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F Ilm: Guardians of the Galaxy
Our Unlikely Heroes. You're welcome.

Rocket: Are you some saint all of a sudden? What has the galaxy ever done for you? Why would you want to save it?
Peter: 'Cause I'm one of the idiots who lives in it!

Guardians of the Galaxy is the 2014 movie adaptation of the Guardians of the Galaxy comic series and the tenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is directed by James Gunn of Slither and Super fame.

The film begins with Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), a.k.a. "Star-Lord", an outlaw and thief abducted from Earth as a child, who is after a small metal Orb for a merchant. He soon crosses paths with several other criminals who want either him, his prize, or one of his pursuers, including the green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), furry little bounty hunter Rocket (Bradley Cooper), plant alien Groot (Vin Diesel), muscle-bound maniac Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), and a group of Space Pirates called the Ravagers. Along the way, they go through various unsavory Wretched Hives, get sent to prison, and stumble across half the galactic quadrant while getting entangled in a galaxy-threatening plot by a mass-murdering zealot.

Karen Gillan and Lee Pace portray the film's villains, Nebula and Ronan the Accuser; Glenn Close portrays Nova Prime Rael, the head of the Nova Corps; John C Reilly plays Nova officer Rhomann Dey; Benicio Del Toro portrays The Collector; Djimon Hounsou plays Korath the Pursuer, Michael Rooker plays Yondu and Ophelia Lovibond portrays the Collector's assistant.

Many considered this film to be a huge gamble because of issues such as that it's based on an extremely obscure title, the lead is played by a primarily comedic-roles actor, and the bizarre cast including a talking bipedal raccoon and tree. But a tongue-in-cheek publicity campaign, solid reviews, and the overall opinion from the audience that it's simply a good movie quickly silenced all doubts.

Marvel preemptively announced a 2017 sequel at Comic-Con, a week before the release of the movie, possibly as a response to industry concerns that the movie would underperform. However, as is the case with The Avengers, the film did marvelously at the box office hitting #1 within its first week, destroying the August opening weekend record, and exceeded even the highest industry expectations with an opening gross on par with more familiar superheroes.

Has a character sheet here.

Previews: trailer 1, trailer 2, trailer 3, trailer 4

Tropes applying to this film:

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  • Ace Pilot: Both Rocket and Quill are very good pilots.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene:
    • The film opens with a genuinely moving sequence before descending into the madness that is the final product.
    • Later on, the movie has a couple of quiet moments between Quill and Gamora.
    • The Guardians board the Dark Aster during the middle of an intense aerial battle and enter a dark section. The action pauses for a moment as we're treated to a scene where Groot releases bioluminescent seed pods to light the way. The soundtrack becomes a lilting melody as the other Guardians look on in wonder.
  • Action Girl: Gamora, a soldier and assassin. And her sister Nebula.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: After a whole movie of chasing Peter determined to get the orb he stole, Yondu can't help but grin when he receives what he thought was the orb, but turns out to just have a Troll doll inside.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The movie contains elements from the classic comic series and the more recent series:
    • The team roster is taken from the current series, but Peter Quill is raised by Yondu, who was a member of the original team from the '60s.
    • Ronan works under Thanos, much like the Ultimate Marvel version of the character.
    • Movie Drax is a blend of the original, the '90s era and the modern versions of the comicbook Drax.
  • Adaptation Species Change: Drax is an alien in the movie, but he was a human named Arthur Douglas in the comics.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • In the comics, Drax was originally a human named Arthur Douglas who was transformed into Drax The Destroyer after being fatally wounded by Thanos. In the movie, he's an alien and Drax is his real name.
    • The same line also reveals that his daughter (Moondragon) isn't named Heather.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Both of Gamora's costumes are significantly less Stripperiffic than what she usually wears in the comics.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Nova officer Garthaan Saal is a heroic member of the corps in the movie but in the comics, he went crazy and turned evil.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Though he eventually learns the error of his ways, Star-Lord starts off as a self-serving outlaw and a bit of an asshole. This is in contrast to his comic counterpart, who was a seasoned cosmic superhero long before joining the Guardians. It's really more of an Adaptational Anti-Heroism situation if anything.
