The final installment in the Guardians of the Galaxy series, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, has arrived. Star-Lord, Gamora, Mantis, Nebula, Drax, Groot and Rocket Racoon all return, and there is so much to this film that makes it the perfect close to the saga.

While this is a comedic action film, it also tackles the issue of eugenics. The villain in Vol. 3, played by Chukwudi Iwuji, is known as the High Evolutionary. He is dead set on making the world a “perfect society” and works toward this goal by testing on animals like rabbits, otters, walruses and even human children. Rocket Raccoon’s backstory is revealed, including how he is connected to the High Evolutionary. 

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At times this film almost seems like an advertisement for an animal rights group like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, but it does a good job of balancing a hard-hitting topic while also integrating more joyful themes like friendship, loyalty and love. Dealing with your past demons and not running away from them is another theme the film addresses well without giving too much away. 

I cannot talk about this film without mentioning its score. The soundtrack features music from Radiohead, Bruce Springsteen, Redbone and a personal favorite song of mine, “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” by the Beastie Boys.

The way the soundtrack and other elements contribute to experiencing this film in a theater is unparalleled. This is something that cannot be reproduced at home, so I would not recommend waiting for this film to come to a streaming service.

Since this is the final installment of Guardians of the Galaxy, I think that it is fitting to discuss the impact and legacy this saga has had on the genre of science fiction. One key aspect of this was having a woman of color play one of the central characters. 

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Seeing women of color in science fiction is few and far between, and casting Zoe Saldana as Gamora has opened a door toward seeing more diversity in science fiction films and television. The first Guardians of the Galaxy film was released in 2014, and almost a decade later, we have begun to see women of color portray more roles in the science fiction realm. This includes but is not limited to Zendaya in “Dune,” Moses Ingram in “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and Tessa Thompson in the “Thor” franchise. 

Not to mention, this is not only James Gunn’s final Guardians of the Galaxy film but also his final Marvel film. Gunn has directed every Guardians film as well as the Holiday Special, so Vol. 3 being his last is likely very emotional.  

He said via Twitter, “I remember driving home & thinking that I didn’t want to make a movie LIKE Star Wars, but a movie that made people FEEL like Star Wars made me feel as a kid. Outlandish characters, extraordinary locations, a space opera with a touch of magic filled with heart.”

If you’re a fan of superhero or action movies, you should definitely see this film, especially if you already have a love for Marvel or the Guardians of the Galaxy saga. It is the perfect emotional send-off for the franchise that has blazed its own trail in the science fiction and superhero genres.