Paul Wilson’s review published on Letterboxd:
A stunning, hilarious and action packed couple of hours that barely feels it's length and thrives on the charm and chemistry of one of the best ensemble's Marvel's ever put together and a director taking full advantage of having his biggest ever canvas to fulfill his creative vision.
A lighter tone once again for what is this time a pretty much stand alone film ( barely a mention of anything that's come before at all) in the Marvel Universe and at it's core it is noticeably different to what we've seen previous too. Sadly it does fall into familiar trappings again finale wise and the work on the villains here could be improved somewhat despite the actors best efforts but there's a lot to admire here. Getting to the point a lot quicker than in most origin stories, the main aim here is to get our group of misfits together as quickly as possible. That the movie does this well, lets us know their motivation and gives us more than enough reasons to care is a joy to see. Gunn and Perlman's script could use some room to breath but it all zips by so quickly that's it's hard to care and unlike Thor 2's main plot is much easier to follow as well which makes the ride all the more easy to enjoy.
The scripts main asset here is it's humour, hard to go a few minutes without finding something that threatens to give you a belly laugh, whether it's Pratt's natural charisma and charming goofiness that he's used to such great effect on Parks and Rec (I'm a big fan and I fell in love with this movie with the first thing he did), Dave Batista coming very very close to stealing the movie due to Drax's habit of taking things too literally, he gets more than a fair share of the film's laughs and his superb straight man delivery makes the one liner's that much more better. Then there's Rocket and Groot, an enormous risk trying to market a talking raccoon and a talking tree that can only say three word's but if Marvel doesn't make a tonne of money selling these two as toys then they are idiot's. While I had my doubts about Cooper he gives Rocket the necessary character due to his vocal performance to make him so likable and his big buddy just may be the most lovable creation that this universe has given us. Diesel's voice work does a lot more than you would think but the majority of the credit has to go to the animators for groot (and rocket too in all fairness) as the close up's of Groot's face tell us enough without even saying those three words and he's just as much a believable part of this universe as anything else.
Saldana with the most straight faced character of the five gets threatened to be overshadowed but as she's done before portraying a tough female is her forte and her interactions with the rest lead to some of the film's brighter moments, a certain actor's name has never been funnier. Pace while caked under a lot of make up tries his best but he really doesn't get too much to play with here, he's threatening sure but again we get no real reasoning behind why he's the way he is which hurts his arc. Gillan gets off a bit better, mainly due to her more palpable connection to one of the guardians but again a bit more reasoning would have helped. All other name actors are basically cameos with C Reilly fairing the best of these as you would expect.
Gunn is a director I've always admired and when he was announced for this movie I was ecstatic.With a much bigger budget that he's ever had (could call it obscene really as this without even knowing the figures mammoths Super's budget by some distance) he still manages to keep the heart of his previous work here. It may not be as dark as Gunn's previous but the wit on display here is some of the best in Marvel's history and his choices in casting and especially the films instantly singable soundtrack that brings a smile with each new addition. His work on the big action scenes are very good, the spaceship's based finale may not be anything you haven't seen before but it's easy enough to follow and the little touches he put's into the hand to hand stuff is superb, his proclamations about IMAX proved fruitful too, Aspect ratios and some better 3D than usual used to great effect here and yes there's numerous blink and you'll miss them little nod's to some of his previous work here too.
Premiere night comes with one slight drawback though, no post credit scene that I can't spoil for the lot of you even if I wanted so for the first time that I can remember I will be rewatching a film at the cinema. It is mainly to fill in this little gap but it has two advantages, one: while Gunn has said himself that this scene is a joy I think there's a good chance it could be something very special if they are trying their best to avoid leaks like this, and two: I really can't wait to watch this again as soon as possible to experience what for me is the pick of this year's summer blockbusters and even with my expectations being very high something that was just as good as i wanted it to be.