By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic)
WHAT'S GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 ABOUT?
Marvel's intergalactic antiheroes battle new enemies (and old) when a being (Kurt Russell) introduces himself as Peter's father.
IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: A-)
Everything a sequel should be, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 builds on narrative threads and themes from the first film in satisfying ways, taking the story in unexpected directions and evolving the characters. The film provides a solid balance between big action, irreverent humor, unexpected emotion, a perfect soundtrack, and psychedelic visuals unlike anything I've ever seen on screen. If the film has a flaw, it's that it regularly deviates from the story to just have fun. These non-sequiturs lead to some pacing issues and a slightly unfocused narrative, but the movie's so hilarious audiences likely won't care. The cast is fantastic, the character arcs are gratifying, and the music rocks. Bring on Volume 3!
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR KIDS?
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 is rated PG-13. It has plentiful action violence, with hand-to-hand combat involving swords, guns, arrows, and explosions. People die in the vacuum of space. Innocent civilians are threatened and killed. An adorable alien is threatened and bullied by villains in heart-tugging ways. There's some moderate profanity scattered here and there (sh*t, son of a b**ch, don't be a d*ck, etc). There are a couple of sexual innuendos: Peter offers to demonstrate “archaic mating” techniques to an evolved queen, a demigod is asked if he has a penis (it's asked by an innocent character about the god's ability to mate), and an empath observes that Peter feels “romantic, sexual love” for Gamora. A psuedo-villain is seen hanging out at a brothel-type establishment, with women in underwear seen in the background.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
Nothing is more important than family, both blood and chosen. No matter what we've done before, it's never too late to do the right thing. Sometimes people feel love even if they struggle to show it. People you consider your enemy might become your friend with understanding and forgiveness.
Looking for another action-packed, funny, moving sci-fi romp with great cast chemistry? Check out Serenity, by Avengers writer-director Joss Whedon.
Jonathan Decker is the clinical director of Your Family Expert. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist, husband, and father of five. Jonathan earned a masters degree in family therapy from Auburn University as well as a bachelor's degree in clinical psychology from Brigham Young University. He is an actor, author, and television personality.