Well, here it is. James Gunn's final installment in the MCU before rebuilding the DCU himself. For those of you who don't know, the Guardians of the Galaxy have always been a group of outsiders in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When the first film was announced, many wondered how these "b-list" Marvel characters would fit in with "a-lister" characters like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. Well, to put it simply, it was a smash hit with the fans.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 3 is the third installment of the franchise, but they have appeared in other Marvel movies such as Avengers: Endgame and Thor: Love and Thunder. They even have their own Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special on Disney+. So with all the back stories that flush out these characters, this film actually draws mostly on Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 more than any of the other source material. While these films have always tended to be the more "adult" or even "annoying teenagers" of the group with maturity and humor seeking that level, this film embraces that to a point and where we actually get our first "f-bomb" in the MCU. Captain America would be very disappointed, however the fans will not be.
This film gives each of the colorful characters their moment to shine, but it is hands down Rocket Raccoon's movie. We finally get the look into his horrifying past and his origin stories. Filled with horror, pain and hope all at the same time. Each flashback is a welcomed one with some great pay-offs in the end. However, the ending did feel rushed with the writing. Perhaps it was because we truly don't know where some of the characters will be in the future and some (in a non-spoiler way) are set on their course and we know what will (or has) become of them. However it's the family like relationships that make the character enduring, but the ending has some characters making uncharacteristic choices. Some may call this a character-arc while others may make it feel like it's a shock to end it that way.
The film is fun, and the music always helps deliver on the fun. I will admit this movie, that clocks in nearly at two and a half hours long, did have me check my watch once or twice as it did drag in the second act. The number of cameos and Easter Eggs are a plenty for all die-hard Marvel fans and it's a solid entry to the MCU. While the stakes they face may not be as impactful to the rest of the MCU (that we know of at this time), the state of the Guardians at the end will be.
If you have little ones, this may be the "franchise" in the MCU to wait until they're older. Teenagers will enjoy this and will be right up their alley. Other Marvel fans are sure to enjoy the final ride of our motley crew of Guardians of the Galaxy.