I FINALLY got to see Guardians of the Galaxy (twice as a matter of fact), and It. Was. Amazing. The cast was absolutely superb (who would have ever thought Chris Pratt would be so phenomenal in this roll?), the musical choices, spot on. And the one liners, wow!
But more importantly, this film shows us, as so many have before, that the geniuses at Marvel know exactly what they're doing. Where DC Comics scrambles around making one blunder after another (with, of course, the notable exception of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight series), Marvel learned from their 2003 Hulk flop and recognized that the key to cinematic success was collaboration and cohesion.
For it's a cohesive Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) we're seeing now. No longer does each series stand alone . . . Thor blends together with Iron Man, ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. reacts to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and so on. All these films and TV shows are part of a intricate and complex world that Marvel execs have determined to bring together in one cinematic cosmos. And how fortuitous, they already had a vehicle in place that could blend the many different threads together into one complex fabric -- the Avengers team.
The use of the Avengers allows MCU to delve into a vast array of different comic book superheroes while still maintaining an overarching storyline. Iron Man, Captain America . . . all roads lead to the ultimate endgame, Avengers 3. And that's where Guardians of the Galaxy takes it's place, giving us the first (non-post credit) glimpse of the final film's antagonist.
Basically, Marvel is a genius. And with their Disney merger in 2009, they've become even stronger. If only they could get Fox and Sony on board, MCU could take over the world!