There is no doubt Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – where a thief, assassin, madman, tree, and a raccoon team up to save the universe – is its biggest gamble yet, though the studio’s surely earned it, churning out smash hit after smash hit year after year.

Marvel has made great strides in acquainting the movie-going public with Guardians‘ cast of relatively unknown weirdos through first looks, featurettes and trailers, all featuring that irresistible soundtrack. They even hosted early screenings of 17 minutes of footage from the film – for free! – to fans who arrived in droves for their first peak at Marvel’s latest. And with San Diego Comic-Con happening only a week prior to Guardians‘ theatrical release, Marvel will definitely be promoting the film like mad throughout the convention.

Already the film’s first unofficial review called Guardians of the Galaxygreat,” praising its comedy and in particular Rocket, who (according to that anonymous reviewer) steals every scene he’s in. Marvel allowed those who were lucky enough to be invited to last night’s first press screening for Guardians to share their impressions through social media – and thus far, the general response has echoed that early praise.

Check out a sampling of their early reactions to Guardians of the Galaxy below:

As you can see, their sentiments mirror those of that early review pretty closely. Guardians appears to be a hit action-comedy, but with plenty of heart to keep it from feeling hollow. Again, Rocket and Groot sound like the breakout stars which says something for how the talking raccoon and sentient tree are handled in the film.

It shouldn’t come across as totally surprising that these early reports are calling Guardians of the Galaxy another hit for Marvel, seeing as the studio’s track record pretty much speaks for itself. But perhaps it is a little surprising to hear to how much fun these reviewers had with Guardians, and it begs the comparison between this team-up flick and Marvel’s The Avengers.

Also expected with Guardians of the Galaxy is a post-credit stinger, something that will hint at and tease where the Marvel Cinematic Universe is heading next. However, this early screening included nothing of the sort:

BTW, we didn’t get any MCU-related credits tag. I’m taking this to mean it’s a big revelation of some sort they don’t want spoiled.

— Devin Faraci (@devincf) July 19, 2014

Chances are whatever post-credit scene appears with Guardians will be setting up Age of Ultron, since that film is the next of Marvel’s to release. Though, with Comic-Con around the corner and Ant-Man expected to make an appearance, there could be something included to ease fans worries about that film’s rocky production.

What do you make of these critics’ early reactions to Guardians of the Galaxy? Are you expecting to be blown away by what James Gunn has done with this ragtag team of galactic misfits? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Guardians of the Galaxy opens in U.S. theaters on August 1st, 2014.