Before watching the film a colleague told me that there were certain gender problems with it, so I was on my guard. And true enough, at the very end there's a deeply creepy moment in which the love interest character (played by Zoe Saldana) is overtly identified with the dead mother of the male hero (played by Chris Pratt). The brazen way the film restates the notion that girlfriends are replacement mothers is almost impressive. But actually, that's all there is to Saldana's character. Chris Pratt is the lovable rogue who treats women abominably and who we are nevertheless encouraged to identify with. Reports that the film has a large female audience makes this all the more depressing.
The film itself is moderately enjoyable, but perhaps less funny than it thinks it is. The visuals are spectacular, but slightly deadened by the 3D (I foolishly didn't check before buying my tickets). Marvel's genius for picking people to helm their film projects does not extend to James Gunn (or Alan Taylor for that matter). The studio has built up plenty of good will with Avengers Assemble, which may explain why people are still coming out to see related films. And let's not forget the Transformers rule whereby spending enough money inevitably delivers a box office hit regardless of quality. Nonetheless, I'm starting to doubt how far this golden run will last.