My reaction to this film was heavily influenced by the fact I last saw the Guardians characters in the Avengers films where they were done dirty. And so it was very notable to me what a script can do with the characters when the writer/director sincerely engages with them as characters rather than as IP to be smushed together. This direction and emotional sincerity also plays out in the performances and Gunn gets much better performances from Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista than in either of those Avengers films.

I appreciated the look of the film, particularly the space station made of organic matter. If you’re going to use CGI that will ultimately look fake, you should at least make it fake but cool.

Ultimately I was hit by the emotional heft of a CGI raccoon using his first moments of sapient consciousness to discover how to express pain.