Guardians Of The Galaxy 3 Should Be Rated R? Controversy Gains Steam Over Disturbing Scenes

The violence depicted in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is causing some to call for it to be Rated R.

By Sean Thiessen | Published

guardians galaxy 3

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 opened last weekend to a $289 million box office total. Moviegoers and critics are loving the final installment of James Gunn’s offbeat superhero trilogy, but as reported by the Independent, many are questioning the film’s rating, citing sequences of disturbing imagery, brutal violence, and gore, and the MCU’s first F-bomb.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is rated PG-13 in the United States and 12A in the UK, consistent with previous MCU entries. What is not consistent with its Marvel predecessors is the film’s gore and language.

Many took to social media to warn other parents about the content of the film. The film depicts “disturbing” images of animal cruelty while exploring the origins of Guardians member Rocket. Rocket was abused, as were his animal friends, who sport grafted mechanical appendages.

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The film also pushes the limits with gore. The action in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 contains plenty of slicing, dicing, gutting, and spraying as the team takes down a series of deformed monsters.

In one sequence, the team infiltrates the Orgosphere, an organic space station made of flesh. The entire location looks like it is made of exposed internal tissue. Every facet of the Orgosphere’s function is organic — wet, slimy, and uncomfortable to look at.

As films like Deadpool and Logan were not Marvel Studios films, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is the first MCU project to drop the F-bomb. Several actors have tried to get the word in a Marvel Studios project, but Chris Pratt was the first to utter the expletive in a final cut. Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, and others have come close.

The Guardians of the Galaxy films have always had a sharper edge than most other MCU projects, and Vol 3 certainly pushes the envelope. Testing the limits is what James Gunn does, so there is no surprise that he was the one to stretch Marvel into its squeamish new territory.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is not the most violent, gory, or expletive-laden PG-13 film ever released, but audiences have come to expect certain content parameters from Marvel Studios, and Gunn and company expanded those walls. Many have been disturbed or put off by this, but another camp loves it.

The box office return for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is impressive at first glance, but compared to what Marvel Studios is used to seeing on opening weekends, the total raises a concerned eyebrow. Superhero fatigue is manifesting in the only meaningful way for a movie studio: money. The genre is faced with an existential crisis, to evolve or die. James Gunn is pushing for the former. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is still an MCU movie, but the trilogy has always dressed a little differently than its superhero cohorts. Since the first film, the Guardians have expanded what is possible in the Marvel universe, taking the sweeping story to different corners of space and expanding its character, humor, and action horizons.

James Gunn’s work may be fallible, but it takes bold swings. Pushing the form is the type of heroics Marvel needs right now, and whether people like it or not, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 may be the studio’s boldest yet.