    • While Ronan the Accuser has never been the nicest guy in the main Marvel comics 'verse, in his role as Supreme Accuser of the Kree Empire he was basically a Knight Templar. And after "Annihilation" he's on friendly terms with Star-Lord. Here he's a renegade who's collecting the Infinity Stones for Thanos and is more than willing to commit genocide on the Xandarians. His actor compares him to Osama bin Laden.
    • Yondu is more of an Anti-Villain since he does end up helping the team against Ronan and saved Quill's life as a boy, but he is still a thief and more than willing to kill anyone who double crosses him. He was a hero on the original team.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Ravagers' main base appears to be a gigantic ship that has the hangar space to hold and launch several ships similar in size to the Milano. Likewise, the Dark Aster works like this only its hangars also rotate.
  • The Alcatraz: The Guardians spend some time imprisoned in The Kyln space prison and have to escape. Also counts as a Hellhole Prison, seeing as the correction officers who run the place couldn't care less if an inmate is injured or even killed by another.
    Rocket: They call the Kyln the stomach of the prison system. No matter how good you are going in, you come out pretty frickin' bad.
  • Alien Abduction: The movie begins with Peter Quill being abducted from Earth. He was actually supposed to be delivered to his father, but Yondu decided to raise him instead.
  • Alien Blood: The Xandarians look human but have blue blood.
  • Aliens Speaking English:
    • Quill's translator implant in his neck allows him and the audience by proxy to hear all the aliens around him as speaking English. This is a case of Freeze-Frame Bonus as it's only shown briefly on screen during his arrest.
    • Subverted with Groot - see Starfish Language for details.
  • Almost Kiss: Gamora and Quill. It's a textbook case in the actual movie. Although instead of pulling away, or slapping him, she pulls a knife on him.
  • AM/FM Characterization: Peter's Walkman does a lot of work characterizing him:
    • First of all, the fact that he even has a Walkman in a Space Opera setting, as well as the selection of music he has, helps mark him as a child of the Eighties, and show how he still prizes the memories of his late mother.
    • His first scene where he dances away to "Come and Get Your Love" in an abandoned ruin demonstrates that he (and the movie as a whole) is kind of irreverent, to say the least. (The trailer used "Hooked on a Feeling" to the same effect.)
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: In addition to the typical Caucasian pinkish-brown, Xandarians also come in various warm colors, ranging from yellow to pink. This may be a Shout-Out to the comics where, after the Xandarian empire was nearly wiped out and then re-established, they began taking in other refugees from planetary disasters, making the new empire and the Nova Corps a Melting Pot of various alien races.
  • American Accents: Meredith Quill (Peter's mom) lays the Southern accent on thick. Yondu also has a noticeable Southern accent. Karen Gillan, meanwhile, puts on a very generic American accent for Nebula.
  • And Starring: The film's promotional materials had "With Vin Diesel as Groot and Bradley Cooper as Rocket". During the film's actual OBB, they added "With John C Reilly, Glenn Close as Nova Prime and Benicio Del Toro as The Collector".
  • And the Adventure Continues: In the conclusion, the newly christened Guardians set off into space to do not "something good" or "something bad", but "a bit of both", while I Want You Back by the Jackson 5 plays in the background. The screen then cuts to "The Guardians of the Galaxy will return".
  • Angrish: Rocket is about to ditch the infinity stone and haul-tail to the other side of the universe and so is none too happy when Groot decides to help Drax, forcing Rocket to risk his life playing hero, or abandon his one friend.
  • Annoying Laugh: Rocket, after he hears Star-Lord's "plan."
    Quill: That's a fake laugh.
    Rocket: It's real!
    Quill: Totally fake!
    Rocket: That is the most real, authentic, hysterical laugh of my entire life!
  • Answer Cut: At Knowhere, while waiting for the Collector, Drax says, "This is no respectable establishment! What do you expect us to do while we wait?" Cut to Drax, Rocket, and Groot drinking and placing bets on small lizard creatures that are being chased and eaten by a larger alien.
