"Ultimately, the Hand of God Controls Our Lives"
What You Need To Know:
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 has some of the most moving, gripping, funny, redemptive content in any Marvel movie. There are at least three positive references to God and some allusions to Heaven and its beauty. The movie also promotes compassion, courage, sacrifice, standing up to evil, doing the right thing, repentance, and family. However, some of VOL. 3’s violence is excessive. The movie has about 25 to 27 obscenities, a gross scatological joke and some homosexual jokes involving a minor effeminate villain. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 tells an emotional, exciting tale about the Guardians risking their lives against a formidable foe to save their close friend and fellow guardian, Rocket, who’s been mortally wounded by one of the villain’s rogue colleagues. VOL. 3 has some of the most moving, well-written, gripping, funny, redemptive, and morally uplifting content in any Marvel movie, but it also has some of the strongest violence and still contains 25 or more obscenities, including an “f” word and a few other strong expletives.
The movie opens with Rocket, a sentient animal who looks like a racoon, having sad nightmares and memories about how he was changed and created in a lab by a mad scientist calling himself the “High Evolutionary.” Rocket goes to numb his trauma at the local bar in Knowhere, the galactic headquarters that the Guardians of the Galaxy have rebuilt to be their headquarters. Peter Quill, the leader of the Guardians, is drunk, because he’s still mourning the loss of his girlfriend, Gamora. Peter takes his misery out on Rocket. They get into an argument, then Peter passes out. The other Guardians carry him out of the bar and put him to bed.
That night, Knowhere is invaded by Adam Warlock, the powerful son of the High Priestess Ayesha who rules a race of genetically modified people with golden skin. The High Evolutionary was the one behind their genetic modification. He wants to retrieve Rocket, who has developed a mental ability that the High Evolutionary needs for his final experiment, which is to create a new race of perfectly peaceful, super-intelligent creatures to establish a utopia that can rule the galaxy. So, Ayesha and Adam hope to please him by capturing Rocket.
However, a fight ensues in Knowhere, and Adam ends up shooting Rocket in the chest. The Guardians try to save Rocket’s life with a medical pack on their spaceship. However, the High Evolutionary had implanted a device in Rocket’s chest that will kill Rocket if anybody uses technology to heal him. They discover that a code can unlock this kill switch, but they have to infiltrate the High Evolutionary’s giant, state of the art lab facility to retrieve the code.
Meanwhile, they’ve stabilized Rocket’s condition, but it’s only a matter of time before he succumbs to his wound. Also, while the Guardians travel to the villain’s facility and get past all his guards, Rocket’s unconscious mind relives all his experiences in the villain’s lab. The movie reveals, in some wonderful, poignant scenes tugging at the heartstrings, that, while the High Evolutionary experimented on dumb animals like racoons, otters, walruses, and rabbits to create a utopia, he held the poor creatures in dirty cages.
Can the Guardians stop the evil plans of this galactic Dr. Frankenstein and save their friend?
The positive content in VOL 3 of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is stronger than the first two movies, and many other Marvel movies for that matter.
First, the movie’s poignant scenes are much stronger, more moving. In fact, the story of Rocket and the three modified animal friends he meets in the High Evolutionary’s lab are charming, tragic and heartbreaking. The story of rescuing Ricket also includes some moving scenes between the Guardians.
Also, the villain is one of the strongest villains yet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His brand of wicked insanity not only recalls Dr. Frankenstein; it also recalls Dr. Moreau in H.G. Wells’ groundbreaking novel THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU. The villain here is a cruel megalomaniac trying to play God. In one scene, when he’s confronted by some monotheistic believers, he denies God and puffs up himself.
Some of the comedy is also stronger, funnier. The banter and bickering among the Guardians is hilarious, as is Nathan Fillion of popular TV series like FIREFLY, CASTLE and THE ROOKIE, who plays a leader among the villain’s guards. Parts of the fight scenes are stronger. For example, Peter and Groot surprise the villain at one point with a clever, exciting trick. The script’s characters arcs seem stronger. Writer/Director James Gunn has devised a brilliant character arc for Rocket, who’s perhaps the most beloved character among the heroes. He’s also developed a really nice character arc for the team of comic book heroes as a whole.
Most of the performances in VOL. 3 are also stronger. Of special note are Bradley Cooper’s voice work for Rocket and Pom Klementief as Mantis. Moreover, some of the special effects are among the best Disney has created for their Marvel movies. For example, the faces on the computerized animal characters are wonderful and, at times, heartbreaking. Many of the special effects add to the story and the characters, which is just what you want special effects to do.
Most happily, the positive references to God in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 are stronger and even more poetic than almost anything we’ve seen so far in a Marvel Studios movie. The only exception MOVIEGUIDE® can think of is the profoundly moving image of Peter Parker at the foot of the Cross in SPIDER-MAN 3, which was released by Sony in 2007.
As for VOL. 3, there’s a beautiful reference to the “hand” of God in one scene that’s sublime and profound. In another scene, when a character bravely confronts the villain about his wicked actions and mentions God, the villain screams, “There is no God! That’s why I’m in charge!” He then proceeds to kill the person and several other people confronting him at the same time. A more wicked example of villainy in movie history would be hard to find (a less violent scene occurs in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE where Mr. Potter chastises Jeff Bailey for misplacing $8,000 when Mr. Potter knows all along that he’s found the missing money and hasn’t told Jeff). In a third scene in VOL. 3, Peter Quill says a hearty, “Thank God,” when he gets some happy news.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 also has some of the most redemptive, morally uplifting content than most Marvel movies.
For example, in one line one of the Guardians preaches the Christian, biblical ideal that everyone should get a second chance. As Jesus says during His crucifixion, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.” Also, in Judges 16:28-30, despite his failure, Samson prays to God to strengthen him once more, and God answers Samson’s prayer affirmatively. In Jonah 3:1-4, God gives Jonah a second chance to preach God’s message to the city of Ninevah. Of course, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is like unto Jonah’s release from the stomach of the whale in three days, is a story about God giving people a chance to turn away from evil and do God’s will. To quote Micah 7:8, “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.”
The movie’s story also has a strong pro-life message. It teaches that all innocent life is sacred and worth saving. It also promotes compassion, courage, sacrifice, standing up against evil, doing the right thing when it’s really difficult, repentance, and family. Finally, although the villain mentions evolution several times in the movie, the wicked nature of his warped character ultimately undermines the theory of evolution itself. Also, if a scientist thinks he or she can manipulate the theory of evolution to serve some scientific or social aim, then he or she has actually refuted the whole theory itself by using their own mind to do so. Logically speaking, the act of Creation requires a personal mind behind it, and the Creation of a universe (or even a “multiverse”) requires a Personal, Transcendent, Non-Material, Omnipotent, Rational Divine Mind behind it.
Sadly, however, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 still has some strong objectionable content. For example, some of the violence is excessive. In one scene, for instance, there are some gory images where the Guardians battle some large Frankenstein creatures the High Evolutionary has created. The gore and violence in that scene is over the top. The movie also has a strong, gratuitous scatological joke and a prank in one scene with comical homosexual references. Finally, VOL. 3 has 25 to 27 obscenities, including an “f” word and a few other strong expletives. Most of the obscenities are “h” words and a** words, however. The first two GUARDIANS movies have 20 and 31 obscenities, respectively.
MOVIEGUIDE® praises the good things in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 but advises extreme caution for the violence, foul language and a few of the jokes.
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