So my non-spoilery opinion of Guardians of the Galaxy was that it was
a) the most vibrantly colourful thing I've seen since last month's Pride parade and
b) a HELL of a lot of fun.
[spoiler]I don't think it was one of Marvel's best (which admittedly is an extremely high bar to set anyway). It felt a little rushed at times--especially given how OUT THERE it is compared to the MCU thus far, with a whole lot of new stuff being thrown at you from all over the place--and probably could have benefited from a little more runtime. I have also never liked the whole "you can tell he's hot stuff because he just slept with a hot girl, and you can tell that he sleeps with hot girls a LOT because he's already forgotten her name, or even that she's still around, allowing her to pop up at an inopportune moment to be spurned for COMEDY!" thing and its inclusion always makes me pissed off at a movie. It actually annoyed me so much that it threw me out of it, which is too bad because I think the movie had a really strong start.
The start really was an emotional rollercoaster. Peter's mum's death was heartbreaking and STRAIGHT AWAY? REALLY, MARVEL? YOU'RE GONNA DO THAT UP SHIT?! And then the post-timeskip introduction of adult!Quill, with him dancing into the hiding place of the orb, was just fun. The whole thing with Quill's mixtapes and their contribution to the soundtrack was a lot of fun, in general. And Quill's dorky use of "earth legends" like... Footloose. Always good for a giggle.
In general, I think the movie was a lot of fun precisely because it wasn't taking itself too seriously, exemplified in how they defeat Ronin. I mean, when he runs out of monologue, Quill just gets up and dances in order to make Ronan WTF hard enough to not notice Rocket building weapons. And it works. (To be fair, I'd probably drop what I was doing to watch Chris Pratt dance. Pretty good shirtless scene on that man, too. Not top-class thanks to the orange gunk, but nevertheless, a fine addition to Marvel's roster of well-built Chrises.)
Zoe Saldana and Karen Gillian were fantastic as Gamora and Nebula, IMO. I'm not familiar with the comic characters so I can't comment on if they or any other characters were faithful adaptations, but how they reacted to their treatment by their "father" was interesting. The Reveal of Thanos was well-done, too. Intimidating bastard.
I think Drax comes in at #2 for some of the best lines in the movie, due to his very literal nature. #1 was definitely Rocket. WHAT AN AWESOME LITTLE BUNDLE OF ANGER ISSUES. Weirdly, I think he was one of the more dimensioned characters in the movie. On one level, he's violent and it's hilarious and badass, but his deep-seated anger about the nature of his existence comes through and then you just kinda want to give him a scratch behind the ears until he stops being so angry. He manages to come of as somewhat tragic while also being hilariously psychopathic.
And Groot. GROOT. OH MY GOD I LOVE GROOT. GIANT PRECIOUS ADORABLE TREE BABY. Who goes from growing a flower in his hand as a present for a little girl with an adorable smile on his face, to creating hundreds of little light spores that even have Drax stunned by their beauty, to... skewering several Kree at once with a branch and then using that as a club to bludgeon every other Kree in the hall to death. And then smiling adorably. I really just want a whole movie about him and Rocket doing what they do. The whole thing with his entire vocabulary consisting of "I am Groot" makes it pretty ambiguous as to what he's about. I pretty much guessed that he could grow back from a twig given the astonishing regenerative powers he showed previously in the movie, but I still cried when he "died" and Rocket was openly sobbing over his remains.
Also, I need a tiny dancing Groot in a pot and I need it NOW. I know you can get a little dancing cactus to plug into your ipod and it dances to the music. I need that, but tiny Groot. I really cannot express fully how much I need this. That stinger really was some of the cutest shit I've seen in my entire life.
As for the second stinger, uh... what the hype?[/spoiler]
Also, super props to the MCU for FINALLY adding a female writer to its movie roster. Nicole Perlman done good.