  • Anti-Hero: The so-called "Guardians" are a thief, two thugs, an assassin, and a maniac. As Karen Gillan says, they're "good guys within the bad guys".
  • Anti Hero Team: The Guardians are all convicted criminals, guilty of a whole plethora of illegal activities, including murder, theft, assault, and Illegal Manipulation of a Gramosian Duchess. The start of the film even involves the lot of them being arrested.
    Star-Lord: So here we are. A thief, two thugs, an assassin, and a maniac.
  • Appropriated Appellation: The name "Guardians of the Galaxy" comes from an insult by the villain, Ronan, after he's kicked the crap out of the heroes. Peter decides to keep it.
    Peter: You said it yourself, bitch. We're the Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Arc Symbol: The Take My Hand gesture.
  • Arc Welding: Despite being a Breather Episode that doesn't even mention any of the other MCU Films, this movie does an amazing amount of World Building by introducing Celestials and giving the MacGuffins from previous movies more back story. Not to mention we are given more info on Thanos who had only been shown in the stinger for The Avengers, and was implied to be the backer behind Loki. The Yggdrasil tree's nebula that connects the Nine Realms can also be seen in many shots of space. All together this makes the movie one of the more important ones for the over all MCU story line.
  • Arc Words: "Take/Hold my hand".
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: Yondu and his motley horde of Ravagers, an entire fleet of spaceships with only one rule: steal from everybody. In the climax of the film, Peter manages to persuade Yondu to lead them into battle against Ronan.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • The Nova Corps arrested Rocket and Groot, threw them into an awful prison, apparently without trial, and left them at the mercy of the other prisoners and guards who don’t care if they live or die… but worse than that, they scrunched up Rocket's pants into a little ball, whereas they folded Quill's. That's just rude.
    • Quill and Rocket's rap sheets when they are being booked also demonstrate this.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Infinity Stone; emphasis on "doom" here.
  • Ass in Ambassador: The Kree ambassador very undiplomatically refuses to denounce Ronan's terrorist actions. Nova Prime even calls him a prick as soon as the transmission is ended.
  • Bad Boss: The Collector apparently keeps his maids as slaves and places them in cages if they don't clean well enough. (Apparently, he not only does this to punish the ones who upset him, but encourage the others not to; the maid who's working can see the caged one clearly.) This comes back to bite him at the worst possible time.
  • Badass Adorable:
    • Rocket looks like a cute little Funny Animal, but he's an ingenious, hard-core bounty hunter with a big mean streak.
    • Groot is the opposite: he looks imposing (and is extremely formidable), but regularly shows his gentle side (often to Rocket's frustration).
  • Badass Boast: Rocket gets most of them.
    • When Quill calls Rocket a raccoon, and says "that's what you are."
      Rocket: Ain't no thing like me, 'cept me.
    • Rocket gives another one to all of the prisoners in the Kyln after his buddy Groot reduces a massive, bullying convict to a sniveling heap.
      Rocket: Let's get one thing clear. This one here's our booty! You want to get to him!? You go through us! Or... more accurately... we go through you.
    • Here's another gem when Rocket tries to capture Quill's bounty.
      Rocket: I live for the simple things, like how much this is gonna hurt.
    • Groot's Catch Phrase becomes this during the prison break:
    Groot: I...AM...GROOT!!!
  • Badass Crew: The Guardians include an assassin, a brawler, and a giant tree.
  • Badass Grandpa / Cool Old Guy: Yondu is old but he can still take down an entire platoon of mooks and a ship in what is essentially one attack while standing perfectly still with a whistle-controlled arrow.
  • Badass Longcoat: Peter's is most notable, but Yondu and many of the Ravagers wear them as well. In fact, this may be the best collection of Badass Long Coats since Serenity.
