8 (Spoiler-Free) Things Parents Should Know About ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’

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I’m going to start by breaking from the usual format to say this: Don’t take little kids to see this movie. In all honesty, if my kids were still younger than 15 or so, I would think twice about bringing them to see it, and if they were younger than 10 I would absolutely forbid them from seeing it until they were older. And now, to our regularly-scheduled article:

(L-R): Dave Bautista as Drax, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, and Karen Gillan as Nebula in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo by Jessica Miglio. © 2022 MARVEL.

As usual, this article does not contain spoilers for the movie beyond what’s already been shown in trailers and such. It does, however, contain spoilers for previous MCU movies, so please bear that in mind.

1. OK, so why shouldn’t I bring little kids to see it?

The movie plays out partly in the “present” and partly in flashbacks to when Rocket was little. He started life as an ordinary raccoon, and the process by which he became what he is is to say the least disturbing. You know the certification in a movie’s end credits, where it says that the Humane Society verified that no animals were harmed in the making of the film? It has never been more necessary, and not just for Rocket. It was hard watching many of those scenes as a fifty-year-old, let alone a fifteen-year-old. And if the animal experimentation parts aren’t enough to give your kids nightmares, the vast numbers of people who are killed, the hordes of children in grave danger, and the guy without a face will probably do the trick.

2. Yeah, but look how many people Thanos killed, and my kids handled Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame OK. Is this worse?

Yes. Yes, the High Evolutionary, the villain of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 (GotG3) is worse than Thanos, because Thanos was ultimately trying to help others, even if in a despicable way, and he very deliberately didn’t commit genocide. You would be correct to point out that the Thanos from the past in Endgame is about to commit universal genocide when Iron Man stops him, and yes, that version of Thanos is probably worse. But not the version who actually made the snap.

3. So it’s pretty intense; does it still have comedy and good music, though?

Absolutely: there were at least as many laugh-out-loud moments as there were try-not-to-cry ones. And the music, which was somewhat more recent than in the previous films, was as well used as ever.

Will Poulter as Adam Warlock in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo by Jessica Miglio. © 2022 MARVEL.

4. Is it better than Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania? What about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?

Thankfully, it’s much better than Quantumania. It’s a bit on the long side (2 hours, 29 minutes), but it uses that time well. I didn’t notice any scenes that didn’t in some meaningful way move the plot forward; there probably were a few, but at least I can say that they didn’t stand out. GotG3 is more grounded than Quantumania, so that I found myself much better able to forget that Rocket and Groot are mostly CGI than I was able to forget that 90% of Quantumania was. Plus, GotG3 has a surprise, brilliantly-funny unannounced appearance by someone, and I wouldn’t dream of risking spoiling it by saying more.

As to whether it’s better than BP:WF, that’s a tougher question. I’d say that, in all honesty, the two movies are so vastly different from one-another in plot and general attitude that there’s no sensible way to compare them.

5. What do I need to have seen in order to understand GotG3?

If you’ve seen the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies, you’re probably just fine. It would also be very good to have seen Avengers: Infinity War, and probably Endgame as well. Apart from that, there’s not much you won’t be able to figure out if you haven’t seen every MCU movie that’s been made.

Cosmo (voiced by Maria Bakalova) in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL.

6. When is a good time for a restroom visit?

I hate to say it, but there really isn’t a good time. Of course, since you shouldn’t bring small children to the movie in the first place, this isn’t likely to be as much of an issue as it typically is; if you’re sensitive to scenes of animals (even CGI ones) being mutilated and kids in danger, I recommend choosing one of those times. You’ll have some warning.

7. Do I have to stick around for extra scenes during/after the end credits?

Yep, there’s one mid-credits and one at the very end. You absolutely should not miss either of them unless you must.

8. Bottom-line it?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is an excellent movie, but absolutely, unquestionably not for little kids e9999. If you’ve seen the first two, you shouldn’t miss this one, because it wraps up the trilogy nicely. If you haven’t, then what are you waiting for? Go watch the first two and then go see Vol. 3GotG3 officially opens tomorrow, Friday, May 5, 2023.


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