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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023, 4K Ultra HD, GameFly Rental) Review


Studio:  Marvel Studios
Release Date:  8/1/2023
Rating:  PG-13
Film Grade:  C+

The Story:  Taking place after The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and Thor Love and Thunder, we find our heroes building a new headquarters on Knowhere, only to be dramatically interrupted by an attack aimed at kidnapping Rocket.  While Rocket is saved, he’s left in grave medical condition, and it’s up to the team to save him. 

My Take:  If you haven’t seen the Holiday Special, you may be caught a bit off guard by some of the updates to the team.  The Guardians bought Knowhere from The Collector, Mantis is revealed to be Ego’s daughter, making her Quill’s half-sister, and Cosmo the Space Dog has joined the team, now with psionic powers.

The actors have settled into their roles at this point, so you know what to expect.  Of the new characters introduced, The High Evolutionary as played by Chukwudi Iwuji, stands out among them.  Driven by a desire to create his own perfect world, he’s unable to see the moral atrocities he’s undertaken to get there.  Those are starkly illustrated through Rocket’s backstory, which is featured prominently in the movie in chopped-up flashback segments.

Will Poulter appears as Adam Warlock, in a muddled role.  Introduced as a powerful being without any moral compass or understanding it’s hard for the audience to connect with him.  The character feels more like a construct needed for the plot than one that exists for his own purpose.

There are some great visuals in the movie, the most striking of which is Orgocorp, a living construct base that is beautiful, repulsive, intricate, and organic, all at the same time.  There’s some welcome creativity exhibited here, and used to great effect.

If there were only some more creativity with the script.  As in the prior movies, there is plenty of humorous dialog.  Much of that banter hits, resulting in spontaneous guffaws, but others fall flat, feeling cheap and formulaic.  Then we have some recycled plot points, with one at the end recalling a similar scene from the first one, albeit with different characters. 
   
Video: For those that love movies featuring shifting aspect ratios, you’ll love this movie.  I’m not among them, so I set my screen to 2.39:1 and didn’t look back.  The disc makes good use of HDR, with objects/creatures in the many dark scenes still looking distinct.  There’s a good variety of color used throughout the film, much of it intentionally muted.  Other setting, such as Orgocorp, are vibrant with living color.

Audio:  I was surprised to hear that the film actually uses both wides and tops extensively.  This is evidenced even early in the film.  As Rocket approaches and enters a tunnel while listening to a tune, the music shifts to the tops and the soundscape changes, until he emerges into a room, where it’s shifted back to the bed layer.  Shortly after, he’s walking above the audience, and you can hear his dialog and clacking boots as he scurries above.  That scene confirms that all four top speakers are acting independently, as his voice only comes from the front right speaker.

There are a good variety of sound effects, and the film has a good feel of environmental envelopment. Dialog is clear and intelligible, even in the action segments.  There are scenes that could have benefited from greater use of wides and tops, but they are used throughout, which is a good step forward for Disney/Marvel.

Special Features:  None were included on this disc.

Final Verdict:  This is the best so far of the Phase Four Marvel films, but that’s a low bar.  The movies have become rather cookie-cutter over time, and you’ll spot the formulaic nature in this one.  The whole experience feels rote, and maybe should have been subtitled “James Gunn’s Contractually Obligated Movie.”  There’s lots of dialog about friendship, family, and teamwork, but it feels emotionally trite and manipulative.

There’s plenty of action, so fans of that aspect of these movies will be thrilled, but it’s not enough to sustain deep enthusiasm throughout its two-and-a-half-hour runtime.  It’s another recent case where less could be more.

I will end up adding this title to my movie library, but more for completeness than as any deep desire to revisit it.  It’s the weakest of the three Guardians movies, but entertaining enough to give it a view.

Fun Fact:  There’s an in-credit scene and a post credit scene.  In the second, a character is reading a newspaper with a headline referencing an alien abduction, which is a nod to The Holiday Special.



