Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 opens tomorrow. The Super Mario Bros. Movie has reigned supreme over the box office for the last month, topping $1 billion and becoming the highest-grossing animated film from Universal—yes, beating even the Minions—and the highest-grossing video game adaption to date. 


It’s a huge hit, and Chris Pratt is about to open his second film in a row at #1 (Vol.3 has no real competition this weekend, even if the box office hits the low end of expectations, it will still be number one). Whatever the internet thinks of him, Chris Pratt is a Movie Star. 

Speaking of Pratt, here he is in New York yesterday with James Gunn, Karen Gillan, Chukwudi Iwuji, Miriam Shor, and Bradley Cooper—who insists on dressing like a substitute teacher during this press tour—for a special screening of Vol. 3


But what we’re really here for is the GIANT WARNING you need before going into Vol 3. There is extensive, graphic animal cruelty in this movie. Is it all CGI animals? Yes, of course. Does that matter? NO. NOT IN THE LEAST. I am not a particularly squishy person, but even I was upset by these scenes. I walked out of Vol. 3 thinking this is why the term “content warning” was invented, people cannot walk into this film blind. It’s not gratuitous, there is a narrative purpose to these scenes—ironically, they’re part and parcel of the best element of the film—but they are the darkest thing put to film in the MCU to date.


Honestly, it reminds me of Mark Twain’s anti-animal testing short story A Dog’s Tale (WARNING: DO NOT READ IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A NICE DAY). Twain’s daughter, Jean, was an animal rights activist and he wrote A Dog’s Tale in support of her cause. It is blatant emotional manipulation but it’s effective as hell. Once read, never forgotten, and the casual cruelty of man toward helpless animals is laid out in the starkest terms. The effect of Vol. 3 is the same, and some of the visuals seem deliberately designed to invoke animal testing as if to say, No one is making cyborg bunnies, but people DO hurt bunnies and call it “beneficial”.

If you’re sensitive to these issues, or if you are thinking of bringing young children to see Vol. 3, just know there will be some disturbing scenes that some may find upsetting and frightening. You have been warned.