Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 review: How does it impact Infinity War?

3 of 4

What didn’t work?

This is going to be a contentious take, but one of the only weaknesses of the movie is also one of its strengths.

For better or worse, the presence of Groot and Rocket make this film series one of the most popular with kids among the Marvel properties. Which is one of the very reasons people doubted the Guardians concept could be translated to the big screen.  Critics questioned, understandably so, if this group could be taken seriously?

The solution, of course, was to mix a lighthearted vibe with an absurd sense of humor and defiantly weird sets and situations. Guardians doesn’t shy away from its peculiarity; it embraces it. A temperamental raccoon, a talking plant, a smart-mouthed drifter, and a couple of ferocious alien warriors form a super team and protect the cosmos. Deal with it. Fun for the whole family!

Except it isn’t. Not really.

Despite its cartoonish cast, Guardians of the Galaxy  Vol 2 isn’t a movie for kids. In fact, its likely the least accessible film in the MCU for younger audience members.

This movie is saturated with sexual jokes and violence. Ridiculous sex and violence perhaps, but its there all the same–prevalent and unavoidable. Can you name the most gratuitously violent and brutal sequence in the MCU? If you said the relentless slaughter of space pirates by Yondu and his whistle arrow, you are absolutely correct. Is the scene brilliant? Without a doubt. But it is also savage as that one curse word they don’t use in this movie.

Now, this isn’t a problem exactly. It’s quite purposeful, actually. To balance their ludicrousness, the Guardians, besides being outfitted with a collection of outlandish weapons, are also armed with the most adult senses of humor of all the Marvel heroes. They need these mature facets to entertain the grown-up members of the audience. It’s why we love the films–the juxtaposition of preposterous adventure and scathing, reality-based wit.

But, as a result, this is the only Marvel film my eight-year old son hasn’t seen.

We made it about a third of the way through, and then left the theater because I just didn’t feel it was appropriate, something I have never felt in another (PG-13) superhero film.

Now I adore the movie, as you can tell from the first slide in this series, and I’m certainly not a prude. I also realize that this film doesn’t have any more of a responsibility than any other to protect younger members of its viewing population.

But you can’t walk down a toy aisle without seeing a dozen baby Groots and a smattering of fully-armed Rocket Raccoon action figures. Marvel can’t have it both ways with this franchise. At some point they may need to pick a preferred audience instead of straddling the fence between lewd, entertaining adult humor and harmless oddball space adventure.