Guardians of the Galaxy
Run Time: 121 minutes
Director: James Gunn
Overall, this film includes positive messages regarding gender roles and race. While the film is rather violent and sexually suggestive at times for a young audience, it presents a racially plural society that includes strong female leads and emotionally sensitive males connected by friendship.
An unlikely group of rogue individuals band together to fight-off evil villains in the galaxy and save the universe.
- Frequent threating language, pejorative language, and swearing
- “Freak,” “idiot,” “bastard,” “hell,” “the broad,” “stupid,” “genocidal maniac,” “bitch,” “hell,” “shit,” “woman,” “imbecile,” “damn,” “shut up,” “fool,” “damnit,” “jackass,” “dick,” “whore,” “turd blossom,” “a-hole,” “bullshit”
- Visible middle finger gesture
- Abuse of alien animals
- Visible guns, gun violence
- Bludgeoning by hammer-like weapon
- Alien gore (blue blood, green blood)
- Electrocution, taser
- Use of genocidal ideas by Ronan, the main villain
- Sword, knife, dagger
- Rape innuendo
- Strangling, broken neck
- General fighting
- Arrow use
- Explicit sexual metaphor (Peter says “Under a blacklight this place looks like a Jackson Pollock painting.”)
- Peter Quill is shirtless in a few scenes
- Sexual tension
- Peter Quill is depicted as a “ladies man” as he has been with many women in the galaxy.
- At one point a few of the characters appear to be drunk and are called “drunk” by Peter.
- The film pokes fun at traditional gender roles regarding masculinity. For example, even though Peter is constructed as traditionally masculine given his muscular build and many sexual encounters with women throughout the galaxy, he is often shown crying, dancing, and is not afraid to laugh at himself. Another example is Drax, who is constructed as hyper-masculine and deviant, as he explains that his tough exterior hides much sadness.
- The film challenges traditional gender roles regarding femininity. For example, Gamora is depicted as strong, intelligent, sensible, courageous, and a skilled fighter. Even though Gamora is considered desirable in the film, she is not sexualized. Another example is Nova Prime, who holds a prominent role in intergalactic relations.
- Men and women are equally depicted as good and evil.
- A racially plural society is depicted. For example, one of the lead characters is green and another is blue.
- In the end, Ronan, who is waging genocide against an entire race, is punished for his evil actions.
- Multiple interracial couples are shown.
Sexual Orientation: N/A
- People with visible disabilities (prosthetic leg and prosthetic eye) are briefly shown.
- Drax is heavily tattooed, but this does not dictate his moral character. Oftentimes, characters with many visible tattoos are depicted as deviant in the media.
- Although Gamora does not adhere to the damsel in distress trope, she still needs to be saved by Peter.
- Gamora calls Drax a “princess” as an insult. This is problematic because princesses are associated with femininity, which is often associated with weakness (especially when it is directed at a male).
- “Soft” is used as an insult. This is problematic because soft has several implications that are associated with femininity, which again, is often associated with weakness (especially when it is directed at a male).
- Minor characters of color and dark-hued characters (especially dark blue) are depicted as evil. This is problematic because skin color is used as a signifier of moral character.
- There are no variations of sexual orientation.
- Characters with visible disabilities are used for comedic purposes. For example, Rocket orders the group to steal a prosthetic leg from a prisoner so that the group can escape from the prison. The prosthetic leg is stolen and Rocket claims that the whole idea was a joke.
- In the film, there is little variation of ideal body types. For example, the male characters are muscular and the female characters are slender.
Suggested talking points
- In many ways, Peter Quill conforms to the traditional male hero trope, as he is white, muscular, and attractive. However, Peter Quill also challenges the traditional male hero trope by expressing his emotions, declaring his love of music and dancing, and by showing his willingness to laugh at himself. Are there any other heroes you can think of that challenge the traditional male hero trope?
- Oftentimes, female leads are sexualized in action and superhero films. Gamora challenges traditional gender roles regarding femininity by being active and intelligent. Rather than the film simply focusing on Gamora’s sexiness (and thus, sexualizing her), other aspects of her character are developed and depicted as significant (fighting skills, intelligence).
- Although there is sexual tension between Peter Quill and Gamora, the two do not end up in a heterosexual romantic relationship with one another (which is a common theme in most films) by the end of the film. Rather, the main focus of the film is friendship.
Keywords: guardians of the galaxy, guardians, action, adventure, peter quill, comics, marvel, gender, race, progressive, movie