Story

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 begins with a flashback to 1980. A young man and woman, obviously in love, are driving along the open road. In the next scene, the man and woman are standing in a forest with the man holding an alien device that emits tendrils of light and energy. The man places the device on the floor of the forest and the tendrils of light and energy appear to grow into the ground like tree roots.

The story moves forward 30 years. The Guardians of the Galaxy – Peter Quill/Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (voice of Vin Diesel) – are guarding precious power batteries for a race of golden aliens called the Sovereign. The Guardians have it on good authority that an interdimensional, energy-sucking beast will try to steal the Sovereign’s batteries. When the beast comes through the dimensional portal, the Guardians are waiting and a ferocious battle erupts. The Guardians defeat the beast, but Rocket steals the very batteries the Guardians were meant to protect. This results in the full wrath of the Sovereign coming down on the Guardians. Just as the Sovereign are about to annihilate the Guardians, an unknown ship appears and attacks the Sovereign, destroying all their ships. The Guardians’ rescuer is Peter’s long-lost father Ego (Kurt Russel), a celestial being who has been searching for Peter. Ego wants to take Peter to his home, a planet entirely of his own making.

At this point the story splits into several directions with some Guardians travelling with Peter while others go off on their own adventures involving their old friend Yondu (Michael Rooker). On Ego’s planet Peter and his friends meet a mysterious female alien named Mantis (Pom Klementieff), who has empathic powers. But all is not as it appears and the Guardians are once again called upon to step up and save the lives of every being in the galaxy. 

Themes

Alien and celestial life forms; family relationships; sibling rivalry; diversity; child abuse/mutilation; ethics and codes of honour; exile and exclusion; genocide; patricide

Violence

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has extended sequences of intense science fiction action, violence and peril throughout. These include violence related to guns and hand weapons, mass violent alien deaths, murders and injuries, and the occasional depiction of alien blood and gore. It also includes occasional comical and slapstick violence.

For example:

  • A single large ship and dozens of smaller ships have a space battle. They exchange laser fire and several of the smaller ships explode in flames, but we learn that these were controlled remotely and there was no loss of life. The larger ship flies into a field of flaming asteroids with dozens of smaller ships in close pursuit. The larger ship dodges the flaming asteroids while numerous smaller ships explode in flames as they collide with asteroids. After more explosions the ship crashes on a planet.
  • A woman says to a man that if his father turns out to be evil, they can kill him.
  • One woman tells another woman that if she tries to touch her, the only thing the other woman will feel is a broken face. 
  • A woman says that she wanted to hurt her father like a dog and kill him piece by piece.
  • Dozens of alien warriors are shot by hundreds of small poisonous darts. We see dozens of darts sticking out of the faces and bodies of the alien warriors just before they collapse to the ground.
  • An explosion hurls many alien warriors high in the air. We see the event in slow motion before the warriors all tumble down. The act is repeated several times with warriors thrown into the air each time.
  • A racoon-like alien creature attaches devices to the heads of several dozen warriors and then activates the devices. This electrocutes the warriors, and tendrils of electricity/lightning bolts connect each of the warriors.
  • Two warriors drag a man with a bloody mouth along the ground and throw him into an airlock. The man is sucked out into space, where his skin changes colour and takes on a petrified appearance as he floats in space. A background shot shows dozens of other men floating dead in space.
  • Two humanoid alien sisters have an extended stylised fight that includes the use of swords. They punch, kick, strangle, stab and slash each other. When one sister falls off a cliff, the other sister rescues her, pulling her to safety.
  • An alien woman describes how she had been abused and mutilated by her father, who had her eye pulled out and her brain pulled from her skull. The alien woman says that every time she failed, her father would take a part of her and replace it with a mechanical part.
  • A celestial being describes how he intends to destroy all life in the galaxy so that he can recreate the galaxy as he sees fit.
  • When enraged, a man tries to kill his own father by repeatedly shooting him until only an animated skeleton remains.
  • A man attacks his father by smashing him with a large rock. The man brings the rock down on top of his father, but no blood or gore is shown. The man and his father, who both have super powers, fight and throw each other through the air.
  • A giant brain that lies at the centre of a planet is destroyed by an explosion, which causes the planet to disintegrate in flames. 
  • In an emotionally intense scene, a man sacrifices his life to save another man’s life. To escape an exploding planet, one man gives another man a protective suit and then lifts the man from the surface of the planet and flings him into space. The first man dies in the vacuum of space.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has many scenes and characters that could scare or disturb children under five years. In particular, the movie has many scary-looking humanoid alien characters. For example:

  • Muscle-bound, blue-skinned alien men have scar-covered faces and bodies. Their mouths are full of broken and jagged teeth.
  • An alien has an electronic device that looks like a rooster’s comb embedded in the top of his head. At one point, the comb is violently knocked from the top of the man’s head, revealing a smoking hole with protruding wires on top.
  • A female alien character has green skin and decorative facial scars. One female alien character is a cyborg with a patchwork of different materials for her face and head. Her eyes are large black orbs and her arms are mechanical.
  • A female alien has slug-like facial features, large black orbs for eyes and antennas on the top of her forehead.
  • A race of aliens has gold skin and hair.
  • One muscle-bound humanoid alien has a bald head and red-patterned scarring covering his entire torso.

