May 10, 2023 – I liked the first volume, did not care much for volume 2, but volume 3 of Guardians of the Galaxy seems to have recaptured that old Marvel action comedy magic, thanks, in part, to Redbone's “Come and Get Your Love” redux, and some other call backs.
This time, the gang is out to save the life of Rocket raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper again). This requires the Guardians to go up against the powerful High Evolutionary (played by Chukwudi Iwuji of “John Wick: Chapter 2”) and his minions. The High Evolutionary is the one who experimented on Rocket in the first place, and holds the secret to Rocket's survival.
The High Evolutionary is a megalomaniac obsessed with creating the perfect intelligent species to inhabit the perfect planet he calls “Counter-Earth,” but somehow he just keeps screwing up his projects, despite having a lot of fancy machinery, including an evolution machine. One of his few successes was Rocket, whose advanced brain might be able to solve some of the problems the High Evolutionary keeps running into.
Long ago, on the eve of the High Evolutionary's plan to extract and analyze Rocket's prized brain, Rocket escaped. The High Evolutionary wants Rocket back, so the Guardians have to gain the secret code to revive Rocket, while at the same time keeping Rocket out of the clutches of the High Evolutionary.
While tracking down the High Evolutionary, the Guardians get involved with Gamora (Zoe Saldana, reprising her role) who has become a member of the Ravagers, a criminal gang that Peter Quill (Chris Pratt, reprising his role) used to belong to before he became the leader of the Guardians. Gamora and the Ravagers agree to help the guardians steal valuable stuff (including how to save Rocket) from a secure facility, in return for a piece of the action.
This leads to a series of increasingly improbable clashes between the Guardians and the powerful forces the High Evolutionary. As usual, Quill's initial plans don't work, so the team always has to come up with plans B and C on the fly in order to escape the traps set by the High Evolutionary. Quill keeps insisting that the traps he keeps walking into are not traps, but “face-offs.”
While Rocket is in a coma, he remembers his time as a captive of The High Evolutionary. These flashbacks provide a lot of insights into the High Evolutionary, and to Rocket. The flashbacks also provide ample reasons for the final conflict in the story.
The other Guardians are Drax (Dave Bautista, reprising his role) Nebula (Karen Gillan, reprising her role) Mantis (Pom Klementieff, reprising her role, and, of course, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel again). Also returning are former Ravager Kraglin (Sean Gunn, reprising his role) and Ayesha, leader of the Sovereign people (Elizabeth Debicki, reprising her role).
There are also some other new characters, including the enigmatic, super-powered Adam Warlock (Will Poulter of “Detroit”). There is also a wistful Michael Rooker cameo, who again plays the late, great Ravager, Yondu.
There is plenty of humor, along with a bit of romance, some cliffhangers, some pathos and a lot of action in this fast-paced story. It is a good example of why Marvel movies are so popular. This film rates a B.
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