My Review System:
JVC DLA-RS3100 4K Ultra High-Definition Front Projector
Elite Screens Sable Frame B2 117” Width with Infinitely Variable Height
Monolith by Monoprice HTP-1 16 Channel Processor with Dirac Live
Monolith by Monoprice 7x200 Watts Amp
Monolith by Monoprice 3x200 Watts + 6x100 Watts Amp
JBL Studio 590 for Left, Center, Right, Wides, and Rears
JBL Studio 580 for Side Surrounds
JBL Studio SCS 8 for Tops
JTR Captivator 1400 Subwoofer X 4
Panasonic DP-UB420 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
NVIDIA Shield Android TV - 4K
Xbox One X
HTPC Running madVR (work in progress)
Remote: URC MX-780
Mini DSP 2X4 HD controlling all subwoofers
APC S15 Power Conditioner with Battery Backup

My Room:  26’-1” X 17’-4” X 10’
Equipment:  Monolith HTP-1 feeding X7 and X9 amps, JVC RS3100, Elite Screens 135"", JBL Studio 590 for L, C, R, W, R, 580s for sides and four SCS8 for tops, JTR Captivator 1400 x 4, Panny DP-UB420K, Toshiba HD-A35. Nvidia Shield, Sonos Connect, MX-780 remote

See Youthman's actual tour of my room here: https://youtu.be/PHEaG2xKVhg

This is the best so far of the Phase Four Marvel films, but that’s a low bar.


I couldn't have said it better myself. I enjoyed the movie more than I thought I would, but it really didn't break any new ground. It's time for Marvel to take a break and let the audience "want" to watch the next film instead of it being forced upon them.

Great review Scott. 
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

Barry

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I wrote a review dfor us at: https://discuss.avscience.com/index.php?topic=3725.0

 I agree here. I zsaid that it was a good movie, not an excedptional one.  And it was only for Marvel Movie fans.

Since, I guess, Avengers Ed]ndgame, I have not been a big fan of The Eternals, Black Widow, Black Panther, Ant Man III, Thor Locve and Thunder and Dr.Strange II. I did like Spider-Man No Way Home, but not the streaming series.

You right, this is movie making by the numbers.  And they often don't have real endings.


McIntosh MX170 Controller: Projector JVC DLA-RS4100; Screen: Stuart StudioTek130: Amps: McIntosh MC-611(center),MC1.25KW (lf&rt);  Krell S-1500 Atmos/Surround; 4kDVD Panasonic UB9000; Speakers: Revel Ultima Salon 2, Ultima Voice 2, (Surround) W 990, Atmos C763L; Subs: SVS SB-13 Ultras;  Cable: 4K Verizon; Broadcast: Mediasonic HW-150PVR; Wiring: Shunyata; Apple TV,

I was so looking forward to G3.  Bought the 4k disk and boy was I disappointed.  I run an RS 4100 in a 7.2.4 Atmos setup and am turned off by the aspect shifting.  (They should sell the 4k discs without shifting aspect ratios.)  But the video and audio presentation was very good. I loved G2 but this movie was frankly trite and to some degree boring.  The personal interactions in G2 were missing.  But I think at 70 I must not appreciate some of the new movies.

Like Oppenheimer.  My dad was on Mc Arthur's command staff planning the invasion of Japan.  Since Truman didn't trust McArthur he and his staff had very limited knowledge of the bomb.  After some of my dad"s clearance restriction rules ended, he told me a lot about the Manhattan program after the fact.  And challenged me to read a lot about it.  After doing so, I found not only some interesting problems with what was presented in the film.  But I could get ok with that.  I thought it was boring and as I am not a prude by any measure, I found some of the scenes really stupid.  Like the one with his "friend" in the staff meeting with his wife.

Bottom line-I really can't recommend either film. 

I was so looking forward to G3.  Bought the 4k disk and boy was I disappointed.  I run an RS 4100 in a 7.2.4 Atmos setup and am turned off by the aspect shifting.  (They should sell the 4k discs without shifting aspect ratios.)  But the video and audio presentation was very good. I loved G2 but this movie was frankly trite and to some degree boring.  The personal interactions in G2 were missing.  But I think at 70 I must not appreciate some of the new movies.

Like Oppenheimer.  My dad was on Mc Arthur's command staff planning the invasion of Japan.  Since Truman didn't trust McArthur he and his staff had very limited knowledge of the bomb.  After some of my dad"s clearance restriction rules ended, he told me a lot about the Manhattan program after the fact.  And challenged me to read a lot about it.  After doing so, I found not only some interesting problems with what was presented in the film.  But I could get ok with that.  I thought it was boring and as I am not a prude by any measure, I found some of the scenes really stupid.  Like the one with his "friend" in the staff meeting with his wife.

