Is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 safe for kids? Is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 OK for children? Read the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, an honest parents guide and mom review of the all-new Marvel Guardians 3 sequel film, starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, featuring Vin Diesel as Groot and Bradley Cooper as Rocket. No spoilers! #GotGVol3 May contain commissioned links.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Movie Review | Safe for Kids? Parents Guide
A long, long time ago (more like 2014) in a galaxy far, far away (and also Kansas), Marvel gave us a gift of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
And then we got Vol. 2 in 2017.
But now, this is where the playlist ends.
It’s been quite the musical journey. Hard to believe that it’s been 9 years of classic music, hilarious one liners, heart, and unconventional super hero-ing from outside of my Marvel comfort zone. And if you’re like any of the Marvel OG’s (yup, me included), the Guardians of the Galaxy have become like family, producing some of the best films in the Marvel movie repertoire.
But like all good things, the joy ride has come to an end. With James Gunn moving on to DC, placing a definitive period on his unique Guardians of the Galaxy film trilogy, this saga has already got me a little choked up – in a power 80’s monster ballad sort of way. But after 9 years of Marvel movie history, is this the ending our Guardians family deserves?
In this Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, I’m breaking down the visuals, the story, a full PG-13 age rating explanation for violence, adult themes and language, and what kids’ age recommendation is suggested to watch in this new 2023 Guardians 3 parents guide to the new Marvel live-action sequel film. A no-spoiler parent review of Guardians of the Galaxy 3 movie, is this final Guardians with director James Gunn ending on a high note? Or are we going to be thankful that he left for DC?
In 9 years, Marvel Studios visuals have yet to let me down. (Ok, maybe Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. BUT besides that…) Grounded in out-of-this-galaxy CGI combined with professional camera work – Guardians of the Galaxy has always been a cornerstone for Marvel super hero movies.
And for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, expect more of the same. Visually stunning, from landscapes to creatures to detailed costuming and makeup, Guardians 3 is a visual masterpiece, definitely one suited for an upgraded IMAX/3D experience.
Photosensitivity Warning. Per the usual, the use of galaxy/space like weapons including bright flashing guns, scenes with lighting/electrocution effects, and fast moving super hero action scenes may be triggering for those with photosensitivity and seizures. This is NOT even comparable to the intense strobing light triggers in The Super Mario Movie or Incredibles 2 in my opinion, but I would have sensitive audiences proceed with caution.
James Gunn (“The Suicide Squad“) returns to direct the final Guardians 3 movie. Your favorite all-star cast returns for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, starring Chris Pratt (“Jurassic World” franchise) as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana (“Avatar: The Way of Water“) as Gamora, Dave Bautista (“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery“) as Drax, Karen Gillan (“Jumanji” franchise) as Nebula, Pom Klementieff (“Oldboy“) as Mantis, featuring Vin Diesel (“Fast and the Furious” franchise) as Groot, Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born“) as Rocket, Sean Gunn (“Gilmore Girls“) as Kraglin, along with Chukwudi Iwuji (“Peacemaker“) as The High Evolutionary, Will Poulter (“The Maze Runner“) as Adam Warlock and Maria Bakalova (“The Honeymoon“) as Cosmo.
Peter Quill, still reeling from the loss of Gamora, must rally his team around him to defend the universe along with protecting one of their own. A mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians as we know them.
James Gunn has always said that his favorite character is Rocket. And in no surprise, Rocket comes to the forefront in this final chapter of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy. Weaving in more story (and uncovering layers of backstory, trauma and healing), a new soundtrack, but the same familiar, unconventional super hero-ing with a side of humor and heart, James Gunn says goodbye to the Marvel franchise by basically turning up all dials, to the next level. But that’s not to say that every dial turn was appreciated – or necessary.
My take – more isn’t necessarily better.
Feeling very familiar to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the new changes may be a welcome for some of the more mature, more “hardcore” Marvel fans who think these super heroes are beyond the understanding of families and young kids. But I think this is where James Gunn and Marvel underestimate the power of family and the love of the Guardians family. Really teetering the line on PG-13 for this film, I’m deeply sad to say that this finale may not be the farewell party that our kids are invited to.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 PG-13 Rating Explained
Is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 safe for kids? Can James Gunn hold onto this last PG-13 Guardians rating? Or is he leaving Marvel with a “flash” of what’s to come? James Gunn is taking his final bow with his beloved Guardians of the Galaxy. But with Marvel pushing the envelope on PG-13 ratings along with Gunn’s affinity to more R/MA content, should parents be concerned? It’s no secret that I am highly skeptical of all MPAA ratings (um hello, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker not disclosing any language??). And as we know, not all movie and TV age ratings are the same, especially these days.
