Marvel has a pretty good track record in recent years. Everything they are doing right now is working. Most of people, myself included, are not really familiar with The Guardians Of The Galaxy. It's a good thing because it keeps the expectations low. It's a bad thing because the Avengers they ain't. They are unrecognizable and it's not quite the same thrill as seeing heroes you grew up with brought to life. Unfamiliarity doesn't matter. This is the movie that Green Lantern should have been. It is a movie that is set in space, but grounded with earthy references. Trust me it makes sense when you see it.
Peter Quil is taken into space by aliens as a young boy and pretty much lives in galaxies far far away. His only ties to earth is a Walkman with an awesome mix tape. The galaxy is highly populated. The Nova Corp keeps the peace and Ravagers steal and sell things. Quil is kind of the latter. While stealing an ancient artifact, he gets stuck with a female assassin, genetically altered raccoon, plant like creature, and tattooed warrior. All with their own agendas. Aliens are at war and one of the most ruthless is bent on destroying a planet. The unlikely team of outlaws must decide to profit or do what they can to save the universe.
Most people will have not heard of the villains in the film, but they are solid Marvel characters and introduce us to an even bigger cinematic universe. If you watched the end of the Avengers than you got a glimpse of Thanos. He is a very well known comic villain and gets more of a tease in this one. Ronan The Accuser is the main baddie and it's comparable to the dark elf in Thor: The Dark World. Her isn't the strongest of villains, but he is more than serviceable for the film. The movie does a better job of convincing us that there is a real threat than Fantastic Four or Green Lantern did.
Bradley Cooper steals the show as Rocket Raccoon. The look is fantastic and he finds himself the center of the comedy. Chris Pratt gives a good run as Star Lord. He can play emotional, comedic, and obviously went through a super hero work out plan. Zoe Saldana works as Gamora, and Vin Diesel doesn't say much, but makes three words speak volumes. Bautista was a big hit. Not quite the Rock, but he was a solid choice for Drax.
It's fun. The cosmic setting works. The space ships are cool and there are plenty of character references to the rest of the Marvel Universe. Casual fans should recognize items from the previous Marvel films. Guardians worked because it wasn't afraid to be what it was. It's a space epic that accepts it cheesiness and can appeal to a large audience. The soundtrack is incredible and it's promised that they will return. Hopefully sooner than later.