Guardians of the Galaxy

  • Review Date: August 1, 2014
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 122 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Marvel's sci-fi adventure has it all: laughs, action, charm.
  • Review Date: August 1, 2014
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 122 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

As in most superhero movies, there's a positive underlying message about teamwork, friendship, and helping others -- even if the characters' motivations and actions aren't always 100 percent pure.

Positive role models

The Guardians are all flawed (they're outlaws for a reason), but they ultimately make selfless decisions to protect one another and defend the universe.

Violence

Lots of hand-to-hand combat, fist fights, explosions, and shoot outs with what look like stun guns that incapacitate but don't kill. But characters do die, and in a couple of cases, the deaths are heartbreaking (spoiler alert: one starts off the movie and involves the sad loss of a parent, and the other is only temporary). In a couple of other scenes, it looks like characters have been killed, but they end up OK. There's not much gore and blood, but an entire fleet of fighter pilots dies in an explosion, and there's collateral damage as the villain tries to destroy a planet. 

Sex

Cues and comments that Peter has been with lots of women across the galaxy, as well as references to his past exploits, like a joke about "black light" picking up how filthy his ship is or another about him referred to as "one who lain with [alien creature]." Continued sexual tension between Peter and Gamora, who almost kiss more than once. Rocket suggests that because the prisoners find Gamora attractive, she should "trade" favors for what they need to escape.

Language

Occasional strong language includes "s--t," "bulls--t," "damn," "d--k," "a--hole," "bitch," "idiot," "bastard," "crap," "prick," "jackass," and "whore." One scene features a prominent/extended middle-finger gesture.

Consumerism

Brands seen include Sony and Jansport. This is also part of a franchise with vast quantities of tie-in merchandise.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The Guardians drink unnamed liquid and act drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Guardians of the Galaxy is a Marvel Comics-based sci-fi action adventure about a group of misfit outlaws who band together to defend the universe against a murderous villain. There's violence, but it's mostly hand-to-hand combat and a few deaths (or near deaths) that are heartbreaking for other characters and viewers alike (one involves a child's loss of a parent), in addition to grand-scale action violence with explosions and weapons. There are references to Peter's reputation as a ladies' man and jokes about his past conquests; Peter and Gamora also have a lot of chemistry and almost kiss a couple of times. Language isn't frequent but includes "s--t," "bulls--t," "bitch," "ass," "bastard," and "d--k"; at one point, the Guardians also drink an unidentified liquid that makes them drunk. With a little less edge than Iron Man or The Avengers, this adventure is a good fit for a slightly younger crowd than some other superhero movies, especially since it encourages teamwork and friendship.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY follows American pilot Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), who was abducted from Earth as a child in 1988 after his mother died. Fast forward 26 years into the future: In a galaxy far, far away, Peter is a rogue outlaw who steals a powerful orb he plans to sell. After getting arrested, Quill reluctantly teams up with a group of criminals he's briefly imprisoned with -- Rocket, a genetically modified raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper); Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the adopted daughter of the most dangerous being in the universe; tree-like Groot (Vin Diesel); and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), who's on a personal mission to avenge his family. The fate of the universe lies in the hands of these misfit not-quite-friends when it's clear that the villainous Ronan (Lee Pace) plans to use the orb to destroy an entire planet.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The Marvel universe includes a wide array of heroes, from playboy billionaire Tony Stark and the arrogant god Thor to serious, duty-bound Steve Rogers and broody scientist Bruce Banner. What's so charming about Guardians of the Galaxy is that none of the group starts off as a hero: They become superheroes by virtue of working together. Director James Gunn has perfectly cast the comedy adventure with Pratt, whose leading-man charm is finally on display after years of being the spot-on supporting player on Parks and Recreation; he carries the action with a hilarious mix of Han Solo-meets-Mal Reynolds overconfidence and good humor. The entire group is beautifully cast, and there's surprising chemistry between Pratt and Saldana, who once again shines as a monochrome-colored alien. And Cooper and Diesel sound like they're having the time of their lives playing the supergenius raccoon Rocket and his muscle, Groot, who can only ever say "I am Groot."

Everything from the fantastic soundtrack (populated by Peter's beloved mix tape, a catchy playlist of his mother's favorite songs, like "Hooked on a Feeling," "Spirit in the Sky," and "O-O-H Child") to the wink-wink pop-culture jokes, the thrilling action sequences, and the overall theme makes Guardians of the Galaxy a joy to watch. As in The Avengers, the main actors mesh well, the villain is imposingly played, and the intergalactic stakes couldn't be higher. The movie ends on an obviously open note to make room for a possible sequel, and there's really no way you could sit through it without being hopeful there will be a follow up, just to have that much fun in a theater again.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of Marvel adaptations. Why do you think comic books make for such good and well-received movies? Are all movies inspired by comic books created equal? Why do some stand out?

  • How does Guardians of the Galaxy compare to other superhero stories? Do you prefer hero movies with just one star, or do you think the ensemble styles are better, like The Avengers?

  • Are the Guardians role models? Are some of them "worthier" of respect and admiration than others? Why or why not?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 1, 2014
DVD release date:December 9, 2014
Cast:Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
Director:James Gunn
Studio:Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Superheroes, Adventures, Friendship, Space and aliens
Run time:122 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language

This review of Guardians of the Galaxy was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous August 1, 2014
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Surprising depth

"Guardians of the Galaxy" was reasonably funny and got plenty of laughs. Lots of eighties references and jokes. What really made it interesting to watch though was the surprising depth. The opening scene was beautifully emotional. Every character had an interesting and tragic story. Rocket in particular had a complex and three-dimensional character who very much came to life on screen. He had amazing depth not often seen in any genre let alone action movies. I have noticed that common sense media was mistaken about one particular plot detail: the death at the end of the movie of one of the lead characters (my personal favorite) was not temporary at all. The movie had surprising and heartbreaking integrity. SPOILER ALERT: the dead character was Groot, and rather than bring Groot back a "son" was created by planting one of his twigs in pot. We can only hope that in any sequels the writers will have the integrity to differentiate Groot Jr. from Groot.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent Written byDan G. August 1, 2014
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

Good movie, but much objectionable material unfortunately

The movie is very entertaining, but to call it a childrens' movie is to ignore significant content that really should not be in a family movie. Besides a considerable amount of physical violence, there is some obscured nudity, multiple occasions of crude language, as well as a scene in which a character gives the finger.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written by40andFabulous August 8, 2014
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

80% violence. 12% cursing/crude humor. 5% semi funny stuff. 3% cute.

I checked the common sense media review before allowing my nearly 10 and 12 year old sons to see this film. I knew, based on what I had read, the movie was going to include more violence and strong language than I would have preferred, but based on the last sentence of the common sense review, "...this adventure is a good fit for a slightly younger crowd than some other superhero movies, especially since it encourages teamwork and friendship", I agreed to take them. I am very sorry I did. There were a few cute moments in the film, but overall, it was nothing but excessive violence and crude humor. (Grabbing private parts, unnecessary use of words like "di**", a$$hole, shi*, bullshi*, prick, bastard, bitch, whore, etc.) In my opinion, the film would be more suited for older teens and adults. If you are considering taking younger children, consider yourself warned and don't let that cute little raccoon fool you.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent of a 10 and 12 year old Written byjennifers1 August 17, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Whoa....language!

Yes, I should have did a search or two online before I took my almost 11 year old to see this movie. The commercial gave me the impression it was light & cute, perfect for a 10 year old but I was wrong. Very violent & OMG I was shocked at the language & the way they talked about death & dying over and over and over again. This was appropriately rated PG-13 and kids should be at least 13 to see this.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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