I saw Guardians of the Galaxy today and enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm not overly familiar with the comic book source material outside of the recent work Brian Michael Bendis has produced since the Marvel NOW relaunch, but the film is another strong entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a nice change of pace from the previous entries.
I won't say much more on the movie - there's plenty of other reviews out there and the film is enjoying a nice bit of critical acclaim, so I'll leave this one up to the pros. Besides, I think Charlie Jane Anders, writing for io9, covers why this movie is such a treasure pretty well. It reminds me a lot of all those fun sci-fi movies I watched and loved as a kid, from Star Wars to The Last Starfighter, all mixed up with a bit of Firefly. Mostly, it's just a damn fun film.
The one thing I've really enjoyed most about the MCU is its interconnectedness and the massive scope it's building. We pretty much knew since Iron Man that an Avengers team-up was on the horizon, and now that we've gotten that the Marvel movie studio is really upping its game and going crazy. As a fan of the comics, this is really a terrific thing to behold, and to see the various franchises working together to create such a large canvas and build toward what could eventually become a massive space-based epic is pure joy. Since the introduction of Thanos in The Avengers, I've been hoping for an adaptation of The Infinity Gauntlet. I'm still convinced that's where things are heading, but really there's so much potential for other story elements to come into play, like a Kree invasion or maybe a film treatment of the more recent Infinity storyline by Jonathon Hickman.
I have no idea how receptive audiences would be toward this (but I suspect Marvel wouldn't need to be all that fearful of it, given their current spate of successes), but I would love to see a more drawn-out, single-story line crossover as either a duology or a trilogy, similar to one of Marvel Comics many comic-book crossovers. Just take the entirety of the MCU and go all Lord of the Rings with it.
There's a lot going on in Guardians, and while the primary threat is self-contained within the movie, I'd be very surprised if it's not laying a tremendous amount of groundwork for the future of Marvel movies. If Guardians of the Galaxy is as important as I think it is for the future of the MCU, particularly given the amount of myth-building at work here, I am fully expecting to be made very, very happy by the time Avengers 3 rolls out. I could easily see Guardians 2 playing out as a bit of a first act for the Avengers 3 storyline, since the former already has a release date of 2017 and Avengers is expected to land in 2018. Of course, I could be way off, but let's face it - who wouldn't want to see Iron Man teaming up with Rocket Raccoon?
Now, here's a look back at Marvel's Phase 1 & 2, which was shown at this year's San Diego Comic-Con!
Bonus: Every Marvel Movie Easter Egg In One Video (At least up through Thor: The Dark World)