  • Badass Normal: Of the entire team, Star-Lord looks to be the only one without any special powers or cybernetic enhancements, and instead relies on his cunning, smarts and array of gadgets to survive.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: Rocket attempts to have Groot do this to Star Lord. Groot mistakenly goes after Gamora. By the time Groot gets it right, the lot of them have been captured by the Nova Corps.
  • The Bait: Quill convinces Drax and the other inmates to spare Gamora, saying that if she's alive, Ronan - the guy Drax really wants - will eventually come for her. (That's why Drax comes with them too; he decides to stay by Gamora until he finds Ronan.)
  • Bait and Switch: Some dialogue in Yondu's last confrontation with Peter hints that Yondu may be Peter's father. It turns out a few minutes later that he's not: he's just an acquaintance of "that jackass".
  • Bald of Awesome: Drax the Destroyer. No hair upon his head, and none the less badass for it.
  • Bald of Evil: Nebula has no hair, and is pretty darn evil.
  • Bald Women: Peter's mother and Nebula. (Of course, Peter's mother is probably bald due to chemotherapy, not the best reason to have the Trope.)
  • Beastly Bloodsports: Seen in a bar on Knowhere. It involves betting on multiple small alien lizards that get chased and eaten by a larger alien, the last small lizard standing wins.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Averted, to an extent. Gamora gets a few scrapes and scratches, but on the other hand, she isn't marred nearly as much as logic says she should be in all this. Though she does have a healing factor in the comics so that might explain a bit.
    • Nebula's is actually shown onscreen; presumably Thanos picks his agents ("daughters") for durability.
    • Peter's mother looks remarkably healthy for a woman on her deathbed after having undergone chemotherapy in the '80s (which essentially amounted to poisoning the patient and hoping that the cancer died before she did). She still looks pale, though.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: The relationship between Star-Lord and Gamora starts out with a lot of this.
  • The Berserker: Drax. Subverted in that he's also a Cloud Cuckoolander, and can easily be distracted by Peter. Then again, distracting people may as well be Peter's superpower.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Peter Quill regards his old Walkman as sacred. Do not touch it. In the opening, we find out that Walkman contained a mixtape his late mother made for him.
    • Rocket has a short fuse in many ways. However, if you have a particular desire to be shot in the head, you could refer to him as "vermin" or "rodent" or imply that he's a non-sentient animal or lesser being. Or worse, hurt Groot.
    • Drax has a fairly straightforward berserk button: Ronan, the villain.
  • Best Served Cold: Drax's only remaining purpose in life to avenge the murders of his family. Even at the end, after Ronan is dead, he realizes that Ronan was a pawn of the one truly responsible, and now seeks revenge against Thanos.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The big, dopey, barely-verbal nice one. He is Groot.
  • BFG:
  • Big Bad: Ronan. While he's technically in service to Thanos, the latter barely shows up, and Ronan ultimately decides to betray him once he gets the Infinity Stone.
  • Bigger Bad: Thanos. Most of the film's villains act as his servants, but he's given his first speaking role in the movieverse. His Ham-to-Ham Combat with Ronan establishes it solidly: Ronan isn't exactly afraid, but he respects Thanos as even tougher and nastier.
  • Big Damn Heroes/Big Damn Villains: The Guardians and the Ravagers step up to protect Xandar before the Nova Corps can even gear up to face the threat. Rocket gets his own special moment protecting a mother and daughter who are revealed to be Rhomann Dey's wife and child.
  • Big Good: Nova Prime Rael, the leader of the Nova Corps.
  • The Big Guy: You've got two in the team. Drax is already a pretty big man himself, but Groot is bigger and can grow in size like his comic counterpart.
  • Big Guy Fatality Syndrome: Groot performs a Heroic Sacrifice to shield the other members from the Dark Aster's crash-landing.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Groot and Rocket, respectively. Groot is a giant. Like ten feet tall or something in that area, while Rocket is the size of a raccoon, which is to say, quite small.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Peter gets an especially harrowing one after his mother's death.
    • Gamora also gets a few: when Nebula seems to fall to her death and when Quill is about to grab the Infinity Stone.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Rocket and Groot understand each other fine... even though Groot can only say "I am Groot."
