HOLLYWOOD—I enjoyed the first installment in the Marvel franchise, “Guardians of the Galaxy.” This group of kooky characters which consisted of Peter Quill aka Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper), Groot (voice of Vin Diesel) and Drax (Dave Bautista) was something not seen before. Fast-forward to its 2017 sequel that was a mixed bag. It wasn’t terrible, but not as impressive as the first outing because of a lackluster villain. Now we have the third and final installment, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” and all those characters are back, plus plenty more which we’ll talk about.

I really wanted to enjoy this movie, but the biggest problem I had is that there is just too much taking place. Sometimes bigger is not always better and this sequel proves that. The biggest problem is you have to accommodate way too many characters, which takes away from the narrative and gives you a story that feels disconnected, which is what it feels like here. Now what I did appreciate from writer and director James Gunn is the focal point of getting an origin story for Rocket (voice of Cooper). I love Rocket. The character is one of a kind and iconic and we kind of learn what makes him tick, how he came to be and his overall tale in general.

That is where that movie kicks off and we learn that he was part of an experiment courtesy of the High Evolutionary portrayed by Chukwudi Iwuji. Iwuji brings a frantic energy to the villain role. He comes across annoying, but also fascinating at times, but then there are those moments of cheesiness that takes the threat level of the character out of the mix. He reminded me of that guy in “The Matrix: Reloaded” who gave out frantic energy as he tried to eliminate our protagonists. I wanted a more nuanced villain.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” kicks off with a massive punch as our heroes are under attack by Adam (Will Poulter), who portrays an intergalactic being that attacks our heroes critically wounding Rocket in the process. His pals do his best to rescue his life, but realize a kill switch embedded in him is a massive issue and it’s a journey to reach the High Evolutionary and Orgocorp’s headquarters to override the kill code to rescue Rocket. Simply put this is Rocket’s movie people.

The problem is getting from the beginning to the end is a journey. The pacing of the film is off, which clocks in a little over 2 hours and 30 minutes. About 30 minutes of the movie could have been trimmed off, which would have massively improved the pacing and the narrative to where you don’t have moments of disinterest. Hate to say it, but I dozed off in the middle of the second act, right before we enter the third act. However, once we’re in the third act, I was all in. The action exploded, the chaos was fun and we got some finality to where Gunn was planning to end the journey of these characters.

I just didn’t love that I didn’t know who was the true villain in this flick because it seemed at times we had a different villain rather it was Adam, Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), War Pig (voice of Judy Greer) or the High Revolutionary. There was just too much in and out of the characters, and I just wanted a focal point, where I did not have to keep track of so many characters. I wanted to focus on my core with a few more here and there, not so many I could not process what was taking place. If the characters were memorable, that would be one thing, but they are not.

The ending of the movie is great and gives off finality; this is it for the characters. Could we see them come back in a few years? This is Hollywood people so of course we can see a reboot of another trilogy in this series down the line. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” swings strong, but doesn’t give that uppercut that leaves fans satisfied to the core.