Breaking Down Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3’s Heartstring-Pulling Super Bowl Trailer

Breaking Down Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3’s Heartstring-Pulling Super Bowl Trailer

There is precisely one joke in Guardians of the Galaxy 3‘s new trailer, so either the movie’s going to be a 2.5 hour fever dream of a depressive episode, or they’re saving the good zingers for the theatre. James Gunn’s final Marvel movie certainly has style going for it, so let’s see what else the new head of DC is cooking in his MCU swansong.

Enter: Sad Man

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Our first proper look at post-Endgame Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) after the recent Guardians Holiday Special is not painting him in a flattering light. He’s in a dingy space bar (presumably on Knowhere), heavily drinking. Also, Rocket’s here (voiced by Bradley Cooper), presumably coming to smack some sense into Quill OR steal his spaceship. Or both?

Pew pew

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This was literally the only time in the entire trailer that the diagetic sound matched up to the soundtrack. I want ballads, glam rock bangers, and rugged crooning in a Guardians film, and I got none of that! Anyway, this shoot out looks like a continuation of whichever situation Peter was drinking over.

Guardians United

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The whole gang, walking slowly away from a firey… explosion, I guess? Note once again the Guardians now use their Abnett/Lanning era comics uniforms, save for Groot (who looks Distressingly Wide here) and Gamora.

Remember when we liked these two?

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Just in case you had somehow forgotten that Peter was not over Gamora, here’s a flashback to the first film to jog your memory.

She’s never done anything wrong ever

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Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is innocent and has never done anything wrong, except for the fact that she appears to be wearing a prison jumpsuit here… as does Peter.

We’re supposed to root for this guy?

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Like man, I’m sorry your girlfriend died, but join Marvel’s sad spouse club. This whole scene where Peter’s comparing Gamora 2 to Gamora 1 is icky as hell. Hopefully there’s actually going to be more to their relationship than Gamora 2 telling Peter she’s more than his memory of her predecessor.

Same vibe

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But where *is* this mysterious prison the Guardians (and Gamora) have been sent to. And what’s in Peter’s hand though? and why does Nebula (Karen Gillan) rip off her sleeve on her cybernetic arm? There’s no reason for it. I dig it, but I don’t get it.

Earth!

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Nah, this is “obviously Counter-Earth” according to an informative and delightful commenter on my last Guardians slideshow. We saw more footage of Counter-Earth in other trailers; it’s full of humanoid animal biped wagies in suburbs, likely a product of the High Evolutionary.

Big Mad Scientist

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Here’s our first look at the base of the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), a kind of mad scientist type who’s whole bag is genetic experimentation. Note the assistant’s smocks looking similar to the pink-skinned being we saw with Peter, Gamora, and Nebula earlier.

Orbital evolution

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The Guardian’s ship, the Bowie, heads into an imposing fortress — presumably to meet the High Evolutionary.

Sad Rocket flashbacks incoming

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This trailer has a lot of shots of a poor distressed young Rocket, but does little to tell us the origin story we’re seeing played out here, when he is experimented on in the comics on his home world of Halfworld to achieve sentience.

Protect him!

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He’s just a little guy. Here, ti’s made clear that it’s the High Evolutionary who performed these experiments on Rocket in the MCU, not the Halfworld Robots from the comics.

Genuinely terrifying

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This could absolutely be a scene in a horror film. I hate it.

Gamora’s ready to fight (and so am I)

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Here’s the thing; the big crux of my issues with Quill’s emotional arc following the ‘she’s not who I remember’ post-snap emotions. First, this is the exact same plot that we’re seeing with Ant-Man in Quantumania when Scott Lang is reminiscing about his child, which is a much more compelling hook. Second, it fronts Peter’s feelings about Gamora in all these trailers, when there’s an interesting relationship we don’t get to see — the one with her sister, Nebula.

Instead of letting Gamora and Nebula share any screentime or trailer time whatsoever we’re caught in an abusive cycle with Peter Quill as he continually feels bad about himself because Gamora doesn’t know who he is. It’s absolutely infuriating. The one thing I liked about Guardians 2 was the Gamora/Nebula relationship, and it’s frustrating to see that possible narrative completely ignored especially after Nebula got so much character development.

Nebula got a badass upgrade

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I support women’s rights and women’s wrongs. I love when they do bad things, like *checks notes* grow an arm sword???

Behold, a reference

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As the crew jumps onto some kind of flesh planet we get a view of the Teletubbie suits that are not an Among Us reference and are definitely a wink towards the spacesuits in 2001: A Space Odyssey — something Gunn had to clarify after we saw these suits in earlier footage.

Biomech is gross, there, I said it

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Biomech is gross and this scene of a bunch of clowns jumping across squishy planet flesh is not convincing me that bone is a good building material. But it makes for one hell of an image. Just where is this meant to be though? Is the biomech a product of the High Evolutionary’s experiments, or something else?

Cubism!

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Really that’s the only way to describe the High Evolutionary’s aesthetic choices for his ship. It’s a shame that his armour looks so similar to Kang’s and yet carries none of its camp or design. He feels totally at odds with his surroundings and I don’t quite get the choices! I don’t get it!

RIP Yondu

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Gone, but never forgotten, Yondu’s yaka arrow mech-mohawk is embedded firmly on Kraglin’s dome. Sean Gunn has done a great job with this hapless minion turned main character, but Yondu was a class of his own and I will never forget him. Heavy lies the head, etc. etc. Wait, is that arrow made of BONE??