    Groot: I am Groot.
  • Bioluminescence is Cool: Groot expels glowing seed pods that light up a darkened chamber at one point.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology:
    • Rocket looks like a regular earth raccoon, but is tough enough to hoist a gun bigger than he is and shoot it without breaking his arms. Also... he can talk. It's eventually revealed that he actually was an ordinary animal-alien-conspicuously-similar-to-a-raccoon who was brutally experimented upon until he became what he is now.
    • Groot is a sentient plant who talks only in Pokémon Speak and can spontaneously grow his limbs, extend spines or vines from his body, or release glowing spores. Still-living fragments of Groot can even grow into a new Groot with fertile soil and a little time.
  • Black and Gray Morality: There's no doubt the baddies are on the side of evil since Thanos is their big boss. However, the "good guys" have done morally questionable things.
  • Blood Bath: Ronan is shown in the beginning to be emerging from a pool of dark red liquid, which is later filled by the blood spilling out of the Nova Corps. member he kills, suggesting this.
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Several characters fall prey to this (Peter is the only Terran around, after all), but Drax is especially bad. They tend to go over his head. He also doesn't know the "finger slicing throat" gesture.
  • Body Horror:
    • Rocket's back is hairless, scarred, and has strange cybernetic implants along his spine. Quill is pretty disturbed when he sees it.
    • Nebula has extensive body modifications. After Drax shoots her with a BFG, she collapses into a twisted mess but almost immediately gets back up with her body parts clicking back into place with the appropriately squicky sound effects
    • Gamora has similar modifications as Nebula, being another "daughter of Thanos". The markings around her face are in fact bits of the cybernetics showing through. Her modifications might be less extensive, since she lacks the more obvious cybernetics that are seen on Nebula's forearms, or that might just mean that Nebula lost her arms entirely at one point and had to get them replaced.
  • Boldly Coming: If Quill is to be believed, he hasn't let the fact that he's the only Earth-human around prevent him having a full and satisfying sex life.
  • Breather Episode: Directly following Captain America: The Winter Soldier's Wham Episode and preceding the Darker and Edgier The Avengers: Age of Ultron, this one is a straightforward Space Opera, one of the most humorous and silly films in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Quill is finally acknowledged as Star-Lord by Korath at the end.
      Korath: Star-Lord.
      Quill: Finally!
    • Peter's reference to Kevin Bacon in Footloose is repeated by Gamora during the film's climax.
    • Peter's "finger to the throat" gag to Drax.
    • While visiting the Broker on Xandar, Yondu examines some trinkets and imagines lining them up on his dashboard (and indeed, later we see said figures lined on the dashboard of his ship, and him recovering them when said ship crashes) At the end of the movie, what's his ultimate reward for deciding to help the heroes save the planet? A Troll doll. He seems to genuinely enjoy it.
    • Rocket claims he needs one more thing to complete their plan to take down Ronan… That guy’s eye!
  • The Bridge: The Dark Aster has an incredibly dark and creepy "evil temple" version, with a thronelike command chair, and a row of Mooks controlling the ship using glowing energy balls.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center:
    • Rocket is a fluffy little ball of irritability, hatefulness and bloodlust. But the apparent death of Groot reduces him to sobbing like a small child.
    Rocket: I called him an idiot...
    • Drax really misses his family and it becomes clear that his belligerence is the only thing keeping him up.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Rocket, when he starts mocking Drax for revealing their location to Ronan.
    Rocket: Oh, "boo-hoo-hoo, my wife and child are dead."
    Groot: [gasps]
    Rocket: I don't care if it's mean! We all got dead people! That's no excuse to get other people dead along the way!
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Ronan to Drax. Later subverted, as Ronan does recall every gruesome detail. He just needed his memory jogged.
    Ronan: I do not recall killing your family. And... I doubt I will remember killing you.
  • Butt Monkey: Peter Quill. He gets his ass kicked quite a bit here.
  • Call Back: The appearance of the Tesseract and the Aether as Infinity Stones.
  • Calling Me a Logarithm: Drax has a problem with metaphors.
