a point, but what these critics fail to understand is that this is not the same team that was breaking out of the Kyln in 2014.

Without going into spoiler territory, Quill, Gamora, Mantis, Drax, Nebula, Rocket, and Groot essentially find themselves in the final phase of their development arcs. They’ve gone from being weird and eccentric characters that come together to fight a common enemy to an organized team of heroic friends that could easily rival the Avengers themselves. So it’s important to remember the events that led them to their current state.

Rocket’s Reckoning

Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon
Credit: Marvel Studios

Chris Pratt might be center stage on most of the artwork, and Chukwudi Iwuji is absolutely evil as the High Evolutionary, but a main idea that everyone needs to keep in mind before the previews start is that this is Rocket’s movie. Out of all the Marvel movies, no one has had such an emotional effect than Rocket Raccoon.

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Star-Lord might be the leader of the Guardians but, as pointed out by James Gunn, it’s always been about Rocket. The conflict between him and the High Evolutionary is one of the heaviest stories ever featured in the MCU, and to say it’s highly emotional would be an almost-insulting understatement.

Thanks to the information Marvel has released, as well as the statements from series mainstays like James Gunn and Bradley Cooper, tensions are already high when it comes to the fate of the character. Fans of the blaster-toting, gunslinging, smack-talking trash panda should definitely be prepared for the effect Rocket’s story has from beginning to end.

One Last Ride for the Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy
Credit: Marvel Studios

It’s no secret that this is indeed the last chapter for the Guardians as we know them. Director James Gunn himself has stated that this will be the last time fans see this team, essentially closing the book on the series, and fans should definitely be prepared to handle that outcome.

Related: Mantis Joins Guardians of the Galaxy For Limited Avengers Campus Appearance

The term “superhero fatigue” has been mentioned before, but that certainly doesn’t apply to Gunn’s series. Unlike other franchises in the genre, the Guardians do have a beginning, middle, and end to their journey. This is indeed the final chapter for the team, but the cast and director have both promised the ending everyone (Guardians and audience members) so greatly deserve.

One thing to keep in mind on the subject is that while it might be over for the team, it’s not over for the Guardians of the Galaxy as a whole. Just as there are dozens of characters in both the comics and MCU that call themselves Avengers, so are there plenty of Guardians across the universe to take up the mantel. It might be the last time we see our favorites, but Marvel still has a lot of material to play with.

It’s Never Really Goodbye

Dave Bautista (Drax) and Bradley Cooper (Rocket) in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' (2014)
Credit: Marvel Studios

If Marvel has proven one thing to us time and time again, its that no one is ever really gone. If characters like Loki, Gamora, and Vision can all come back despite all odds and relevant plot points, there’s always a chance for a comeback tour from our beloved Guardians. Although it’s billed as the final chapter in the saga, is anyone ever really gone in the realm of superheroes?

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The Guardians have been through Hell and back, and they’ve still come out of it in one piece for one ultimate adventure. It might bring some hardcore fans comfort to remember that finality isn’t fatal, but rather a chance to move on to the next chapter. Where one door closes, another one opens.

Additionally, cast members like Chris Pratt have expressed an interest in reprising their roles. That means that while it might be over for the team, it might not be for individual team members. As clearly depicted by Quill’s saga with his living-planet father, everyone has a story to tell.

What Fans Should Remember

Guardians of the Galaxy Poster with Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) Nebula (Karen Gillan), Groot (Vin Diesel)
Credit: Marvel Studios

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has had a lot of build up ever since Rocket teased us in the post-credits sequence of the Holiday Special. It’s going to be a highly emotional experience for any Marvel fan, but specifically those who have a special place in their hearts for this particular team.

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The Guardians have been through a lot, so has their audience. This is an intense 2.5 hours that will definitely have the hardest and heaviest Marvel fans going for the tissues. That all being said, the characters, plot, and development are where they all need to be for followers of the MCU to be thoroughly enraptured.

If you go in expecting the previously-seen crew of cosmic avengers backed up by an awesome ’80s soundtrack, you might not get what you’re looking for. However, if you are looking to see Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, Groot, and so many more join forces against one of the evilest characters to come out of Marvel since Thanos, you won’t be disappointed. It’s going to be a massively-bombastic journey that not everyone will walk away from.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy from left: zoe saldana as gamaora, bradley cooper sean gunn as rocket raccoon, chris pratt as peter quill aka star lord, vin diesel as groot, dave bautista as drax the destroyer
Credit: Marvel Studios

This is not the average superhero fare, and that’s probably for the best. Like the fans have seen since 2014, both parties have grown and matured since the Guardians first danced onto our screens nearly a decade ago. Tears will be shed, laughs will be shared, and our favorite group of galactic protectors will fight tooth and nail to keep the universe safe from the clutches of evil.

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As with all movies, the best way to experience them is to go in and suspend your belief. The movie is still a good time from a director and cast who know how to handle this team and their story. Long story short, if you’re a fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy, you won’t be disappointed.

Are you ready for one last adventure with the Guardians? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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