Phase 5 of the MCU is fully upon us now, and with it comes hellos and goodbyes. Perhaps the most interesting is the send-off of both writer-director James Gunn — and the current Guardians line up including Chris Pratt et al — in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is streaming on Disney+ now.
Now Gunn is the head of DC Studios and working hard on his new universe it looks like his fourth outing (including his joyful Christmas special) will be a swan song for the original roster.
But, what should we as an audience expect from Gunn and co if this is the climax of the freakin’ Guardians of the Galaxy, and what does it mean moving forwards?
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Fear not, for here is everything you need to know about Star-Lord and co and their latest adventure.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 release date
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was released in UK cinemas on Wednesday, 3 May and is streaming on Disney+ from 2 August.
The film reunites the cast with James Gunn as writer director after his controversial firing due to offensive tweets and his hasty re-hiring. It’s been a long road given that in the mean time he went off to director The Suicide Squad for DC and then gave us The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.
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Clocking in at 149 minutes, it's the longest of all the Guardians' adventures, which clocked in at 2 hours, 2 minutes and 2 hours, 17 minutes respectively. This matches up with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania which both had longer runtimes than their previous films.
With this many characters to juggle and some at the end of their road it’s not surprising Gunn has opted for an epic runtime.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 reviews
Hitting cinemas in early May, reviews for Gunn's final Guardians adventure have started to roll in, with many praising its humour and heart.
Our own write-up celebrated its tear-jerky moments while commenting on its overly-long run time. Find out what others had to say below:
Yahoo UK: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 review: A heartfelt but overlong finale (5-min read)
Total Film: A rousing, resonant finale (2 min read)
IndieWire: These intergalactic weirdos are the real heart of the MCU (8 min read)
The Telegraph: Marvel’s once-perkiest heroes now look like a spent force (4 min read)
Independent: The best Marvel movie in years (3 min read)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 cast
Chris Pratt returns to headline the team as Peter Quill / Star-Lord, along with Karen Gillan’s Nebula, Dave Bautista’s Drax the Destroyer, Pom Klementieff as Mantis as well as Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel voicing Rocket Raccoon and Groot respectively.
Also back is Zoe Saldaña as Gamora, this version is an incarnation from 2014 brought forwards during the events of Avengers: Endgame and without the long history and romance shared with Quill.
Gunn also brings back characters teased in previous outings like Elizabeth Debicki as the High Priestess Ayesha of the Sovereign, Sean Gunn as Ravager commander Kraglin, Sylvester Stallone as Ravager Stakar Ogord. Teased in Volume 2, we also see Michael Rosenbaum as Martinex.
Academy Award nominee Maria Bakalova reprises her role from the Holiday Special as Cosmo the Spacedog, a new member of the Guardians who speaks via a translator device.
New additions to the cast are Will Poulter as newly created artificial weapon Adam Warlock who will cause trouble for the Guardians and Chukwudi Iwuji as The High Evolutionary, a character linked to Rocket’s past.
Also in the cast are Superstore’s Nico Santos and The Suicide Squad’s Daniela Melchoir.
What is the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?
The official plot synopsis is that after purchasing Knowhere from The Collector, the Guardians of the Galaxy attempt to make it a safe haven for alien refugees. But following a brutal attack, Peter Quill must lead the Guardians on one last mission to protect one their members that could lead to the team dissolving.
Aside from this little is known though Gunn has teased an exploration of Rocket’s past, and a more emotional arc for the grizzled Rocket while also following on threads left by previous Marvel projects.
Here's the official synopsis: "In Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 our beloved band of misfits are settling into life on Knowhere. But it isn’t long before their lives are upended by the echoes of Rocket’s turbulent past.
Peter Quill, still reeling from the loss of Gamora, must rally his team around him on a dangerous mission to save Rocket’s life—a mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians as we know them."
Is there a trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?
The first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was released in December, 2022. Watch it above.
Striking a more ominous tone than previous Guardians of the Galaxy trailers and scored by a dramatic, slowed down version of Spacehog's 1995 hit In The Meantime, the teaser hinted at the end of the team of A-holes we've grown to know and love.
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A second trailer revealing Will Poulter as Adam Warlock, and Star-Lord's attempts at wooing back Gamora is also playing in cinemas.
Watch the second Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 trailer
Another trailer was released during the 2023 Super Bowl.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is streaming on Disney+.
Watch: Kurt Russell talks to Yahoo about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2