    "Do not call me a thesaurus!"
  • The Cameo: Lots.
    • Howard the Duck shows up in in The Stinger, voiced by Seth Green.
    • The pink skinned space babe that Quill has in his ship early on identifies herself as Bereet, who in the comics was a supporting character and brief love interest of The Hulk.
    • The Celestial Eson the Searcher appears in one of the Collector's holograms wielding an Infinity Stone.
    • Lloyd Kaufman is in an inmate in a blink-and-you'll miss it cameo (he's the conspicuously old guy leaning on the railing).
    • Stan Lee pops up as a Xandarian apparently trying to pick up a lady.
    • Nathan Fillion is the voice of the big alien inmate that Groot defeats. His presence also counts as a bit of an in-joke given the spiritual similarities between this movie and Fillion's Firefly.
    • Rob Zombie 'appears' as the voice of the Ravager Navigator.
    • Cosmo, the Russian Cosmonaut dog from the 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy relaunch, appears in the Collector's shop. He also shows up in The Stinger.
    • Adam Warlock's regenerative cocoon also appears in the Collector's shop. Those who paid careful attention in the Howard the Duck scene will notice that the cocoon has hatched.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor:
    • Rocket's tongue is loosened considerably when he's had a few; he loses his Deadpan Snarker attitude and turns downright mean when insulted at such times. It also loosens his unshakeable facade as he reveals both his extensive mental scars (becoming what you are now by being repeatedly vivisected and reconstructed has to have been immensely traumatic) and his belief that most people see him as some grotesque, unnatural freak. Justified: with his much smaller body mass, he'll be affected harder and faster by alcohol than humanoids.
    • Drax outdoes Rocket in drunk stupidity: he drunk-called Ronan to tell him where they are, and gets his ass kicked.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Cain and Abel: Nebula is the Cain to Gamora's Abel. Its played with a bit though, Gamora shows genuine affection for Nebula and spends a bit of their every confrontation trying to get Nebula to side with her. Nebula claims that of their many "siblings" she hates Gamora the least.
  • The Cavalry: During the climactic battle, the Nova Corps arrives to assist the Guardians and The Ravagers to stop Ronan. Granted, it shouldn't have been a surprise, since they were fighting to protect the Nova Corps' homeworld.
  • Character Development: A lot, fitting the mold for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Quill's mix tape comes in handy when he has to distract Ronan.
    • The Collector mentions how a group of aliens once tried to share the power of the Infinity stone. Guess what happens near the very end of the film? The Collector also mentions that that group of aliens eventually succumbed to the power anyway. Good thing the Guardians only did it for a few seconds before sealing the Infinity Gem.
    • Groot's regenerative abilities.
    • Several times during the film, Yondu threatens someone with a nasty-looking weapon, a single arrow that he controls by whistling. He doesn't actually use it and reveal (to the viewers) exactly how it works until the climax, when he is able to use it to impale about two-dozen of Ronan's Mooks and destroy one of their fighter ships in one throw, and then catch it again.
    • The Treasure Troll figure shows up during Quill's escape sequence in the beginning, floating up by the camera when the ship was falling.
    • The Hadron Enforcer.
  • Chekhov's News: The news report about the riots in the Kree Empire that Bereet listens to aboard the Milano.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Thanos has a severe inverted case of this going on in this film: Ronan makes a deal with Thanos, and Thanos sends Nebula and Gamora to keep an eye on him and make sure he stays true to it. That's fine, except that Gamora hates all of them and wants to get away from all of them while Ronan decides to double-cross Thanos and Nebula decides to go along with him on it on the condition that Ronan use the Infinity Gem to kill Thanos.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Groot, being a sentient tree, is expected to be a little less-than-rational, but Drax is shaping up to be the antithesis of the brooding, revenge-driven psychopath, and instead is a ditzy revenge-driven psychopath.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Quill uses a pair of jet boots that allow him to fly, as well as a helmet that provides oxygen and life support.
  • Cold Opening: The first scene, in which Peter gets abducted by aliens immediately after seeing his mother die, happens even before the Marvel Studios Vanity Plate.
