After “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” earned some of the worst reviews for a Marvel movie yet (its 47% score on Rotten Tomatoes ties “Eternals” as the lowest-rated MCU title on the aggregation website), it appears the Marvel Cinematic Universe is back on track thanks to “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” First reactions for the trilogy-ending “Guardians” sequel are rolling in and praise the film as the “best Marvel movie in years” and “surprisingly emotional,” though some critics deemed it “uneven.”
Awards Radar editor Joey Magidson called the film “full of heart” and said it brought him “to tears on multiple occasions.”
“It’s not what you’re necessarily expecting,” he added, “but it really does land. A perfect ending, too.”
Next Best Picture editor Lauren LaMagna agreed, writing that “Guardians 3” is “full of stakes, emotion and feels like a solid ending (good thing!). The production design and set pieces are some of Marvel’s strongest.”
Uproxx writer Mike Ryan wrote, “James Gunn bets the house on a surprisingly emotional story centered on Rocket and the love and friendship between these characters. Bets and wins. It’s pretty incredible.”
Den of Geek editor David Crow wrote, “Thank God that James Gunn is back in the MCU. This is easily the best Marvel movie in years and had a… surprisingly wistful heart.”
Nerdopolis editor Sean Tajipour also hailed the film as “an emotional and action-packed rollercoaster ride” and “easily the best MCU film since ‘No Way Home.’”
However, not everyone had only praise for “Guardians 3.” Next Best Picture editor-in-chief Matt Neglia said that though the movie “sometimes succeeds” in its goal of “sweeping emotion, gut busting laughs and thrilling action,” it still “feels strangely uneven and anticlimactic.”
Similarly, Grace Randolph wrote that while Gunn is “quickly becoming [a] phenomenal blockbuster director,” he “really needs to stop putting his family and friends in his movies.”
“It’s super distracting and took me out of a whole sequence,” she added.
James Gunn is back in the director’s seat for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” after writing and directing the previous two installments. Gunn was developing “Vol. 3” when Disney fired him in 2018 after controversial jokes he made on Twitter years ago resurfaced online. He was reinstated as director in 2019 after many “Guardians” actors, most notably Dave Bautista, criticized Disney for cutting ties with him. In the interim, Gunn jumped to DC and Warner Bros. to helm “The Suicide Squad.” Gunn is now in charge of DC Studios along with Peter Safran, and the two are rebooting the DC Universe on the big screen starting with Gunn’s “Superman: Legacy.”
The original “Guardians” film was considered a huge risk as it centered on comic book characters that were not especially mainstream. However, critical acclaim for the movie was high and it ended up grossing $94 million in its opening weekend. It finished its box office run with $333 million domestically and $772 million worldwide. The 2017 sequel performed even better with a $146 million opening on its way to $389 million domestic and $863 worldwide.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” opens in theaters nationwide May 5 from Disney.
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