I'm tempted to call the movie perfect even though it isn't exactly perfect. I could say that people unfamiliar with the Marvel Universe might be miffed by knowing there is another bad guy behind the main bad guy. Maybe there was a subplot too many. Maybe.
Critiquing the movie based on such things seems petty. It gives us all the entertainment we can handle and more and then keeps piling on. I haven't seen a movie so successfully built around pure entertainment since Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Where some critics might take offense at the simplistic explanation of a planet dooming device, I found the sequence fresh and wondrous and funny. Our heroes stood in a miraculous museum of fascinating characters and devices while the eccentric Collector (Benicio Del Toro) explained the origin of the universe to people who didn't really care.
Every scene gave us a collection of interesting characters, whether they be murderous brutes in a prison or a ship full of scrappy scavengers with arrows commanded by whistling. I haven't seen this level of creative character invention since the original Star Wars
Our story follows a motley collection of criminals with varying levels of recklessness. Starlord (Chris Pratt) becomes their leader in a way that makes sense. Rarely do I see movies that show why each character would follow someone for legitimate reasons that relate to their individual lives. Never once did it crossed my mind that a crew of aliens would follow the human because that's what the audience wants. It evolved naturally. Seamlessly.
Starlord leads four truly extraordinary companions on a mission to stop a zealot alien separatist named Ronan from destroying the galaxy. To stop him, Starlord has banded together a lexicon-challenged tree named Groot (Vin Diesel), a war criminal who has a change of heart named Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a wisecracking, streetwise, genetically-modified racoon named Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and what can only be described as a full-time badass named Drax (Dave Bautista).
First and foremost, against all odds, a talking raccoon who rides a rampaging tree works very well onscreen. Rocket and Groot provide many of the film's best moments. Chris Pratt is not outshined, however. Somehow, in the midst of raccoons firing machine guns, weapons that destroy planets, space battles, catfights and a whole lot more, Starlord remains grounded front and center. Pratt has the presence of a young Bruce Campbell, who carried Army of Darkness with the same unlikely balance of bravery and cowardice, ineptitude and cunning, charm and despicability. Even though Pratt's performance exists mostly in the midst of choreographed special effects it is hard to imagine a more difficult role to pull off.
So yeah, it's perfect even though it isn't. If you go into this movie listening to people who say it lags, or that there's too much going on, you might end up agreeing with them. You can nitpick and spend time analyzing the film's shameless excesses, or you can actually just enjoy what happens. I was never once confused by the plot, by character introductions, by motivations or editing. I loved every minute of the movie.