When the Guardians of the Galaxy first arrive on Counter-Earth, they land in what looks like a typical, modest suburb. The citizens wear gentle, 1980s-fashionable clothes, drive average cars, and water their lawns. They all just happen to have outsize animal heads. The Guardians end up in the care of a family of bat people who will serve them soda, and who will lend them their car. 

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the suburb of animal people hardly looks unusual, seeing as the series has already traveled to the Quantum Realm, to Mount Olympus, to magical pocket dimensions, and into “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” It’s when the Guardians are in an average-looking living room, drinking blue fluids, and having conversations with bat people that the satire of the scenario leaks through. The High Evolutionary’s Counter-Earth is a twisted parody of Earth, a place where everything looks normal, but something is … off. It’s the same effect one might experience seeing apes on horseback for the first time in “Planet of the Apes.” This is human society, turned on its head. 

Sadly, the animal suburbs section is only a small part of a 150 minute movie, so the true weirdness of the situation doesn’t fully sink in. But it is at least there to be discovered. “Vol. 3” is not “The Guardians Visit Animal World,” but a larger story besides. 

The High Evolutionary himself is also a strange character who seems to wear a mask of human skin and who has a long and storied history in Marvel Comics.