I was pretty excited when Marvel announced the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Not only was the MCU now embracing some lesser known characters alongside Captain America, Thor, and the Hulk, but it would be exploring Marvel’s cosmic side (i.e., my favorite side). Now, nearly ten years later, we’ve got the final Guardians movie, and it’s very much a farewell to the MCU’s scrappiest characters. Much of it’s focused on Rocket’s traumatic past — and I do mean traumatic, with some of the MCU’s darkest material to date. It is affecting at times, as the various Guardians arrive at the conclusions of their arcs — and not everyone arrives at the same place, giving the movie a gentle bittersweetness that I appreciated. Considering that the post-Endgame MCU has yet to develop any real narrative momentum (a fact that isn’t helped by the multiple assault allegations now facing its new BBEG), Volume 3 really feels like the end of an era. But even with James Gunn’s anarchic energy on full display, Volume 3 still feels like it’s checking off boxes, even — and especially — during its most emotional moments. Which is probably an indictment of the last decade’s superhero glut as much as anything.