'Once more with feeling'

The Guardians are back and in fine form

(From left): Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Peter Quill/Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) return to the big screen as a team on a mission in Marvel Studios' 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.' [Courtesy photo | Marvel Studios | © 2022 MARVEL].

"Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3" is one of the most heartfelt movies I have ever experienced. 

After Rocket Raccoon is badly injured and on the brink of death, the Guardians team must come together to save his life. 

Hot on their trail are the Sovereign -- the gold people from the last movie, out for revenge -- and the High Evolutionary -- a villain from Rocket's past who has come back to reclaim what is rightfully his. 

There is so much to talk about in this movie. 

Chris Pratt’s Star Lord has an excellent arc about learning to face your past instead of running from it. Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon has a huge amount of character development, as through flashbacks, the audience experiences Rocket’s childhood and past trauma and what made him how he is now.  

Dave Bautista’s Drax gets a lot to do when paired with Pom Klementieff’s Mantis. The pair bounce off each other perfectly and solidify themselves as one of the best dynamic duos on screen. Karen Gillian’s Nebula also has a huge character shift in the movie, as she learns to become more caring to the people around her. 

Although they didn’t do much in the film, Vin Diesel's Groot, Sean Gunn’s Kraglin and Maria Bakalova’s Cosmo all get their time to shine.  Will Poulter as Adam Warlock, although not central to the plot, was fun to watch as well. 

By far the standout of the film is the villain, The High Evolutionary, played by Chukwudi Iwuji ("John Wick Chapter 2"). He was an absolute menace throughout the film, and one of the scariest and most violent villains in a Marvel movie. He’s evil just to be evil. There is no reasoning with this guy, and he just wants to create and destroy life until he thinks it’s “perfect." 

The dynamic between him and Rocket reminded me a lot of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster, especially during some of the experiment scenes in the movie.  

James Gunn directed this movie with grace. I think it’s his best-looking movie yet, with some really cool shots -- take, for example, the Guardians jumping out into space, while "In The Meantime" by Spacehog plays in the background. 

Speaking of music, the soundtrack is once again a hit and utilizes its song choices perfectly. I really liked "Do You Realize?" by The Flaming Lips and "The Dog Days Are Over" by Florence and The Machine. Not to give away plot lines, but those two choices really hit me in the gut and made me feel exactly what the Guardians were feeling in that moment. 

The only issue I had with the film is that Zoe Saldana’s Gamora felt pointless to bring back because her arc was finished in "Avengers: Infinity War." What they added in this movie didn’t compare to the development she had in the previous "Guardians films" and the "Avenger" movies, but I’m just nitpicking.  

Overall, this was a fantastic movie, and a must-see for any Marvel and "Guardians" fan. Be warned, even though this movie is rated PG-13, it is the most graphic Marvel movie, so proceed with caution when bringing small children. 

Even with the small flaws, I’d rate this film a 10/10. 

Carter Salley is a broadcast & cinematic arts major and host of the Central Michigan Life podcast "Raving Geeks."