Bottom line-I really can't recommend either film.
Very interesting tidbits regarding Oppenheimer. I take virtually everything out of Hollywood with a grain of salt and do my own research on "fact versus fiction." If anything, the "fiction" films make me do reading on "factual" events, so at least it's pushing me in the right direction to not be so lazy and keep learning new things ;)
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

This is the best so far of the Phase Four Marvel films, but that’s a low bar.


I couldn't have said it better myself. I enjoyed the movie more than I thought I would, but it really didn't break any new ground. It's time for Marvel to take a break and let the audience "want" to watch the next film instead of it being forced upon them.

Great review Scott.
Thanks, David.

I agree with them taking a break.  Between multiple movies per year and all the TV content they've been making, I think they're boring the audience and turning the franchise into a generic commodity.  It doesn't help that the stories they're telling on Disney+ are almost required viewing to get the most out the movies.  That move handicaps the portion of the audience that has no interest in subscribing to yet another streaming service.

Some of the latest movies have been an absolute chore to sit through.  Guardians 3 is better than that, but just not as much fun as it could have been.

They have a real chance to revitalize the brand with the upcoming Fantastic Four movie.  But only if they do it right.  I'd love to place lot of hope on that one but can't help but feel that they're going to mess that story up.  Again.  For the fourth time.

Scott
My Room:  26’-1” X 17’-4” X 10’
Equipment:  Monolith HTP-1 feeding X7 and X9 amps, JVC RS3100, Elite Screens 135"", JBL Studio 590 for L, C, R, W, R, 580s for sides and four SCS8 for tops, JTR Captivator 1400 x 4, Panny DP-UB420K, Toshiba HD-A35. Nvidia Shield, Sonos Connect, MX-780 remote

See Youthman's actual tour of my room here: https://youtu.be/PHEaG2xKVhg

I wrote a review dfor us at: https://discuss.avscience.com/index.php?topic=3725.0

 I agree here. I zsaid that it was a good movie, not an excedptional one.  And it was only for Marvel Movie fans.

Since, I guess, Avengers Ed]ndgame, I have not been a big fan of The Eternals, Black Widow, Black Panther, Ant Man III, Thor Locve and Thunder and Dr.Strange II. I did like Spider-Man No Way Home, but not the streaming series.

You right, this is movie making by the numbers.  And they often don't have real endings.
I enjoyed your earlier theatrical review, Barry, and really appreciated your recap of the original Marvel history of the characters.

Wouldn't it be great if we could see some Lee and Kirby inspired Fantastic Four stories and visuals in the upcoming film? It would require a fresh start, but how fun would it be to Annihilus in the Negative Zone with today's graphics?  This Man This Monster on the big screen!  That's not enough of a story to fill a two hour movie but could be incorporated into a bigger story.

OK, geek rant over.

Scott
My Room:  26’-1” X 17’-4” X 10’
Equipment:  Monolith HTP-1 feeding X7 and X9 amps, JVC RS3100, Elite Screens 135"", JBL Studio 590 for L, C, R, W, R, 580s for sides and four SCS8 for tops, JTR Captivator 1400 x 4, Panny DP-UB420K, Toshiba HD-A35. Nvidia Shield, Sonos Connect, MX-780 remote

See Youthman's actual tour of my room here: https://youtu.be/PHEaG2xKVhg

I was so looking forward to G3.  Bought the 4k disk and boy was I disappointed.  I run an RS 4100 in a 7.2.4 Atmos setup and am turned off by the aspect shifting.  (They should sell the 4k discs without shifting aspect ratios.)  But the video and audio presentation was very good. I loved G2 but this movie was frankly trite and to some degree boring.  The personal interactions in G2 were missing.  But I think at 70 I must not appreciate some of the new movies.

Like Oppenheimer.  My dad was on Mc Arthur's command staff planning the invasion of Japan.  Since Truman didn't trust McArthur he and his staff had very limited knowledge of the bomb.  After some of my dad"s clearance restriction rules ended, he told me a lot about the Manhattan program after the fact.  And challenged me to read a lot about it.  After doing so, I found not only some interesting problems with what was presented in the film.  But I could get ok with that.  I thought it was boring and as I am not a prude by any measure, I found some of the scenes really stupid.  Like the one with his "friend" in the staff meeting with his wife.

