I feel like Guardians of the Galaxy is never quite sure what it is, or what it even wants to be. It's a generic action movie, it's a comedic parody of generic action movies, it's the heartwarming tale of unlikely friendship among space randos and some white guy, but it's not very good at any of those things. If anything, it commits the most to being a space action movie and does a pretty predictable, serviceable take on that idea, but that's what you'd expect from Marvel and that's seemingly why they advertised it primarily as a lighthearted, comedic romp. The advertising is extremely accurate as well given that the movie begins with 3 minutes of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)'s mom dying of cancer (unintentionally made hilarious in the movie when she flatlines seconds after Yung Chris refuses to fulfill her request of holding her hand).
Luckily, those tone issues don't pervade the whole movie, though the tone that emerges is one I'd rather not interface with. Most of the movie that follows sticks with a Tony Stark (and to a lesser extent, Marvel) -type tone of a white boy who just discovered meta humor a week ago- the joke lines that are presently are almost uniformly half-assed to an Amazing Spider-Man degree. There's also a bizarrely mean-spirited tone to a lot of the lines, not the least of which is the "green whore" scene that has been deconstructed already.
Speaking of half-assing and Drax (Dave Bautista), one example that speaks to the movie's breeziness in my eyes is his linguistic affectation. The race that he belongs to is supposed early on to be "entirely literal" in meaning- he doesn't even recognize a "slitting throat" gesture as a metaphor for killing (also talked about in the previous link). The scenes where this disconnect is frontlined are very blatant about his blunt interpretations, yet later not only does his whole speaking style change from the early 'wordy brute' vibe (when he gets offended at Quill for calling him a "thesaurus" even though that shouldn't have been an insult to him- just incorrect), he even speaks in small human expressions that are in fact figurative. How did he learn the expressions having not heard others say them? If his race used occasional small figuratives before, why didn't they expand to actual metaphors eventually given the incredible capacity and efficiency of metaphor? One lesser example I actually remember is him saying "I can barely see" which is a line literally anyone but him (or Groot) would have said. Dave's lines in the beginning continued would have been something like "my vision is quite impaired by this darkness" or whatever.
The more melodramatic moments also began to get a little humorous for me- I expected a joke when John C. Reilly's irrelevant military guy gets a spot in the ending montage returning to his family- but none moreso than the final 'attack' against Ronan (bad guy). Let me lay out the perceived timeline of that sequence-
0 sec. - Quill grabs the Macguffin and starts exploding with energy.
5 sec. - Gamora reaches her hand out to Quill and Quill gets a flashback to his dying mom, which... makes no sense.
8 sec. - They join hands and Gamora immediately turns her head up and starts screaming like Quill.
10 sec. - The camera very agonizingly pans across them to reveal Drax forcing himself into the picture. I laughed out loud. He touches Quill's shoulder and immediately does the exact same screaming thing.
14 sec. - Rocket reaches his tiny hand into Drax's and does the screamy deal.
20 sec. - After an unnecessary use of "bitch" by Quill, they zap the evil guy with their friendship magic and he dies. (This sequence would be absolutely hilarious without the score.)
The villain is a non-entity, all of the supporting characters vie for undeserved and scant screentime (except for Gamora (Zoe Saldana)'s butch cyborg sister and Quill's blue-skinned merc buddy who has a scene-stealing magic(?) arrow controlled by his whistles, who both deserve feature films), the dialogue is decent at its absolute best, and the drama is played so ambivalently we might as well be reading the script, save for Bradley Cooper's really affecting voice during his two drama scenes. Still, I think you could have a fun time, especially considering the reviews this is getting.
Chris Pratt really didn't need to get as swole as he did considering he has one shirtless scene and wears your dad's clothes for the rest of the movie.
Why did Quill get abducted in the first place? Were those rogues just prowling around, looking for children in fields to eat?
It felt like Peter and Gamora originally had a lot more romantic scenes that were cut out (thankfully, the trailer shot of them almost-kissing doesn't seem to be here), but the threads they left don't work alone.
Groot's baby form is the cutest thing in any movie, possibly in the whole world. It almost makes up for the fact that his contributions include 1) goring five+ henchmen and breaking everything inside them for an extended period, and 2) tearing a man's nose off by hanging him off of it. Both of which have jokes 1-2 seconds afterwards.
This movie does nothing for minorities, women, or anything like that, in case you were wondering.