Paul Lister’s review published on Letterboxd:
"I am Groot"
Someone call the intergalactic police, Marvel have made a film I really, really love! My anti Marvel defences were well and truly broken, shattered even by a film that provides plenty of action, comedy and characters. Chris Pratt is terrific as Peter Quill aka Star Lord, it's a star making performance from an actor that has made me laugh countless times over the years on NBC's Parks and Recreation as the loveable dimwit, Andy. Everyone is really great in the film, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel and David Bautista make up the ragtag group and all of them play characters that are well drawn, even Diesel's Groot feels like a three dimensional character and in fact is the heart of the whole film, there are some really surprisingly touching, emotional moments in this riotously fun film and director James Gunn must be commended for making the film work so well with its varying tones.
On a minor note the film does still feature way too many special effects and the final third does descend a little into the 'mass destruction' schtick that many of these films do. Sometimes there is so much going on it is hard to comprehend it. Admittedly though the film still manages to be super entertaining though out this final third because of the characters (and actually the effects really didn't bother me, I actually think they are very good, there should just be slightly less of them sometimes). The villains in the piece are slightly underutilised as well but I do think Lee Pace is a decent villain when given screen time, only in the sense that you really get the impression that he is powerful and that power is super small in comparison to Thanos. So it will be interesting to see Thano's power on show in the future.
I will end with a few more positives. The soundtrack is all killer and no filler. "We are Groot" was a really emotional moment. Michael Rooker's lethal arrow had a really cool pay off. Karen Gillan as Nebula really looked awesome. The pop culture references were really fun, especially the Footloose reference and the Maltese Falcon reference. I liked the 'Usual Suspects' set up. David Bautista had some killer lines, "You're an imbecile". Cooper really should consider more voice acting roles, his Rocket was inspirational.
Here are some more Groot moments. The moment Groot grins after bashing the baddies against the wall was hilarious. The little flower to the girl. The fireflies. The bit where he starts eating himself. Taking the battery out in the prison. Pretty much every bit with Groot.
I usually find Marvel films to be disposable. 'Guardians of the Galaxy' however is a real keeper in my book.