It’s Time to Get off the Marvel Merry-Go-Round Image

It’s Time to Get off the Marvel Merry-Go-Round

By Calan Panchoo | June 20, 2023

It was about the time that Star-Lord and the other guardians arrived on Counter-Earth—a 1970s-esque suburbia populated by anthropomorphic animals—that I realized Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 would be the weakest movie in the trilogy. It was also when I realized there was no longer any reason to give money or attention to Disney.

As those who have seen Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Vol. 3 know, early on in the movie, a compelling reason is given for Peter Quill and the gang to go to Earth proper—a veritable Chekov’s gun, placed with every anticipation on the proverbial mantelpiece. At least, that is what I, or any fair-minded viewer, might have expected. Instead, director James Gunn decided that an extended side quest would be in order. Thus: Counter-Earth.

“Why?” I wondered to myself as I watched Drax hurl a ball at an adolescent lemur, “Why are they going to a facsimile of Earth instead of to the actual Earth?” My answer, it so happened, was sitting in the cinema seat next to me. My 16-year-old cousin—who I doubt is even aware that a book such as The Island of Doctor Moreau exists—was thrilled to be accompanying his favorite band of space rogues to whichever zoologically diverse planet they might happen upon. He didn’t seem to care why anything was happening, only that it was happening.

Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Dave Bautista as Drax, Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, and Karen Gillan as Nebula in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL.

“Any comparison between Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and the earlier volumes reveals a stark decline in narrative quality.”

Any comparison between Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and the earlier volumes reveals a stark decline in narrative quality. Consider, for example, the Kyln prison sequence in the original Guardians of the Galaxy. Every scene—from the ensemble’s incarceration to their escape—is superbly edited: the pace is propulsive, the dialogue is snappy, and the action is thrilling. Moreover, the entire sequence serves to establish the wry personality of the characters and the movie as a whole. When Quill delays the prison break to retrieve the Walkman his mother gave him, the audience gets an immediate read on his personality—he may be the infamous Star-Lord, but he’s still human.

By contrast, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is not particularly interested in tonal consistency. The movie is inordinately bloated with characters and ideas, oscillating between the sort of zany antics aimed at teenagers and the type of maudlin dramatics presumably aimed at more mature audiences. Even worse, the guardians themselves are hardly rogues but are more like presumed heroes—the entire soirée on Counter-Earth is largely ritualistic, if not just boring. Likewise, Volume 3 is thematically disconnected from its predecessors—Star-Lord’s signature mask isn’t even in the movie.

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  1. Nop3 says:

    There is reason months into this movies release i am the first comment. What used to be a good site, with great perspectives and narratives has resorted to piling on Disney…not too different than a nightly viewing of Fox news. How sad it has gotten this lazy and rote. Rest in Mediocrity.

    • Disney was once Great says:

      Hilarious. This is not a review, but rather a feature which was published on the same day you filed your comment. So you are correct in that you are the first comment, but this article has been up for only a few hours. While this website has its faults, the articles and reviews posted by Calan are all excellent and thoughtfully written. I agree with the points raised within this article and have completely given up on Disney and marvel over the last 10 years. If you disagree, that is your right, but at least provide some argument rather than simple whining.

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