  • Collapsible Helmet: Quill's breathing mask/helmet/AR goggles. As a rogue scavenger, having a quickly-deployable multi-purpose hazmat mask presumably comes in handy rather a lot — it certainly does more than once in the film.
  • Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Regularly Played for Laughs.
    • The only one who uses the superhero name Peter Quill made for himself, "Star-Lord", is him — everyone else is distinctly unimpressed. Quill is delighted when Korath refers to him by the name towards the end.
      Rhomann Dey: Peter Jason Quill. Also known as "Star-Lord."
      Nova Corps Officer: Who calls him that?
      Rhomann: Himself, mostly.
    • The movie does it even better, when Quill tries to explain the distinction between a code name and an outlaw name.
      Rhomann Dey: Oh look, it's "Star-Prince."
      Quill: Oh come on man, its Star-Lord. Take it seriously. It's like my outlaw name.
      Rhomann: No, it's cool, I can see why you'd want a code name. It's not weird at all.
    • The team doesn't get the name Guardians of the Galaxy until the end, when Ronan mockingly dubs them such. They spend most of the film without a name.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Happens frequently with Drax, due to his ignorance of the concept of metaphors.
    • Also happens with Rhomann Dey: when delivering Peter's warning of Ronan's invasion, concluding with Peter's admission of being an "A-hole" but also stating that he is not "100% a dick", Nova Prime asks "do you believe him?". Rhomann replies that he does not believe that anyone is 100% a dick.
    • Another one occurs near the end of the movie, when Rocket and Drax ask Rhomann about how far they can push their now-expunged criminal records. "Say someone does something irksome. And I rip out his spine. Would I be arrested?" And Rocket asks, rather insistently, whether it really counts as theft he wants the object more than its rightful owner does.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Collector's HQ is full of this: In the background, we see a Dark Elf in one of the cages, and a Chitauri in another.
    • When discussing the Infinity Stones, we briefly see holograms of the Tesseract from The Avengers and the Aether from Thor: The Dark World.
    • Tony and Pepper were having twelve percent of a moment; Quill has twelve percent of a plan.
    • Rocket is from Keystone, as in the comics. He's also an expert in escaping from custody; In the comics, he was created specifically to be a guard at a maximum security insane asylum and stop escapes.
    • When six-year-old Star-Lord gets beamed up by Ravagers, the tractor beam thingie uses the same "Aurora Borealis" color scheme as the Bifrost from the Thor movies.
  • Contrasting Franchise Main Characters: As opposed to the conflicted but ultimately good guys of the prior Marvel movies, these guys start from the other end of the spectrum and work their way to becoming good guys.
  • Contrived Coincidence: When his mother died, Peter Quill stumbled outside the hospital and was abducted by aliens within a minute. Subverted later, when an off-hand line by Yondu makes it clear that they had been hired to bring Quill to his father. They just thought it would be more fun to adopt him.
  • Conveniently Empty Building: Justified, since Nova Prime orders the evacuation of Xandar’s capital city as the battle commences. By the time the Dark Aster crashes into it the evacuation is already complete (and Rocket, who'd been covering the evacuation from his fighter, informed the rest of the team of this in an earlier scene).
  • Cool Helmet: Star-Lord, as always, can be seen sporting his distinctive helmet that collapses behind his ear and contains all sorts of scanning technology and a respirator.
  • Cool Starship:
    • The Milano. What makes it different from most starships is mostly the interior which contains various pop culture references to The Eighties, including a tape deck. (The name is also a stealth '80s reference.)
    • Then there's the villain's ship, the three-kilometer long Dark Aster.
  • Corrupt Cop: While most of the Nova Corps are decent people just doing their job, Rocket makes it clear that the Kyln is where the most corrupt of them go; he claims they couldn't care less what happens to the inmates, so long as nothing happens that they'll get in trouble for. (Like a prison break.) When Gamora is caught by a group of vengeful inmates, one of the guards tells the group to take her down to the showers because it'll take hours to get the blood out otherwise. Considering that Ronan orders the station "cleansed" it can be assumed that they're all killed.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Collector. Gamora points out that the profitable mining operations that the Tivan Group is conducting to extract the organic materials from Knowhere are highly dangerous and highly illegal.
