Number 3 - Guardians of the Galaxy
This was on my radar since they first announced it a Comic-Con in 2012. The main reason? Rocket Raccoon. I remember the character from his four-issue mini series very soon after I started reading comics. What could make more of an impression on an eleven year old than a bad-ass, gun-toting raccoon?
As Lancey Kisses has mentioned, and it's in his blog post about Guardians of the Galaxy, a lot of how the general public would perceive the whole movie rested on Rocket. He couldn't be silly. He couldn't be Howard the Duck or Jar Jar Binks. He's funny, but as a smart-ass instead of a clown.
I knew about Rocket, but I wasn't as familiar with the other characters. My personal trepidation was with Bautista as Drax. When I think wrestler in a comic book movie, the Bane of Batman and Robin immediately comes to mind. That's not an image anyone should have in their minds. But as it turns out, he's perfect, and he delivers some of the best lines of the movie.
In addition to introducing the characters of the Guardians, they need to introduce the entire universe that exists outside of the other Marvel movies. There are plenty of cool new worlds and characters out there who could easily become part of the Avengers movies or would work well on their own. There are also plenty of other Guardians to look forward to in the sequels. I think Vance Astro/Major Victory would look pretty spectacular on the screen and also create the perfect visual tie-in to the Avengers.
But after all of that, the movie won me over in the first five minutes. I'm listening to Redbone's Come and Get Your Love as I write this paragraph. The opening scene will always be zapped into my head when I hear that song. Chris Pratt is pretty damned good throughout the movie, but his dancing to this song is a magic moment in the movie. He spins, he stomps, he plays in puddles, he uses an alien as a microphone, and it's all a brilliant introduction to a character that I look forward to seeing in the sequels and probably another movie or two.