In an unexpected twist to the highly-anticipated conclusion of James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” trilogy within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans were bracing themselves for a heart-wrenching finale, especially given Gunn’s reputation for eliciting tears from his audience. With speculation rife due to certain stars expressing reluctance to continue without Gunn at the helm, many believed that “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” might conclude with a somber farewell to most of its beloved team.
However, in a delightful subversion of expectations, not only do all core Guardians find new horizons or paths forward by the end of the film, but the post-credit scenes suggest an expansion of the Guardian family within the MCU. This doesn’t imply the film is devoid of sorrow. Touted as the most visceral installment in the MCU, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” does not shy away from impactful deaths, ensuring that audiences will still need to keep their tissues handy.
‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Sees the Demise of Key MCU Characters
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is no stranger to intense battles and high body counts. Over the past decade and a half, many on-screen confrontations between heroes and adversaries have led to countless casualties. While Thanos, masterfully portrayed by Josh Brolin, retains the title for the most devastating act by eradicating half of all living beings in ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ the emotional impact of this act was somewhat mitigated given the anticipated revival in ‘Avengers: Endgame.’
Yet, Thanos isn’t the sole harbinger of large-scale destruction in the MCU. ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ introduced a variant of Stephen Strange, brought to life by Benedict Cumberbatch, who obliterated an entire universe following an Incursion. And if we consider the ‘What If…?’ series, the malevolent Infinity Ultron, voiced by Ross Marquand, annihilated an entire universe and wreaked havoc across multiple timelines. But mere numbers can’t capture our empathy. It’s the personal connections that truly tug at our heartstrings. Moments like Gamora’s (Zoe Saldaña) tragic end in ‘Infinity War’ or Vision’s (Paul Bettany) heart-wrenching destruction resonate deeply with audiences. And who could forget the poignant sacrifice of Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) in ‘Endgame’? It’s these moments that truly epitomize the emotional roller-coaster that is the MCU.
In a shocking twist, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” may just hold the record for the most heart-wrenching departures throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Director James Gunn’s recent venture presents an alarming genocide orchestrated by the High Evolutionary (played by Chukwudi Iwuji). This catastrophe targets Counter-Earth in the pursuit of an unattained utopian society. What sets this mass extermination apart from other MCU tragedies is its palpable depth. Billions lose their lives, sealing their fate with no hope of revival. The film poignantly captures moments with ordinary individuals who bravely aid the Guardians, only to meet a tragic end moments later. Notably, the sweeping calamity also consumes the Sovereign High Priestess, Ayesha (portrayed by Elizabeth Debicki), a complex antagonist shaped by the High Evolutionary’s experiments.
James Gunn Takes MCU Fans on an Emotional Rollercoaster
In the latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’, director James Gunn elevates emotional storytelling to new heights. Rather than the heightened action scenes one might anticipate, it’s the poignant moments that leave fans reaching for tissues.
High Evolutionary’s unsettling treatment of defenseless creatures notably amps up the emotional stakes. While cinematic deaths of humanoid figures might often be taken with a grain of salt, the demise of endearing animals tugs at a unique string of human empathy. A sentiment any ‘John Wick’ enthusiast could attest to.
Standing out in this whirlwind of emotions is Batch 89, a set of creatures that share harrowing experiences with Rocket, brought to life by the voice of Bradley Cooper. As viewers get an intimate look into Rocket’s backstory, they’re introduced to his heart-wrenching camaraderie with Lylla, voiced by Linda Cardellini; Teefs, a character lent vocals by Asim Chaudhry; and Floor, portrayed by Mikaela Hoover. Their shared dreams of freedom and mutual care juxtapose with the grim surroundings of captivity, setting the stage for Gunn’s masterclass in emotional manipulation.
While the audience braces themselves for potential threats to the main Guardians, Gunn artfully redirects the emotional brunt towards Rocket’s newly introduced companions. The tragic fate of Batch 89 is one that could arguably stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other iconic MCU deaths, like those of Tony Stark and Yondu.
Despite the rollercoaster of sentiments, Gunn ensures that our beloved mainstay Guardians remain intact. Yet, this doesn’t diminish the emotional weight of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’. Gunn’s genius lies in his ability to introduce and make audiences fall for new characters, only to deliver an impactful narrative punch.