If you’re looking for a little air conditioning to help get through the dog days of August and your kids are fans of superhero mayhem, you should consider seeing Guardians of the Galaxy. As with most superhero movies these days there is plenty of carnage and implied death that earns the movie its PG-13 rating, however Guardians has a core of goofiness and good humor that makes it accessible to a broader audience. If your kids can handle intense science fiction action and you don’t mind frequent mild swearing I would recommend this movie for kids as young as eleven.
You may not be familiar with the comic book the movie is based on but don’t worry, you’re not alone. Marvel chose to make Guardians of the Galaxy not because of the popularity of the characters but because it offered the chance to do something a little different and, more importantly, open up the many cosmic storylines that exist in the Marvel universe. Stories that give us spectacular settings like a world called Knowhere that is the titanic severed head of a deceased galactic being. It sounds grim but it actually looks really cool. In addition Guardians is both a superhero movie and a space opera in the mold of Star Wars so you don’t have to be a superhero fan to enjoy it.
Aside from the otherworldly locations and very explosive special effects the heart of the movie are its characters and two of the most engaging are Rocket Raccoon and his tree-like sidekick Groot (voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel respectively). Even though he has a rather crude demeanor Rocket is the star of the movie as far as my daughter is concerned. And while Groot only says, “I am Groot” the way he’s animated and the way the other characters respond to him gives him depth and empathy. He has an innocence and strength that my kids really responded to. After we came out of the movie they asked us, “aside from Rocket and Groot, who was your favorite character?” There was just no question in their minds that those two owned the film. But the other more-or-less human characters deserve a mention. Gamorra, who is advertised as a killing machine, actually has some depth to her character that makes her a passable role model for girls. She’s confident, knows her own mind, doesn’t take any insults from the boys, and is dangerous when she wants to be. Why she expresses any interest in the roguish lothario Peter Quill is something of a mystery – at least until he shows that he’s willing to make serious sacrifices for his friends.
And this is where we get to the true heart of the movie. Friendship is what drives this group of characters, makes them join up and circle around each other until their friendship ultimately saves the day. It’s the positive message that lifts the movie above the carnage and makes the whole venture worthwhile.