From 5-8
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has some scenes that could scare or disturb children aged 5-8 years. For example:

  • An alien with a human appearance is repeatedly shot by a laser, which burns away the flesh and reveals the skeleton beneath. The skeleton, which has some muscles attached to it, is engulfed in flame but walks around as if uninjured.
  • A man catches fire and burns in an explosion. His face looks like a mass of burned flesh.
  • One scene shows the crew of a space ship with their faces and heads physically distorting, changing shape, reforming and then changing shape again.
  • An alien man with a face covered in scars squashes a large spider on a post, picks it up and eats it. We hear crunching sounds as the alien eats the spider. Black gore runs out of the alien’s mouth.
  • Hundreds of thousands of human and alien skulls are piled up like a mountain.
  • A human character is impaled through the chest with a spike of energy that tethers him to a machine designed to harness his power. Tendrils of light go through into the man’s head and the man is lifted up into the air and attached to a machine like a human battery.
  • A giant human-like, pulsating, electrified brain sits in a network of electrified spider webs at the centre of a planet.
  • One scene shows an extended and intense battle between the Guardians and a dinosaur-sized interdimensional creature, which is very scary and deadly. The creature has a gigantic gaping mouth filled with many rows of large pointy teeth. It also has many tentacles, which it uses to ensnare the Guardians, lift them up into the air and smash them against the ground. This is sometimes done in a funny and slapstick way.
  • The beast repeatedly vomits blue energy fire at the Guardians. This causes explosions and destruction. The Guardians fly around on booster rockets, firing their own laser weapons at the beast.
  • A Guardian runs at the creature, leaps into the creature’s mouth and is swallowed whole. The next scene shows the Guardian inside the creature’s stomach hacking at its insides with two large knives.
  • Another Guardian leaps at the creature’s throat and impales the creature with a sword. She slides down the creature’s neck dragging her sword behind her while slicing open the creature’s throat.
  • Copious amounts of green slime and blood gush out of the wound as the creature collapses to the ground. No Guardians are injured.
  • A man and woman in spacesuits jump out of the back of a spaceship to fix damage done to the ship. While they’re tethered to the ship, they’re violently dragged along through space. 

From 8-13
The violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above could scare or disturb children aged 8-13 years.

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has several covert and overt sexual references throughout. For example:

  • When a muscle-bound warrior is asked why he isn’t wearing a rocket pack, he responds that he can’t because he has sensitive nipples.
  • An alien woman explains how her race is made in birthing pods (with no sexual activity). A human man responds that he prefers the old-fashioned way (with sexual activity). The alien woman asks the man if he could give her a demonstration for academic purposes. The man says, ‘Gladly’. In a later scene the man apologises to another alien woman, saying that he wasn’t flirting with the first woman.
  • A male alien is talking about not doing an activity and says, ‘It would make my nether regions engorged’.
  • An alien woman says to a human man and an alien man, ‘Either of you could have flown us through the asteroid field had you flown with your head rather than what’s between your legs’. The human man says, ‘If what’s between my legs had a hand on it, I guarantee I could have landed this ship’.
  • An alien woman with empathic abilities tells a man that he has romantic sexual feelings for another woman.
  • A celestial being is asked if he made a penis for himself. He says, ‘Yes I have a penis and all the accompanying junk’.
  • A human man and an alien woman talk about having sexual feelings for each other.
  • An alien man says to an alien woman, ‘I’m sorry but I need a woman with some meat on her bones’.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 shows some use of substances. For example, there are a couple of bar scenes in which we see brief images of humanoids drinking alcohol.

Nudity and sexual activity

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has occasional very mild sexual activity and images related to sexual activity. For example:

  • In a couple of scenes a man and a woman kiss passionately on the mouth.
  • Human and alien men appear with bare muscle-bound chests.
  • Women wear revealing low-cut tops and bikini-style underwear in a sensual way.
  • A man is standing in a room, while a woman dressed as a prostitute is in the background. The man, who is bare chested, is fastening his belt, suggesting that he has just had sex. The prostitute touches the side of her head and switches herself off as if she’s an android. The suggestion is that she’s a sexual toy or sex doll. The scene shows dozens of alien men with their arms around the waists of similar android sex dolls.
  • A celestial being tells how he made it his purpose to impregnate as many alien women as he could to pass on his powers. We see images of a heavily pregnant human woman as well as many heavily pregnant alien women. They’ve all been impregnated by the celestial being. 

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has some medium-level coarse language and name-calling throughout. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a science fiction, action and adventure movie that targets teenagers, adults and fans of Marvel Comics. The movie contains some classic music tracks from the 1970s as well as lots of action and stunning CGI. Vol. 2 spends more time on character development than the first movie, with each of the main characters given their own storylines within the main story. This means the movie shifts between many stories. In general, Vol. 2 is as good as Vol. 1 and should easily entertain its intended audience.

These are the main messages from this movie:

  • There’s nothing wrong with being like everybody else, and there’s no need to be special.
  • Sometimes what people are searching for their entire lives is right in front of them, and they just haven’t seen it.
  • We all need a purpose to give our lives meaning.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the following:

  • Selflessness: all of the Guardians are prepared to sacrifice their lives for each other or the ‘greater good’.
  • The need to belong to a family: the Guardians think of themselves as having a closer bond than friendship, and they all believe they’re family rather than friends.
  • Codes of honour: some of the movie’s characters live by a code of honour, which is never broken.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like the importance of finding a purpose in life, what this involves and how it relates to a happy and healthy life.