Bottom line-I really can't recommend either film.
I'm not a fan of shifting aspect ratios either.  It was director's intent to use varying framing, but it was shot to be safe for 2.39:1, so you can always do like I did and watch it that way.  The digital masking on JVC's projectors works really well for this so there's no bleed-over from the taller shots to fall off of the screen.

That method can be a problem for some subtitled movies where they're hard-encoded into the black bars, but those are rare these days.

I did go back and rewatch parts of the movie in its shifting form, and I just don't get the enthusiasm for it.  I don't see that it adds anything to the movie that couldn't be done with camera framing instead of adding black bars, but some people seem to love it.

Interesting comments about Oppenheimer.  I haven't been as hyped for it as everyone else but do want to see it.

Scott
My Room:  26’-1” X 17’-4” X 10’
Equipment:  Monolith HTP-1 feeding X7 and X9 amps, JVC RS3100, Elite Screens 135"", JBL Studio 590 for L, C, R, W, R, 580s for sides and four SCS8 for tops, JTR Captivator 1400 x 4, Panny DP-UB420K, Toshiba HD-A35. Nvidia Shield, Sonos Connect, MX-780 remote

See Youthman's actual tour of my room here: https://youtu.be/PHEaG2xKVhg

AVSCraig

  • *****
  • 4756
  • Home Theater Lover / Sales / Advice
    • AV Science, Inc
Very interesting tidbits regarding Oppenheimer. I take virtually everything out of Hollywood with a grain of salt and do my own research on "fact versus fiction." If anything, the "fiction" films make me do reading on "factual" events, so at least it's pushing me in the right direction to not be so lazy and keep learning new things ;)
Oppenheimer is based on the well researched book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, which took 25 years to research and write. I thought it was fantastic. The ending is a horror movie. First movie I've seen in a commercial theater since The Martian in Dallas during Cedia 2015. Looking forward to getting the 4K Blu-ray. Another film that changes aspect ratios but I'll just lock the Lumagen at 2.40:1 with my DCR lens on my scope screen. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Prometheus

Looking forward to getting Barbie in 4K - should look insane ( and better than the commercial theater ).
Direct (585) 671-2972 8:00am - 4:30pm Pacific 
www.avscience.com  craig@avscience.com
We carry projectors, screens, speakers, receivers etc. !!
Twitter - @AVS_Craig Sacramento CA area

Barry

  • *****
  • 843
I enjoyed your earlier theatrical review, Barry, and really appreciated your recap of the original Marvel history of the characters.

Wouldn't it be great if we could see some Lee and Kirby inspired Fantastic Four stories and visuals in the upcoming film? It would require a fresh start, but how fun would it be to Annihilus in the Negative Zone with today's graphics?  This Man This Monster on the big screen!  That's not enough of a story to fill a two hour movie but could be incorporated into a bigger story.

OK, geek rant over.

Scott
Scott, you are so right! And FF 51, is really my favourite FF comic!. It came in between the Galactus trilogy and the introduction of the Blac Panther! An issue with no super-villain but a story about characters.  That’s lacking in their later movies.


McIntosh MX170 Controller: Projector JVC DLA-RS4100; Screen: Stuart StudioTek130: Amps: McIntosh MC-611(center),MC1.25KW (lf&rt);  Krell S-1500 Atmos/Surround; 4kDVD Panasonic UB9000; Speakers: Revel Ultima Salon 2, Ultima Voice 2, (Surround) W 990, Atmos C763L; Subs: SVS SB-13 Ultras;  Cable: 4K Verizon; Broadcast: Mediasonic HW-150PVR; Wiring: Shunyata; Apple TV,

Scott, you are so right! And FF 51, is really my favourite FF comic!. It came in between the Galactus trilogy and the introduction of the Blac Panther! An issue with no super-villain but a story about characters.  That’s lacking in their later movies.
Man, I love, love, love that splash page!  Do you own it?

That story was filled with such drama and pathos, it really touched me reading it as a kid.  Those last two panels focused on the solitary you-know-who on the rock after he throws Reed Richards will stick with me forever.