As a parent, it’s been rather heartbreaking to witness how ratings have shifted over the years with a G-rating no longer an option. PG ratings now oscillating between Turning Red intense to Christopher Robin calm, and even PG-13/TV-14 age ratings teetering on the edge of R or MA ratings (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and Werewolf by Night, I see you!), there’s a wide range between the age of 0-14 years old for parents to consider. Having fully disclosed parent guidelines can help determine if a movie or show is kid friendly – and safe for the whole family to watch together.
Why is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 rated PG-13? In this Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, this Marvel Guardians 3 sequel film is rated PG-13 for “intense sequences of violence, action, strong language, suggestive/drug references, thematic elements” With film and TV ratings also unpredictable these days, having fully disclosed parent guidelines can help determine if a movie or television show like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is kid friendly. Is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 too scary for kids? Let’s breakdown that PG-13 age rating in this Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 parents guide.
Violence/Suspense. Buckle up, friends. I have 2 words: animal cruelty. And you thought the first 2 Guardians movies were violent. For his finale, James Gunn turns up the volume with more of the “Suicide Squad meets Slither” level of violence and suspense – border lining on a suspenseful, gory horror film (*cough* Doctor Strange 2) more than a Marvel super hero film. But it’s the focus on animal cruelty that really hits home for me, a mom of a 10-year old daughter who’s ultra sensitive about living creatures.
The animal cruelty is everything and MORE that could be imagined including beatings, torture, trauma, peril, death and gross disfigurement to very familiar animals that kids would recognize. Scary monsters, violent animals, intergalactic creatures and hybrid creatures are also present. But that’s not all.
Lots of creepy medical visuals and sounds including use of medical tools and equipment, blood, needles, foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath. Use of weapons including guns, swords, knives, and hand to hand fighting. Human body disfigurement and distortion (such as a grossly disfigured broken neck), tearing away of skin, human and creature disembowelment, beheadings, visually gross wounds, death and close ups of dead bodies, copious amounts of blood and gore.
There’s a 100% increase in the amount of horror and gore themes. Peril and suspenseful jump scares also present, more so than both of the original Guardians 1 and Guardians 2 movies combined. Parents, please be warned. This is the MOST violent, MOST intense, MOST gory Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
Adult Themes. Thankfully, this is one dial that James Gunn didn’t touch too much. The overall adult themes of this final Guardians movie feels very similar to the first two movies – with a few suggestive caveats. As far as adult relations and sexual content, we multiple verbal references to love and flirting, along with physical touch of hugs and embraces. There is one sensual reference to the phrase “touch him” which comes with a humor punchline.
Other suggestive content and adult themes include one poop and butt reference (for humor effect), visual of animal peeing, one “purple nurple” phrase, one “impotency” reference, verbal “bigotry” line, visuals of gambling, and the continuing threads of dealing with childhood trauma/death/grief and animal trauma/cruelty.
Drug and alcohol references are also within the new Guardians 3 film including: acting drunk (including body movements and slurring words), passing out drunk, visuals and discussion of “selling meth”
Language. According to the “new” PG-13 guidelines, you can have up to 1 F-bomb in a movie before the MPAA slaps on an R rating. And surprise, that’s exactly what James Gunn did. However, it’s the use of the 1 F-bomb (in the most unlikely scene considering the violence/action/suspense/peril/intensity levels) that really hit a nerve for me. It kind of blindsides you in the middle of the film during an otherwise very nonchalant moment of the film.
Besides the 1 glaring f*ck reference, James Gunn is liberal in his use of foul language and swear words in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 to include: “d!ck/d!ck-head,” “son of a b!tch,” “sh!t,” “@sshole,” “dumb@ss,” “jack@ss,” “d@mn/d@mnit,” “H-E-double-hockey-sticks,” “d*ouche/d*uche bag,” and “wh@ck job.”
But in the midst of all of the other language references above, I have to giggle at this list of other more mild insults and bad language that include: “idiots,” “morons,” “creep,” “jerk,” “dumb,” “stupid,” “numbskulls,” “twit,” “doofus,” “freaking/freaked” “fricking,” “piss off,” “dang,” “screw you,” “suck my…” (cut off after that), “shut up,” “oh my g-d,” and “oh my gosh.” After the extensive swear words above, this list doesn’t seem as bad.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Movie Age Rating for Kids
With a runtime of 2 hours 29 minutes, (compared to 2 hours 2 minutes for Guardians 1, and 2 hours 17 minutes for Guardians 2) Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is right in the Marvel super hero wheelhouse. With enough Marvel action, story, and humor to keep the party going, without overstaying the trilogy encore ending. Keep in mind, this is the MOST violent, MOST gory, MOST intense Guardians movie of the 3.
