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Yes, there's an F-bomb in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Would you believe that it might even be there for... story reasons...?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Ever since its first installment in 2014, Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy franchise has made a point of flagging how different — and, maybe, just a little morally worse — it and its cast of characters are from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Remember, the first movie introduced its cast in its first trailer as “a bunch of a-holes.”)

With the final Guardians chapter — for now — set to hit theaters this week, writer/Director James Gunn takes one final stab at making the Guardians just a little disreputable than their fellow superheroes… by finally swearing in a Marvel movie.

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In a scene released online in censored form, Star Lord (Chris Pratt) loses his temper when trying to explain to Nebula (Karen Gillen) how to open a car door, eventually snapping and telling her, “open the fucking door!” (Sorry to those with sensitive ears… well, eyes, I guess.)

It’s officially the first time the word has been used in a Marvel Studios movie, something that Chris Pratt seems proud of, telling Variety “Yes, I do drop the first F-bomb. Take that, Samuel L. Jackson!”

Although the line wasn’t scripted — “Everyone's been trying to improv F-bombs for 10 different years... and finally one made it in,” Pratt told Variety — it’s something that feels very much like the culmination of what Gunn has been trying to do with the Guardians for the past decade; not only showing that they (often) fail to live up to the standards the audience might hold their superheroes to, but in doing so, showing them as lovingly, embarrassingly human.

Sure, Gunn didn’t write the line, but the fact that he used it says a lot about his approach to this material as a whole. For all that the line caused mild uproar when the clip first appeared online — how dare Marvel include that word in their movies, it was asked, as if PG-13 movies aren’t permitted one use of the F-word as a matter of course — the line itself turns out to be a perfect encapsulation of James Gunn’s approach to Guardians of the Galaxy (and, arguably, superhero movies as a whole). The moment functions both as a punchline and a character moment simultaneously, letting us see ourselves in the person speaking and, as a result, find ourselves more drawn to that character and the story overall.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is in theaters May 5. You can buy tickets to watch the movie at Fandango or Atom Tickets.

If you’re fascinated by the idea of the Guardians as easy-to-empathize-with screw-ups, maybe it’s time to check out everything you need to know about Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3.

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