Michael Clarke’s review published on Letterboxd:
Wow. I mean, wow. This damn movie is so much fun, I want to make sweet love to it with Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling" playing in the background. This is the perfect antidote to the brooding, gritty darkness that has shrouded a huge majority of comic book movies of recent years. It's beautiful to look act, hilarious in its dialogue and acting and cheesy as all hell. I think I'm in love.
First thing's first, Chris Pratt is undoubtedly the next big star. He oozes charisma in every second he is on screen, and commands every moment. I am so excited to see what he does in Jurassic World and all his future endeavors. And yet he isn't the standout character in the film, that's not a slight at him but proves how amazing Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel are as Rocket and Groot. Their voice acting, specifically Bradley Cooper is outstanding, and the characters they've helped create are amazing to look at and so easy to root for. Also excellent are the remainder of the group; Zoe Saldana as Gamora is what you'd expect from the kick ass Saldana, and WWE wrestler Bautista though not as polished in his acting, more than makes up for it in his intimidating presence and often hilarious line delivery. The antagonists of the film are also well done, Lee Pace's Ronan the Accuser is especially brutal in his actions and Pace delivers every line with aplomb. Perhaps the weakest of the performers is Karen Gillan is Nebula, her accent slips on a few occasions but even she is excellent in the action scenes.
But all these wonderful characters would mean anything if the galaxy around them wasn't well realised. Thankfully James Gunn and his team have crafted a stunning universe, full of amazing creatures and unusual worlds. There's only the character of Thanos tying the film into the rest of the MCU but that doesn't matter when the world they've built for themselves is so incredible. Every world they show, from Nova Corp's Xander to the outlaw world of Knowhere we are given worlds that feel alive and just beg you to look around and take everything in.
The story that flows through the film isn't entirely original, most team-up films follow the formula but Guardians manages to twist the tired formula into something beyond the cliches. And the film is also really, really funny. It's probably the funniest film of the year so far. Full of hilarious one-liners, great visual humour and some very Whedon-esque moments, it's a blast from start to finish.
Guardians of the Galaxy is the MCU's best film to date. I said that last time about Winter Soldier but GotG has topped that and then some. It's a standalone film that ties in just enough to overall story that it feels needed and important. James Gunn has created something really special, a film that is infinitely rewatchable thanks to the wonderful performances from the entire cast, the stunning worlds on display and some really exciting, exhilariting action set pieces. It's Marvel's most original film to date, and I can't wait to see it again and again.