Those who have children who have grown up with the Guardians (my 10-year old daughter included), may be surprised to see that not only did James Gunn turn up the dial for his Marvel director exit, but also took some liberties to push the PG-13/R rating line with more language, more horror themes, more violence, and more intense/suspenseful moments. Kids who are especially sensitive, prone to nightmares, and are easily terrified may want to wait to see this film. It is NOT the scariest, most disturbing film I’ve seen from Marvel, but it’s close.
The 2023 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 film is easily compared to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Staying somewhat within the unique James Gunn director footprint with Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the familiar mix of poignant music tracks, nostalgia, humor and vulgarity, joins together with a new earnest intensity – the violence, gore, and scary images of a super hero action/suspense thriller film.
Marvel’s final Guardians of the Galaxy 3 sequel film is rated PG-13 for “intense sequences of violence, action, strong language, suggestive/drug references, thematic elements” by the 2023 MPAA.
Yes, there is one mid credits scene and one end credit scene. You will NOT want to miss the last credit scene of the film. It is worth staying for.
Based on my 2023 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 parents guide and mom review above, this parent movie reviewer would not recommend Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 movie to kids younger than the age of 13-14 years old.
Considering the full PG-13 rating breakdown above, this parent movie reviewer would not recommend Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 to kids younger than the age of 13-14 years old. This Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 PG-13 rating is very comparable to the PG-13 rating of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – teetering on the edge of an R rating.
Guardians 3 is the MOST violent, MOST intense, MOST horror/gory Guardians film to date. It’s not the scariest Marvel film I’ve seen, but it is more in the suspense thriller than I was ready for. If you and/or your kids have seen Doctor Strange 2, I would use that as your measure for whether your child will be able to handle the intensity of 2023 Guardians Vol. 3. I encourage parents to prescreen the movie if possible for the violence, horror themes and gore throughout, along with extreme animal cruelty may be too scary for young kids. My 10-year old daughter will NOT be able to handle such an extreme movie, despite having the Marvel super hero name behind it.
One more time – but with feeling. I love Guardians of the Galaxy, easily my favorite Marvel super hero team of the bunch (though extremely biased thanks to being blessed by 3 Guardians of the Galaxy press trips.) But even I wasn’t fully prepared for this ending. James Gunn is certainly taking his final bow with a BANG – but I think he got a little heavy handed in his goodbye message. Digging more into Gunn’s director roots and less on the foundation of his unique, messy band of super heroes that he created, I think Gunn may have been a blinded by his own ambition for a worthy ending – and lost that lovin’ feeling along the way.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a James Gunn “packed” movie. The Guardians characters love, passion, soundtrack are all still there. And it definitely feels like a Guardians movie should – an overall emotional farewell. But Gunn turned up the volume to the next level – and not necessarily in a good way. More like on deaf ears.
While certainly an homage, a love letter to his Guardians family and especially to his favorite Guardian, by turning up the over-the-top violence, horror and suspense more like his “normal film repertoire” slightly soured my personal love for James Gunn and this Guardians 3 farewell. It was in Gunn’s restraint, his love, care and gentle handling of the Guardians that introduced kids to a new world of Marvel, and made families fall in love and embrace an unknown, unconventional, messy, perfectly imperfect, ragtag super hero team – and become a part of our families.
But now it feels like our families (aka our young kids) aren’t invited to the farewell party. And it makes me deeply sad to know that my 10-year old daughter and all of the younger kids who have also grown up and accepted Guardians as part of their family – won’t be there for the final send off.
Follow the Guardians of the Galaxy on social media:
- Website: https://www.marvel.com/movies/guardians-of-the-galaxy-volume-3
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/guardiansofthegalaxy
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Guardians
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/guardiansofthegalaxy/
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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the final chapter in the Guardians of the Galaxy film trilogy rocks into theaters on Friday, May 5, 2023. Will your family be watching this final Guardians of the Galaxy 3 sequel?
I was invited to screen the new 2023 Guardians of the Galaxy 3 film in exchange for this Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Movie Review | Safe for Kids? Parents Guide. All photos courtesy of Disney/Marvel. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians for more movie updates, celebrity interviews, entertainment and behind-the-scenes info!