Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language.
Based on the Marvel Comics series about a rag-tag group of misfits who band together to save the galaxy, this is the cheekiest, wackiest blockbuster you’ll see all summer. But it also features all the massive violence and destruction you’d expect from a movie of this genre. It begins with a child witnessing a parent’s death, followed by his abduction by otherworldly beings. That child grows up to be brash space scavenger Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), who refers to himself as Star-Lord and becomes an unlikely hero. Among the other characters are the muscular, brutish Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) and a talking, gun-toting raccoon named Rocket voiced hilariously by Bradley Cooper. Guardians also features a couple of dark and intimidating villains. Everyone’s after a powerful, mystical orb that’s capable of causing some disturbing damage. The spectacle is massive in director James Gunn’s film but in a cartoonish sort of way. My son, who’s almost 5, came with me to see this and wasn’t frightened by anything, but some of the substantively traumatic stuff might have gone over his head. If your kid has seen this sort of comics-inspired movie before, he or she will probably be OK.