Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer
Are we alone in the universe? Answer
Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer
questions and answers about the origin of life
Chris Pratt … Peter Quill / Star-Lord, half-human, half-alien leader of the Guardians
Zoe Saldana … Gamora
Dave Bautista … Drax the Destroyer
Vin Diesel … Baby Groot (voice)
Bradley Cooper … Rocket (voice)
Michael Rooker … Yondu Udonta
Karen Gillan … Nebula
Pom Klementieff … Mantis
Sylvester Stallone … Stakar Ogord
Kurt Russell … Ego, an ancient and mysterious cosmic being who is Peter Quill’s father and raised Mantis
Glenn Close … Nova Prime
|Director:||James Gunn—“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1” (2014—PG-13), “Slither (2006—R), “Super” (2010—R), Producer/Writer: “The Belko Experiment” (2016—R)|
Walt Disney Pictures
|Distributor:||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
Prequel: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1” (2014)
The Guardians of the Galaxy, led by Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), are summoned to the aid of an alien race known as “The Sovereigns,” because the elitist beings simply don’t wish to get their own hands dirty dealing with a threat. As in the previous film, Quill’s team fights to the tune of an 80’s song, but the action takes a backseat almost entirely to their youngest member, Baby Groot, who dominates the scene. The humor amidst imminent peril was a staple of the first film, and Director James Gunn reminds us early on that this film does not take itself seriously and encourages viewers to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Whether or not he succeeds is up for debate.
The Sovereigns hand over, as payment for their success, Gamora’s sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan), but as the Guardian’s leave their planet they discover that Rocket Raccoon (voice of Bradley Cooper) has stolen from them, and the once grateful aliens are now their sworn enemies and a battle in space ensues.
Soon after, they meet up with Ego (Kurt Russell), a man who claims to be Quill’s missing father who has been searching for him for decades. Bringing them to his home planet, during which the song “My Sweet Lord” is heard (keep that in mind for the discussion later in this analysis), Ego shows his son a monument he has erected to commemorate his time on Earth with Peter’s mother 34-years ago. Quill finally has the father figure he has been looking for, but, with determined enemies like Yondu the Ravager (Michael Rooker) and the Sovereign High Priestess Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) closing in, his happiness will be short-lived.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” has doubled down on three of the things people enjoyed most from the first film: humor, campiness and Baby Groot. A less balanced film than its predecessor, it also has much content that viewers should be aware of…
Language: Moderate. Curses heard include: d*ck (2), p*nis (2), scrot** (1), hook-up (1—meant sexually), sh*t (4), cr*p (2), t*rd (3), a**-h*** (2), a** (5), h*ll (7), d*mn (4), piss*** (1), SOB (2). “Fox” is shouted once deliberately to sound like the F-word, and this was confirmed with others there that likewise jumped to the same conclusion. More importantly, the Lord’s name is taken in vain 4 times: Oh G** (1), Oh my G** (2), and G*d (1).
Sex/Nudity: Moderately heavy, but brief. Peter Quill is seen topless, and Drax is always bare-chested. Ego’s 3D dioramas all show him in clothed embrace kissing his loves long past. While visiting a pleasure stop with his crew, Yondu is seen buttoning his pants after spending time with what appears to be mechanical prostitutes. If the intention of this “shore leave” is not obvious to children, it is strongly implied by the cleavage-baring alien prostitutes outside, busily enticing the crew—although no overt sexual acts are shown. Rocket mockingly says, “My nipples hurt.” In a conversation that mentions The Sovereign’s non-sexual method of reproduction, Peter says something about the “old-fashioned way of doing that,” and Ayesha suggests that maybe someday he can show her that way. Ego and Peter’s future mother are shown kissing. (Afterward, there is a shot of traveling through some sort of tunnel, possibly symbolizing the sexual creation of Peter.) There is sexual talk and innuendo, including: “Would make my nether regions engorged,” “fly with what’s between your legs,” “…out of luck until you’ve gone duck,” “you feel love of a sexual nature,” and “…the day my father impregnated my mother.”
All of the above makes the film inappropriate for children—not a positive one for Christians, if we truly heed the Bible as we should.
