Guardians of the Galaxy

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Poster Image
Marvel's sci-fi adventure has it all: laughs, action, charm.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 122 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 73 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 187 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & representations

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written by40andFabulous August 8, 2014

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 goin... Continue reading
Adult Written byDan G. August 1, 2014

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... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMrHauska August 12, 2014

Great film, might not be right for younger audiences though.

This is a film where a group of criminals in space help each other out to save the universe from a villain. It's a well made film with amazing effects, co... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old August 2, 2014

What you should know about Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy is a great movie,but has bad words in it.I recommend this movie for everyone 6 and up as long as parents know people do talk that way wh... Continue reading

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?

This movie is truly a lot of fun. 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.

Talk to your kids 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

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love superheroes

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate