Story

Guardians of the Galaxy opens with the death of the young Peter Quill’s mother, followed by his abduction in an alien spacecraft.

The movie then jumps forward 26 years. Peter (Chris Pratt) is now a soldier of fortune on the planet Morag, where he is searching for an ancient and mysterious object called the Orb. Quill finds the Orb and escapes after a shootout with aliens who also want it. When Quill tries to sell the Orb on a distant planet, he ends up being arrested along with a female humanoid alien called Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a talking raccoon named Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper) and a creature called Groot (voice of Vin Diesel). These three aliens had intended to steal the Orb from Quill. 

In prison, Quill, Gamora, Rocket and Groot are befriended by a muscle-bound blue alien called Drax (Dave Bautista). Drax has a personal grudge against an intergalactic warlord named Ronan (Lee Pace), who is seeking the Orb for his own evil purposes. Drax hopes that Quill and his friends will lead him to Ronan. 

Quill and his companions escape from prison and head to a space station, where they plan to sell the Orb to an alien called the Collector. The Collector tells Quill and his companions that the Orb contains an Infinity Stone, an ancient and powerful weapon that can destroy entire worlds. Quill then decides that the stone is too dangerous to be sold to anyone. With his four companions, he decides to take the stone to Nova headquarters, where Ronan can’t get it. But this won’t be easy.

Themes

Loss of a parent; aliens; alien abduction; devices of mass destruction

Violence

Guardians of the Galaxy contains intense sequences of action violence and peril, including multiple deaths and mass destruction of property. There is minimal blood and gore, however. For example:

  • Aliens battle each other with laser beams. Some scenes involve large laser cannons firing at and destroying spaceships, resulting in massive explosions.
  • In one of the movie’s most brutal scenes, a man is strapped to a stone chair designed for torture. A humanoid raises a massive sledgehammer and brings it down on the man’s head (the actual hammer strike occurs off screen). Blood from the slain man runs down channels carved into the stone floor.
  • Several scenes show stylised fighting between male and female humanoid aliens and a man. They punch and kick each other’s heads, faces and bodies. Some stylised fights also involve the use of bladed weapons.
  • An alien woman rips off her own cybernetic hand when it becomes trapped.
  • A humanoid female alien uses a sword-like weapon to repeatedly wound an alien tree-like creature. The woman cuts off the creature’s arms, which quickly grow back.
  • An alien is killed with a knife. Yellow blood sprays from the creature’s wound.
  • A creature with branch-like fingers sticks them up another creature’s nose, where they keep growing. There is the sound of bone and cartilage ripping apart, and the second creature falls to the ground crying and whimpering. In another scene the tree creature stabs an alien in the chest with its hand. The dying alien spews up green vomit.
  • An alien talks about killing a young girl’s parents in front of her, torturing her and then turning her into a weapon.
  • A group of aliens disintegrates in a gigantic explosion. Flames engulf a woman’s body.
  • An alien uses his mind to control an arrow with which he kills dozens of enemies.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Guardians of the Galaxy has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • There are many alien creatures that might scare younger children. Many of the humanoid aliens have coloured skin and scars over their faces and bodies. Some have faces like insects, metal implants or needle-like teeth.
  • Groot is a tree-like creature and can regrow severed limbs or grow weapons from his branch-like fingers.
  • Rocket is a walking, talking raccoon with multiple cybernetic implants in his back.
  • Several scenes show dinosaur-like creatures.
  • One scene shows a large serpent-like creature with a mouth full of long pointed fangs.
  • A gigantic severed alien head floats in space, and we hear that other aliens mine organic matter from the head.
  • One scene shows a humanoid alien’s broken body lying on the ground. His legs and arms lie at strange angles. There are sounds of bones breaking, and the alien’s body regenerates. The alien straightens his own broken limbs.

From 5-8
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, Guardians of the Galaxy has one emotionally intense scene that might particularly disturb children in this age group.

The young Peter stands next to his dying mother’s hospital bed. His mother is bald and looks very skinny and sick. She reaches out to hold Peter’s hand, but he refuses to take her hand and turns away. A few seconds later she dies. Peter screams out in despair and runs out of the hospital and into a fog-filled night.

A bright beam of light shines down on to Peter and an alien spacecraft hovers above him. The spacecraft sucks him up and flies off.

From 8-13
Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Over 13
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Sexual references

Guardians of the Galaxy has some sexual references. For example:

  • A man suggests that a woman should trade sexual favours with prisoners to get what she and he need to escape from prison.
  • Quill talks about being wounded by a jealous girlfriend for cheating on her.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Guardians of the Galaxy shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Men stand around a gambling table holding drinks. In the same scene Rocket drinks alcohol and acts drunkenly. 
  • Humanoid aliens drink alcohol and act in a mildly drunken way.

Nudity and sexual activity

Guardians of the Galaxy has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • Peter Quill tries to kiss Gamora, but she presses a knife to his throat.
  • Female characters wear tight-fitting and brief clothing.

Product placement

There is no product placement of concern in Guardians of the Galaxy itself, but merchandise associated with the movie is being marketed to children.

Coarse language

Guardians of the Galaxy has some mild-medium coarse language and some name-calling throughout.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Guardians of the Galaxy is a Marvel Comics action adventure, targeting older teenagers and adult fans of science fiction movies. The movie is likely to entertain its target audience with action scenes, special effects, lots of humour and a soundtrack of 1970s classics.

The movie’s M rating is appropriate, however. It has many violent and disturbing scenes and scary characters, which makes it unsuitable for children under 13 years and some older children. We recommend parental guidance for younger teenagers who might want to see this movie.

These are the main messages from Guardians of the Galaxy:

  • You can achieve great things by working with others rather than by yourself.
  • Friends can become like family.