Full disclosure: The bros and I were paid cash money to help promote this movie, so take my review with that in mind.  This, however, is not a paid review.

I wanted to like Guardians of the Galaxy, not only because I helped promote it, but as a fan of Parks and Rec, I wanted to see Chris Pratt do well in his first big leading role where you see his face.  In a nutshell, he does great, almost carrying the movie on his own with the help of a great supporting cast.  But there’s no denying Pratt’s charisma.  He looks like he’s having fun the entire movie and thus, the audience does too.

As a science fiction movie, G of G feels like a large world.  Writer/director James Gunn and writer Nicole Perlman process the comic book by Dan Abnett and Andy Landing.  (The original comic was created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan, but those featured a different character line up.)  The various alien races in the Marvel Universe are mentioned and/or appear.  The filmmakers are not shy about throwing up all sorts of references.  Even I, Mr. Comic Book, didn’t get them all, but the movie places them in context so you know whether they are important or not.  The Universe feels big and it’s important players are highlighted at just the right moments.

The plot is pretty simple.  A ragtag group of misfits must team up to save the Universe.  Gunn’s pacing is, at times, a little too fast, but for the most part, the reasons the characters are forced together is at least mentioned.  That they become such solid, good friends in the space of days, well, the audience can forgive the rush because they are having fun.

Wrestler Dave Bautista is rock solid as Drax the Destroyer.  Bradley Cooper is full of anger as Rocket.  Vin Diesel is subdued as Groot.  Zoe Saldana is okay as Gamora.  Unfortunately, the rushing from bad guys to good is most noticeable with her character.  She’s awfully nice for an assassin.  Pratt is the stand out as the upbeat, roguish and sometimes clueless Peter Quill.  Hired to find a mysterious orb, soon everyone in the galaxy is out to get it.  It’s not really clear why specifically Quill is hired or if he just stumbles upon it by accident.

Michael Rooker has a great role as Quill’s former mentor.  (No matter what role he plays, even an alien, he’s always an evil hillbilly.)  John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, Peter Serafinowicz (Sean’s roommate from Sean of the Dead) and quite possibly, everyone in Hollywood not doing anything for a week worked on this film.

This movie was inches from being oversold to me.  The comparisons to Star Wars?  Seriously?  It’s fun.  Definitely a summer movie.  There are surprising moments.  There are no “exposition moments” where characters suddenly begin emoting.  Instead, these are inserted pretty organically in the story.  Like I said, it’s almost a little too face paced.  It actually could’ve used a moment or two like that to explain some things and the set up for a sequel (which is already scheduled) is a bit clunky.

Yes, there is after credits stuff and one of the big Marvel villains, who will no doubt resurface down the line, makes his appearance.  He’s a space villain, so if you’ve read even one Marvel comic in that genre, you probably already know who I’m talking about.

So it is definitely worth seeing, bros.  I caught a $5 matinee, so that can’t be beat.  It probably wouldn’t be bad in 3-D either, since there are a lot of space fights.  I give Guardians of the Galaxy 7.5 out of 10 keggers.