Background: I didn't have any. I knew Guardians of the Galaxy was the 10th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and enjoyed the first trailer so much I showed it to my college students.
The Good: For me, most everything in this category is showcased in the various trailers -- upbeat music, witty one-liners, self-parody, colorful mutant characters, etc. Extra:
- The 1988 prologue shows hero Peter Quill about as old as I was then. Thus begins the long series of fun 80s references. Bonus: His emotional attachment is more than just nostalgia.
- Dave Bautista's character Drax ("the Destroyer!" my boys quickly reminded me, informed by the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes video game) struck me as boring in the trailers, especially alongside the goofy Rocket, Groot, and Star-Lord. Turns out he's funny, too.
- I'd counted on my boys loving Groot. He doesn't disappoint, especially in his final scenes.
What Does Disappoint (some spoilers):
- Underuse of the bad guys, most of whom are whiny and boring (although I still liked Karen Gillan's Nebula). Lee Pace's black face lingerie is weird. And in case anyone's counting, this is the second Thanos tease telling us how scary he is without showing us. What does he do when Ronan betrays him? Nothin'. Granted, they have shown us the power of the Infinity Stones (here and in Thor: The Dark World), and imply that he is strong enough to wield them. I expect this to pay off eventually.
- Very predictable and forgettable plot, like an afterthought.
- For introducing entire new worlds to the MCU, it is surprisingly short on "world-building." You just sort of have to accept that all this is going on outside Earth's knowing, even though Earth culture and dialect is prevalent throughout. It's like Star Trek without the lens flare.
- Scenery is a bit claustrophobic and dull. I actually kind of missed the Star Trek lens flare.
- Worst post-credit scene of all the MCU. Isn't the point of these to show how the different installments are connected? Instead we get a cameo from a goofy character most people don't know belongs to Marvel. (Thanks again to LEGO Marvel, my boys were happily in-the-know.)
Conclusion: Win for my boys! What else matters?