The sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, forgoes family-friendliness in favor of amped up coarse language, intense violence, objectionable content and mixed pagan worldview.
When ragtag misfits comprised of B-team of Marvel characters reached the box office stratosphere to the tune of $771 million in 2014, fans have been counting down for a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel.
Three summers later, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 finally touches down with so much hype and expectations that the film earned an extremely rare 100 percent in a test screening earlier this year.
So was it worth the wait? Yes and no.
Launching the summer movie season, the film is bigger, more epic and funnier that the original. Currently sporting an 81 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film is laugh-out-loud funny in several parts, with warrior muscleman Drax (Dave Bautista) and smart-mouth, ex-mercenary Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) providing some of the best comedic lines. Unfortunately, the duo also frequently employ sexual jokes, while being rude and crass. Additionally, there are more classic 1970s and early 1980s music cues (George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord”), as well as video game-like special effects plus five post-credit scenes.
Unfortunately, it’s disappointingly not family-friendly because the movie is loaded with coarse language (about 40 curse words), intense violence (the brutal death of approximately 50 men), objectionable content (scantily-clad robot prostitutes) and mixed pagan worldview (a self-proclaimed god who impregnates many female species).
Christian families will definitely want to exercise strong caution with taking children under the age of 13 to see the latest Marvel blockbuster, which is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive content.
On the upside, Guardians Vol. 2 film espouses friendship, sisterly love, self-sacrifice, humility, and the importance of family and being a good father.
The film begins with the Guardians–Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), reformed assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax, the tree humanoid Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Rocket–protecting valuable batteries for a gold-covered people called the Sovereign.
Unfortunately, after their job is finished, Rocket pilfers some of the batteries from the Sovereign. This infuriates Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), the Sovereign’s high priestess who dispatches her warriors to kill the Guardians.
On the run, the team crash lands their severely damaged space ship. The Guardians are then found by a man named Ego (Kurt Russell), who reveals himself to be Peter’s father as well as a celestial or god. From the first film, it was revealed that Peter was born from a human mother on earth. Peter, Drax, and Gamora leave behind Groot, Rocket and Gamora’s bionic adoptive sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) in order to go with Ego to check out his planet and discover Peter’s lineage.
In the meantime, blue-faced Yondu (Michael Rooker), the Ravager outlaw who kidnapped Peter from earth as a child and reared him is overthrown and imprisoned by a mutiny from his space crew. But before the mutiny, Groot and Rocket were apprehended by the Ravagers, so the three of them plot to escape.
Initially, Ego comes across as a father seeking to reunite and bond with his son—they even play catch with cosmic ball. Peter welcomes having a seemingly nice father figure in his life, but Ego’s alien servant, Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Drax and Gamora are suspicious that Ego has something sinister up his sleeve.
Although the film is non-family friendly, ironically, the movie heavily emphasizes family relationships. For starters, the team often refer to each other as family.
“All we do is yell at each other!” Nebula tells Gamora. “We’re not friends!”
To which, Drax responds: “No … we are family.”
Additionally, Peter must deal with whether to connect and follow his too-good-to-be-true natural father or embrace his flawed, surrogate father.
“He may have been your father, Quill, but he wasn’t your daddy,” Yondu tells Peter in one of the several surprising touching moments among family members.
Also, Gamora and Nebulla have to work through their long-running, hate-hate relationship.
“The first Guardians was about learning to love other people for people who didn’t know how to do it,” director James Gunn has said about Guardians Vol. 2. “The second movie has a lot to do with learning how to be loved by other people.”
That may be the case, but it doesn’t come across as love because there’s a lot of name-calling expletives thrown about repeatedly among the Guardians. Colossians 3:8 says, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” That doesn’t apply in Guardians Vol. 2.
Additionally, there’s a lot of dead bodies in this sequel, including when Yondu brutally kills about 50 men in a scene that is meant to be comical.
Bottom line: Guardians Vol. 2. is definitely as entertaining as the first, but it will also make Christians cringe more than the original. Say it ain’t so, Baby Groot!
Photo credit: Marvel Studios