The film opens up with a rather emotional scene. In fact, it might just be the saddest scene from any Marvel movie to date. 26 years later after Peter Quill, aka Star Lord (Chris Pratt) watches his mother die, he's put on a scavenger mission to retrieve an artifact which houses an Infinity Gem. This leads to spiral of events which puts him in the path of other "losers" such as Gamora, (Zoe Saldana) Drax, (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot. (Vin Diesel.) These five realize that in order to save the universe they'll have to work together and stop the Kree extremist known as Ronan the Accuser.
Peter Quill isn't the most well-known superhero, but after this film you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who didn't know the name 'Star-Lord.' When the first trailer came out some viewers accused him of being basically another Robert Downy Jr. Tony Stark. Thankfully from the time-skip in the opening it's evident that Chris Pratt brings a whole new, interesting character to the table. While he was a lot of fun for his love of 80's pop, each character brings something unique. Gamora at first from early marketing didn't seem like much other than a love interest for Quill. Thankfully that element has very little focus. Drax was solid, though despite arguably being the strongest brute-strength-wise, he didn't get to really showcase it as much as you would think. Still, he had some of the funniest scenes, such as not understanding Quill's Earth metaphors.
"I am Groot!" Groot, like in the comics, is always an interesting character to have around. Despite only being able to utter three words, he displayed the most emotion from any of the characters. Of course, as expected, Rocket Raccoon was a highlight, perhaps the highlight. He steals the show in every scene he's in. One has to give credit to Bradley Cooper for such an incredible job; he perfectly nailed the character. At some point in time people would have laughed at the idea of a talking raccoon on the big screen; today they laugh with the character at almost every line he has. There are a couple other notable characters. Michael Rooker portrays Yondu: a bandit who could have been throwaway villain, but thankfully ended up being a little bit more. Karen Gillan as Nebula, the biological daughter of Thanos, was solid. She'll most definitely be appearing again; though it would have been nice if we had any idea of what she's going to do next. Also the film makes a point to bring up that Quill's father was not of Earth, yet the story doesn't delve into that. Hopefully in the sequel we'll get a little more backstory regarding this.
One thing that happens perhaps a little too fast is the Guardians deciding they need to work together. Rocket targets Quill, who is battling Gamora, then after they're all thrown in jail decide they need to team up. It's definitely feasible, but it happens rather quickly. It's just a minor thing, since by the middle of the film you're fully absorbed into the story and action. Ronan the Accuser is a big character in the comics, so fans were anxiously looking forward to his appearance here. I'm happy to say that he's one of the best Marvel antagonists to date. He has a commanding presence every time he's on screen, hats off to Lee Pace for delivering such a great portrayal.
One of the most hyped things in this movie was the first talking appearance of Thanos. The titan first appeared in the after-credits scene of Avengers and fans have been eagerly awaiting his next appearance. In a scene just under 5 minutes he steals the show. It is a shame that the film teases a Ronan/Thanos fight, but doesn't actually happen. The soundtrack is very solid and unique since it utilizes a bunch of songs from the 70's & 80's. One thing that needs to be said is the incredible CGI. Groot and Rocket look fantastic and fit right alongside the actors. The scenery is beautiful, with Morag in the second part of the opening being a highlight.
Guardians of the Galaxy delivers one of the most fun times I've ever had in the theater. Each main character brings something unique to the table. Marvel films are known for its comedy, but sometimes that humor is horribly forced. Most of the comedy here is natural; there's never a dull scene. As stated earlier, the film replicates the things which made The Avengers such an enjoyable movie. A year ago I didn't think I'd be saying this, but I'm more excited to see Star-Lord and his team's next adventure than Iron Man's or Thor's. Everyone involved deserves a thumbs up for churning out the most fun movie of the year.