Is Marvel on the Path to Redemption?


Amin Shah, Arts & Entertainment Editor

If you knew me, you’d know I generally dislike superhero movies. DC, Marvel, you name it. I have nothing against the comics or the heroes themselves, but the movies are notoriously obnoxious and tend to (understandably) pander to an audience looking for nothing more than a quick thrill through a formula of a movie that has been done over 30 times. Normally there would be nothing wrong with that, but if it’s coming from the largest company in the world then some expectations are to be held high, and lately, most of them have been too high for the largest monopoly in the world to keep up with. Marvel’s phase 4 has been nothing but duds after duds (most notably ‘‘Thor: Love and Thunder’’ and ‘‘Eternals’’ which don’t even deserve to be reviewed) with exceptions shining through (like ‘‘Spiderman: No Way Home’’), but it’s mostly been an extremely rocky road. As someone who only continues to keep up with the franchise only for a select few, it has been saddening, and seeing that a new Guardians of the Galaxy (the only reason I still watch these movies) came out around this time frightened me.

I will be happy to share that this was the movie that did exceed the high expectations that one would expect from a movie that was published by a studio owned by Disney. James Gunn has single-handedly saved Marvel from complete and utter mediocrity with his new ‘‘Guardians of the Galaxy’’. This is what happens when a creator and his team put true passion into a project as well as place the effort where it’s needed (this was directed towards Taika Waititi). Like the previous two films, this movie has revived the interest that not only I, but so many other moviegoers share in terms of superhero movies after experiencing an oversaturation of consistently pumped-out movies that simply share symptoms of shallowed effort.

‘‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3’’ is phenomenal in terms of its place in the franchise of not only the Guardians universe but also the whole Marvel universe. Yes, there are some biting flaws within the film that I won’t go into due to spoilers, but I will say that more of Adam Warlock was needed in the film. This film is much more emotionally charged than the previous two films with the backstory of the characters (mainly one of them) serving as the backdrop for the plot of the story. The use of side characters such as Kraglin (Yondu’s right-hand man) and Cosmo the Space Dog weren’t just throwaway gags either, as they served vital purposes in moving the plot forward. Setting-wise, the Guardians are rebuilding on a planet they’ve inhabited and this is a great connection to the fact that ‘‘Endgame’’ did happen, making it clear with the fact that the Gamora brought back is the Gamora before everything she experienced since the first ‘‘Guardians’’ movie, which allows Quill’s flaws as a character to shine, humanizing him (not as much as when he let Thanos win though).

The characters are at their peak in terms of chemistry with one another, especially when it comes to Nebula, who has gone through the most drastic changes character-wise. She essentially replaced the role of old Gamora (which is funnily poked at in the film) but is unique enough as her character to not seem like she is simply substituting Gamora. Groot is at his funniest in this film, as he is in the process of growing past the angsty teen years that were displayed during ‘‘Infinity War’’ but not quite at his original Groot form displayed in the first ‘‘Guardians’’ film. Rocket is a central character in this film this time around, but he is largely the same character-wise. Drax and Mantis have grown closer in the same way Groot and Rocket were close in past movies, which makes for a funny old/young dichotomy between the two characters. Speaking of funny, the movie has amazing humor (unlike recent Marvel films by the likes of Taika Waititi) with great pacing to allow for the jokes to land but to also give the viewers time to breathe in between. The film also enjoys pushing its PG-13 limits (no one would expect any less from James Gunn), as it is the first Marvel movie with an uncensored F-bomb being dropped (other than ‘‘Deadpool’’ and ‘‘Logan’’), which is fitting considering which movie it was dropped in.

Soundtrack-wise, this film hits it out of the park (as all the films in this trilogy tend to do in this area). It has tapped into the songs of the 2000s with songs like ‘‘Dog Days are Over’’ by Florence and the Machine and ‘‘In The Meantime’’ by Spacehog joining songs like ‘‘Since You’ve Been Gone’’ by Rainbow and even an acoustic version of ‘‘Creep’’ by Radiohead all serving as major backing tracks to emotionally charged or transitionary scenes in the film. The film has the aura of it being a conclusion, akin to how ‘‘Endgame’’ or ‘‘No Way Home’’ felt; new beginnings for all as well as ends for some. I am hoping this is a change for the Marvel movies that will come after (especially ‘‘Blade’’), but if not, I am awaiting what James Gunn has in mind for the future of DC.