Rocket Listens to Radiohead

A Review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3


Iliana Tangarova

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 premiered in theaters on Friday, May 5th. The third and final installment of the Guardians franchise, this film concluded the trilogy in the best way possible. A tale about family and humanity, this movie hits all the feels. I rate it 9 out of 10 stars!

Iliana Tangarova, Reporter

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” begins with Rocket Racoon listening to the acoustic version of Creep by Radiohead. No, I’m not kidding. You read that right. 

Straight from the bat, the film incorporates the ’90s, ’80s and ’70s jams that the franchise is famous for. Coming into this film, I knew that I would love at least one thing, and that’s its soundtrack, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: Awesome Mix Vol. 3.”

Going into this movie, I honestly was not expecting much. After watching some of the more recent Phase 4 Marvel films, such as “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness,” with especially their let-down endings, I was not expecting Guardians Vol. 3 to be as good as it was. However, my expectations were quite literally blown away.

I grew up with the first two Guardians movies. When the first one was released in 2014, I loved it. I loved the second one even more. There was a kind of immaturity that James Gunn, the movies’ director, incorporated, and that was something unheard of in the earlier stages of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With a change of scenery and humor, the Guardians franchise set a tone for the upcoming Marvel films, and that tone easily carried itself into the third film. 

The basic and non-spoiler-y plot goes like this: the Guardians are attacked by Adam Warlock, a Sovereign warrior, who critically wounds Rocket but is forced to flee after being stabbed by Nebula. The Guardians are unable to save Rocket due to a kill switch, made by the company Orgocorp, which is embedded in his body, so they travel to Orgocorp to find the override code.

As Rocket lies unconscious throughout the movie, he recalls memories from his past as a test subject. He was experimented on by a scientist named the High Evolutionary (who has a serious god complex and wants to create a perfect earth). As a test subject, Rocket befriends other test subjects and, ironically, understands humanity from his furry friends. The High Evolutionary is fascinated by Rocket’s intelligence but furious that it is higher than his own, and this causes one of the main conflicts throughout the film. 

The rest of the film bounces between Rocket’s past and the current-day Guardians who are dealing with their own friendship and family issues, to say the least. To keep it spoiler-free, I won’t say much else apart from a one-sentence conclusion: throughout the movie, the Guardians learn a major lesson about family and humanity.

Now, let’s get back to Creep by Radiohead. In my opinion, this was the best way to start such a somber film. It brought in the melancholy with Thom Yorke’s plucked guitar strings, but also that nerdy, almost immature Guardians of the Galaxy tone that all of the songs from the soundtrack bring to the table. Featuring songs by the Beastie Boys, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Bruce Springsteen and my personal favorite, Florence + the Machine, this soundtrack easily made it into my playlist. 

Of course, you can’t have a Guardians film without its memorable characters and their squabbles. The iconic tree-man Groot returns, this time as an older teenager voiced by Vin Diesel. Gamora is back, but she doesn’t remember her memories with the Guardians from the previous movies and missions they’ve been on together, so Star Lord, or Peter Quill, pines for her attention. Drax and Mantis continue their sibling-like banter, and Nebula has a robotic, morphable arm, which is pretty cool, I guess.

Overall, this film was exquisite. After watching, I felt a little bit conflicted because I felt it was a little too long, but the longer I let it steep, the more I realized I enjoyed it. I even find myself liking various TikToks about the film and sending various edits about Groot and Rocket to friends. As the end of a unique Marvel trilogy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was the best way to end it. As a series I’ve grown up watching, the Guardians will forever be my favorite group of misfit superheroes. With a killer soundtrack, a strong message on animal cruelty and what it means to find family, this movie has definitely made it onto my top ten list for Marvel. 

I rate this movie nine out of 10 stars!