Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 Parent Review

This sequel adds a slightly crueler tinge to the action violence, than that depicted in the first Guardians movie.

Overall C

The Guardians of the Galaxy continue their adventures in this sequel. This time the plot centers around unraveling the mysteries behind Peter Quill's (Chris Pratt) true parentage.

Violence D
Sexual Content C+
Profanity C+
Substance Use B

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive content.

Movie Review

Classic tunes from the 1980s rock the soundtrack again in this sequel to the 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy. The first movie’s origin story of this group of space renegades was a surprise hit with both Marvel comic aficionados and newcomers like myself. Along with the music and a priority on humor, we were introduced to a cast of misfits that were easy to love and root for.

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In volume two, there is the immediate assumption we know these guys and are in on the jokes. (Yes, viewing the first episode is mandatory homework.) However, the original provided much more opportunity for humor and hijinks. Now the Guardians feel a little more like a sports team that accidentally made it to the playoffs. The plot explodes into various parallel stories about past rifts between family members and friends, and forges forward to predictably resolve differences. It’s a lot to fit into even the two-hour-plus running time, especially when we spend what feels like eons in battle scenes that are dependent on catchy tunes to keep us engaged.

The humor is wedged in between squabbles and the resulting laughs feeling less natural. 1980s kitsch, like an ongoing gag about David Hasselhoff, and sexual innuendo that comes off as immature grade-school speculation of whether an alien has male anatomy, are some of many overworked topics. You’ll also hear a few scatological terms and other profanities.

Yet it will likely be the violent content that causes careful consideration of the film’s appropriateness for younger audiences. Like what was found in the original Guardians, this film also adds a slightly crueler tinge when characters are bullied and even tortured by a wide variety of bad guys using everything from Tasers to forced confinement. A scene with the now tiny Groot being knocked around and drowned in booze by a gang of drunks is particularly bothersome. In addition, the countless portrayals of stabbing and impaling include some tissue damage and other explicit elements.

Parents may appreciate the messages of reconciliation and coming together as a family, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 depends too heavily on violent action in its storyline and has lost some of the sincere charm of the first outing.

Directed by James Gunn. Starring Karen Gillan, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana . Running time: 136 minutes. Theatrical release May 5, 2017. Updated

Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 here.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 Parents Guide

This movie explores relationships between family members and friends. When one character determines to save the life of a person he has been fighting with, he says the reason he’s doing it is to prove he’s a better fighter. What motivates you to do something compassionate for someone else? Are selfish motives bad if the outcome is positive?

The Guardians of the Galaxy franchise depends on references to popular culture from the 1980s to generate much of its humor. Why do we find culture from previous periods humorous? What clothes, styles, music or other media are we fascinated by today that will appear just as ridiculous in thirty years?

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