Hi, Adam Warlock

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Look, I’m a sucker. Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) is a big misunderstood meanie and I’m thrilled for him. He’s literally been teased in three separate films, so it’s nice to finally have him make an appearance despite us already having a primary antagonist. He’s a weirdo, a powerful artificial anti-Guardian destructo-boy made by the Sovereign so that they can finally get their revenge, literally 10 in-universe years after the fact.

Another animal to get sad over

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This is Lylla Otter, another one of the High Evolutionary’s playthings and Rocket’s love interest from the comics, a fellow uplifted therapy animal from Halfworld. We’ll see if he gets a happily ever after in this film as they get reunited.

Groot!

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Despite having an entire film centered on Groot’s best friend, the anthropomorphic tree doesn’t seem to have a lot of emotions about how his friend is feeling. He does have a new semi-grown-up look and a lot of guns, though.

Back to the otter guys

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Sorry, I’m sorry. Have Lylla and Rocket reuniting happily.

What a good dog

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So this is Cosmo the Spacedog, and we’ve seen him before, in The Collector’s collection and then as an ally of the Guardians on Knowhere during the Holiday Special. Cosmo is voiced by Maria Bakalova, who has won numerous acting awards and has been nominated for the Oscars, BAFTAs, Golden Globes, and SAG awards.

Will they? Won’t they?

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The real question is: do I care? the answer is no. But also: look at this wild little alien creature interrupting Peter and Gamora’s attempts at flirtation!

Pew pew, part 2

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Peter goes to town on what are presumably some goons working for the High Evolutionary.

Pouty all-powerful man-boy

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Weird boy but gold? Childlike innocence? A taste for revenge with all the naïveté of a child who does not understand consequences? A demand for vengeance that only his creator truly understands? The pettiness of this version of Adam Warlock’s existence is everything — and quite different from his comics self, at least on the surface.

Drax, no!

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Dave Bautista has gone on record saying that this going to be his last movie as Drax, he hasn’t exactly said if that’s because Drax dies or he’s just not going to sign any more contracts. So it’s probably not great to see him looking in a lot of danger going toe-to-toe with Adam.

Jail!

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We get another fun jailbreak scene with the Guardians doing what they do best: fucking shit up.

I can’t stop staring at the brain bugs

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I don’t know what they are, but I’m assuming this is part of the High Evolutionary’s holding chamber, and it looks like it’s potentially connected to the same kind of flesh-planet the guardians jumped onto in their teletubby suits. Meanwhile, what’s happened to Gamora (or Peter, or both) to leave them hobbling? Is this potentially after the encounter with Adam Warlock we just saw, or something else?

Explosion time

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Cool kids don’t look at explosions. Drax is, once again, injured, (really badly, judging by the blast mark over his chest) and it looks like Quill is still holding that weird shape thing that we saw in the elevator earlier.

The High Evolutionary is Mad

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The High Evolutionary is DONE playing with y’all. Note the design of the corridor is similar to the one we saw Peter blasting through earlier.

Who is this person!?

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Peter takes a running dive over the edge of the High Evolutionary’s vessel, tackling a white-smock-clad figure with him. But who is it? There’s similarly dressed corspes all over this scene, and these look similar to the High Evolutionary assistants we saw earlier. So why is Peter saving them?

Killing them is worth dying over, I guess

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… well, as much as saving can be “plummeting them both into what looks like an active warzone from the clouds,” I guess.

Sad Mantis

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Without Groot, Rocket, or Quill in this shot, there’s some easy guesses as to who’s potentially biting the bullet this time, as Mantis mourns and the guardians look bruised and defeated.

Dire Straits

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Peter screams at someone undergoing surgery. Maybe it’s Rocket? Don’t do us like this, Gunn.

I do not like the flesh planet

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I hate it, actually. This is Cronenberg gross in a hi-definition that it was never meant to have.

In the arms of an angel

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Nah, this is clearly from the start of the trailer when the team is attempting to get the band back together. Ten bucks says this is the first twenty minutes and Quill is either too drunk to walk to his ship or they had to tranquillise him.

Behold, a joke

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The trailer concludes with its one light-hearted joke, as Peter and Nebula loudly brush off the idea that they could potentially be attracted to each other… or do they?

Is Quill still upset about Gamora or is he just traumatized? Is this genuine emotion or is he really just trying to avoid resolution of his emotional conflicts in order to continue to live without considering the consequences of his assumptions on the people around him? Maybe he really does love Nebula?

Same, girl

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Whatever the answer, this is the only correct reaction to Peter Quill flirting with you. Absolute disgust and a complete shut down. Perfect. No notes.

Even if this new trailer doesn’t really tell us more than we’d seen from Guardians 3, there’s something about this trailer that is… intriguing. We know that this is going to be The End for a lot of players — Gunn and Bautista, and perhaps for other characters as well, like Bradley Cooper’s Rocket. In this trailer, there’s a lot less cracking jokes and a lot more focus on loss, resolution, and endings. I’m not about to get my hopes up, but there’s something here that makes me think that if Gunn plays his cards (and his characters) right, this film might actually deliver a satisfying final arc for the trilogy.

But, it is Marvel, so how much of an ending can we truly expect? I’m sceptical, but they’ve long said that this is at least the end of this iteration of the intergalactic superteam. We’ll find out just how definitive that end is when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theatres May 4, 2023.

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