Violence: Very Heavy. The Sovereigns pilot their ships remotely, so none of them are killed when their ships are destroyed—although the rest of the film is an entirely different matter. People are seen being shot, propelled upwards by anti-gravity bursts, only to come crashing down again and again, cut down by blades, killed by being tossed into the cold vacuum of space, burned alive, exploded, crushed by debris, shot by darts, shot in the head and through the body. Thousands are seen overwhelmed and buried in an avalanche of alien matter. Even Baby Groot is seen throwing someone to their death (implied). This last instance is played for a laugh, and the audience is expected to cheer, as perhaps as many as a hundred pirates are seen being killed by Yondu’s whistle-controlled weapon.
In addition to some torture, there is also a scene of humiliation that is heaped upon Baby Groot that the audience is expected to accept as a justifiable reason for his eventual revenge. Faces and bodies are twisted and misshapen by hyper-space jumps in space, and a detached eye (prosthesis) and a severed toe are also featured. The gratuitous violence shown in this and other action films has the effect of numbing viewers’ sensibilities, and I encourage, at the very least, that parents of children and pre-teens not be allowed to view this movie, no matter how much they ask.
There are some positive themes explored throughout, such as codes of conduct, self-sacrifice, friendship and family, but these are all in the dysfunctional realm of thieves, pirates and mercenaries, that also applies to the Guardians to a certain extent, albeit begrudgingly. The Guardians enjoy and celebrate their lawlessness. The Word of God speaks clearly to all of the vices shown in this film.
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” —1 Corinthians 6:9-10
However, make no mistake, the greatest evil represented in this film is portrayed by the character of Ego himself, who claims to have created the world they stand on, in fact to be the living embodiment of his own creation. Ego describes his godhood as a series of steps including: existing for as long as he can remember, becoming aware, feeling alone in the universe, creating the world around him over the course of 25 million years. Later, he decides, “I wanted to know what it was like to be human…,” and so he left his world to end his loneliness and produce a son. This son (of god) would be Peter Quill, who at 33-years of age would be reunited with his father and be rejoined to the light of his creation.
The director’s characterization of Ego as an immortal, life-creating god is implicit, however, in my view, he is actually an archetype of the devil or Satan himself. Ego has been to our world, just as Satan according to the Word.
For the record, in the comics, Ego is not usually personified as a man, but as a living planet with delusions of godhood. In “Guardians…,” he describes himself as a “Celestial” being, just as we were warned about the very real devil in Holy Scripture.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” —Ephesians 6:12
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is a flawed sequel—and not just because of its spiritual content. Character development is minimal, the plot lines are mere place setters for upcoming battles, and the multiple and concurrent family issues (Peter and Ego, Gamora and Nebula, Drax and his daughter, Mantis and her master) feel contrived.
The campiness and humor that was endearing in the first film is ramped up to excess in several scenes that demanded some judicious editing, with the end result being, perhaps, the slickest looking B-movie you may ever see, but perhaps that was the intent. Frequently fun, more often uninspired and defiantly blasphemous (by design, in my opinion), I cannot recommend this film for family viewing.
Violence: Very Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderately heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…overlong and void of suspense… it's repetitious and for every good joke, there are two that don’t land. …
—David Edelstein, “Fresh Air,” National Public Radio (NPR)
…Three reasons Walt Disney would be appalled by “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”… 1. It has too much foul language. 2. It glorifies lawlessness. 3. It makes light of death. …completely unacceptable for younger viewers, so extreme caution is advised…
—Editorial staff and Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…an adventure worth taking, and the number of moviegoers around the planet who will want to take it should prove awe-inspiring. But it doesn’t so much deepen the first ‘Guardians’ as offer a more strenuous dose of fun to achieve a lesser high. …
—Owen Gleiberman, Variety
…Most of [the] maverick mercenaries prove rather less charming the second time around; they’re like bickering family now and not in an amusing way. …First and foremost of these is Zoe Saldana’s green-skinned assassin Gamora, whose every line now seems barked out in an elevated state of annoyance. …
—Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
…Alas, in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,’ the gag is starting to feel like it’s getting a bit old. It’s still a good Marvel movie (at times, a very good one), but it’s a come down from the dizzying highs of the first installment. The laughs are still there, but they’re less involuntary. …
—Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
…If you’re not already on the ‘Guardians’ train, of course, this follow-up isn’t going to win you over, nor will it appeal to those who demand that sequels attempt to offer the same jolts of unexpected pleasure that first chapters do. ‘Vol. 2’ is filler, to be sure, but if you like the flavor of these movies, you’ll enjoy this second bite. …
—Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
…the wonderful chemistry that drove the first film is diminished a bit here. …
—Terri Schwartz, IGN