I don't know if the current Marvel filmmakers have it in them to make something that grand.  But, as comic book nerds, we sure can hope, can't we?
My Room:  26’-1” X 17’-4” X 10’
Equipment:  Monolith HTP-1 feeding X7 and X9 amps, JVC RS3100, Elite Screens 135"", JBL Studio 590 for L, C, R, W, R, 580s for sides and four SCS8 for tops, JTR Captivator 1400 x 4, Panny DP-UB420K, Toshiba HD-A35. Nvidia Shield, Sonos Connect, MX-780 remote

See Youthman's actual tour of my room here: https://youtu.be/PHEaG2xKVhg

AVSCraig

  • *****
  • 4756
  • Home Theater Lover / Sales / Advice
    • AV Science, Inc
Re: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023, 4K Ultra HD, GameFly Rental) Review
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2023, 12:19:27 AM »
I was so looking forward to G3.  Bought the 4k disk and boy was I disappointed.  I run an RS 4100 in a 7.2.4 Atmos setup and am turned off by the aspect shifting.  (They should sell the 4k discs without shifting aspect ratios.)  But the video and audio presentation was very good. I loved G2 but this movie was frankly trite and to some degree boring.  The personal interactions in G2 were missing.  But I think at 70 I must not appreciate some of the new movies.

Like Oppenheimer.  My dad was on Mc Arthur's command staff planning the invasion of Japan.  Since Truman didn't trust McArthur he and his staff had very limited knowledge of the bomb.  After some of my dad"s clearance restriction rules ended, he told me a lot about the Manhattan program after the fact.  And challenged me to read a lot about it.  After doing so, I found not only some interesting problems with what was presented in the film.  But I could get ok with that.  I thought it was boring and as I am not a prude by any measure, I found some of the scenes really stupid.  Like the one with his "friend" in the staff meeting with his wife.

Bottom line-I really can't recommend either film.
I locked the movie at 2.40:1 with my Lumagen - no aspect ratio changes at all!
Direct (585) 671-2972 8:00am - 4:30pm Pacific 
www.avscience.com  craig@avscience.com
We carry projectors, screens, speakers, receivers etc. !!
Twitter - @AVS_Craig Sacramento CA area

AVSCraig

  • *****
  • 4756
  • Home Theater Lover / Sales / Advice
    • AV Science, Inc
Re: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023, 4K Ultra HD, GameFly Rental) Review
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2023, 12:24:33 AM »
Finally had a chance to watch this tonight with my wife. We both liked it. I'd give it a " B ", and the 2nd one an A+. The first GOTG I'd probably give a B+. Great picture and sound as expected. 
Direct (585) 671-2972 8:00am - 4:30pm Pacific 
www.avscience.com  craig@avscience.com
We carry projectors, screens, speakers, receivers etc. !!
Twitter - @AVS_Craig Sacramento CA area

bmoney

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  • 2497
Re: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023, 4K Ultra HD, GameFly Rental) Review
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2023, 08:01:58 AM »
I locked the movie at 2.40:1 with my Lumagen - no aspect ratio changes at all!
Gotta love the lumagen!
SadieMax 2,0 Build thread

Nad t758v3 
7.4.4 diysoundgroup 1099's (3) 
Volt 6 (8 ) 
18" SI subs (4) 
diy 130" 2.40 spandex screen
minidsp 2x4HD
JVC rs600
Lumagen radiance pro 4242
Nvidia shield pro
Emby NAS media player

bmoney

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  • 2497
Re: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023, 4K Ultra HD, GameFly Rental) Review
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2023, 08:02:14 AM »
Finally had a chance to watch this tonight with my wife. We both liked it. I'd give it a " B ", and the 2nd one an A+. The first GOTG I'd probably give a B+. Great picture and sound as expected.
Picture and sound on all 3 is top notch 
SadieMax 2,0 Build thread

Nad t758v3 
7.4.4 diysoundgroup 1099's (3) 
Volt 6 (8 ) 
18" SI subs (4) 
diy 130" 2.40 spandex screen
minidsp 2x4HD
JVC rs600
Lumagen radiance pro 4242
Nvidia shield pro
Emby NAS media player

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