Come And Get Your Love

James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Take One Last Ride

Trailer released by Marvel Entertainment for latest installment into the "Guardians" trilogy.


The Guardians don all-new suits in this shot from the film.

Joseph Palos, Writer

Since their first live-action appearance in 2014, the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies have become fan favorites. Over nearly a decade, they have grown from the criminals and misfits they once were into a (sometimes) loving family. Touching the hearts of many with their charm and relatable struggles, they have also become like a family to us. Director James Gunn and the team behind the “Guardians” movies have crafted something truly special, and bringing it to an end would be no easy task. 

Remembered for their iconic needle drops, ridiculous humor, exciting action sequences, wonderful visuals, and memorable characters, the Guardians movies have become cemented into pop culture. The first “Guardians” movie introduces us to a cast of low-down and borderline insane criminals that come together to put an end to the evil Ronan the Accuser. Throughout the film, our beloved miscreants realize they’ve found in each other what they’ve been missing all along, family. First appearing in “Marvel Super-Heroes no. 18” in 1969, the group (whose roster at the time was very different from the one we have now) did not see quite the same fame they received after the release of their live-action debut. This made them a surprising addition to the growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Though it would be hard to imagine now, many people originally doubted the movie, prematurely criticizing the use of a talking tree and raccoon as the main protagonists. Despite this, the movie would go on to be one of the most successful and memorable films of the decade, grossing just over 773 million US dollars. Just two years after its release, that talking tree and raccoon would end up on the patches of NASA’s mission patches for the United States ISS National Lab. The sequel, released in 2017, saw a similar success, outdoing its predecessor’s box office and bringing in around 869 million US dollars. 

The impact the “Guardians” movies have made can be felt almost everywhere. Their utilization of vintage technology, such as the Sony Walkman, and the use of songs from the 70s have become synonymous with the movies. These elements also helped the films and their characters to stand out amongst their fellow MCU counterparts as well as leaving a positive impression on audiences everywhere, seeping into the culture and influencing an entire generation.

Over the years, the “Guardians” have grown from the original five core members, which include Star-Lord (aka Peter Quill), Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Drax, and have introduced us to many new characters, slowly growing the roster. Newer members include Gamora’s often angry sister Nebula, Mantis, Kraglin, and Cosmo the Spacedog. Every new addition has been welcome, and James Gunn has brilliantly incorporated each new member in a way that makes them feel as though they belong. 

The last standalone “Guardians film” (not including the “Holiday Special”) came out six years ago; since then, audiences have only caught glimpses of their adventures in films such as “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018), “Avengers: Endgame” (2019), and “Thor: Love and Thunder” (2022). Though these films feature crucial development for the “Guardians” story, they understandably only make up a fraction of the films they appear in; however, this has left audiences eagerly awaiting their return. When news of the third movie entering production dropped, it excited fans everywhere. The excitement only grew larger and larger with every new reveal, leaving fans pondering what would occur in the final installment of the trilogy. 

Now that “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3” has been released, it has managed to live up to the hype. Each Guardian is at full display with each actor giving their all to craft memorable performances as the sun sets on an entire era. James Gunn brings his signature style to the film, continuing to stand out amongst his fellow Marvel directors as a visionary in the industry. With the recent CGI catastrophes of the latest MCU films, fans were worried that the third “Guardians” movie would become another victim. Fans will be delighted to learn that James Gunn was correct in his statements regarding the movie’s high-quality CGI, as everything appeared to be spot on with little to no blemishes. One action sequence in particular, which features heavy use of CGI, will likely leave a very positive impression on fans of the Guardians and become one of their most memorable moments. 

The latest entry in the “Guardians” filmography features many of the aspects that have come to characterize the previous installments to the franchise, such as properly-utilized needle drops, absurd humor, entertaining characters, and exciting action sequences, all without disregarding the need for drama and emotional moments that ground the characters and relate them to the audience. This film in particular will likely get an emotional response from the audience, as it features many of the trilogy’s most heart-wrenching moments. 

“Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3” (2023) boasts an impressive runtime of one hundred and fifty minutes, and James Gunn utilizes every single one to tell the story he wants. Each Guardian has a satisfying completion to their character arc, some of which have spanned years. An emotional watch for both new fans and fans that have followed the Guardians on their journey since 2014, this is a must-see. James Gunn has crafted a space opera of epic proportions, leaving us with a brilliant finale and touching end to his Guardians of the Galaxy. For many, this is truly the end of an era, one we can all appreciate having been a part of.