  • Covered In Scars:
    • Close-ups on Gamora show that her body has a lot of scar tissue.
    • Rocket's back is a mess of surgical scars.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Quill distracts Ronan while Rocket prepares a breaking into song and dance. Ronan is so bewildered by this that it actually works.
    • The entire film could be considered an example.
  • Crazy Cultural Comparison: Drax misunderstanding Quill's body language. Although justified in that not everyone in the galaxy would be familiar with or aware of Earth customs. The "finger on the throat" gesture seems fairly universal (Rocket, Gamora, and a random thug all understand it), but other things are specific to Earth.
    Drax: Why would I put my finger on his throat?

    Gamora: Who put the sticks in their butts? That is cruel.
  • Credits Gag: "No raccoons or tree creatures were harmed during the making of this film."
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Quill is a bit of a goofball and doesn't always think things through, but he is actually extremely competent (and becomes even moreso over the course of the movie), a great pilot with extensive knowledge of ships, and very good at thinking on his feet - which helps given that he's constantly getting himself into trouble. In the beginning of the movie, it was almost a running gag for Quill to pretend to be weaker and more compliant than he actually was, only to strike when his enemy's guard is down. This comes back in the climax, as well.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Drax's fight with Ronan on Knowhere is completely one-sided. Drax is utterly beaten while Ronan doesn't break a sweat.
    • After his ship crashes, Yondu must face a regiment of soldiers backed up by an armored ship. He slaughters them all with contemptuous ease.
  • Cyborg:
    • Rocket Raccoon is an illegal experiment in cybernetics, and his cyborg parts are visible when he's not wearing clothes.
    • Nebula has a cybernetic eye and arm.
    • Korath has visible machinery sticking out of his head.
    • Yondu whistles to his arrow for our benefit — he's actually controlling it with the implant on top of his skull, which glows brightly when the arrow is active.

    D - J 
  • Dare to Be Badass/Misfit Mobilization Moment:
    • How Peter convinces his criminal cohorts to protect the MacGuffin from Nebula and Ronan.
    Peter: I look around, and you know what I see? Losers! [beat] I mean, like, folks who have lost stuff. Our homes, our families. And we're facing a threat that could destroy us all. ...But life is giving us a chance.
    • During the defense of Xandar, Denarian Saal tells Quill he advised against the Nova Corps trusting the Guardians — and then asks that they prove his assumptions wrong.
  • Dark Action Girl: Nebula, a deadly female assassin.
  • Deadly Euphemism/Inferred Holocaust: Ronan orders his mooks to "cleanse" the Kyln prison before the Nova Corps can arrive.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Peter and Gamora are good contenders, but Rocket grabs the trophy with both paws and runs off with it.
    Rocket: Ah, What the hell? I don't got that long a lifespan anyway.
  • Death by Adaptation: Big Bad Ronan and the Collector's assistant, Carina, both die in the film. In the original Marvel comics, they're still very much alive (and Ronan is even the current Kree Emperor, while Carina isn't merely the Collector's assistant but his daughter).
  • Demolitions Expert: Rocket can build super-weapons out of crap Quill just has lying around, whether this is warranted or not.
    Rocket Raccoon: That's for if you wanna blow up moons.
    Gamora: No one's blowing up moons!
    Rocket Raccoon: You just wanna suck the joy out of everything.
  • Demoted to Extra: Bereet, who was a fairly important supporting character in The Incredible Hulk comic book for a while, makes a cameo appearance in the beginning of the movie. Aside from the name and the pink skin, there's nothing left of the original character; her role in the movie is reduced to being Quill's Girl of the Week.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Gamora versus Nebula on the Dark Aster.
  • Dirty Old Man: Stan Lee is credited as the "Xandarian Ladies' Man" in the credits. This is backed by Rocket's commentary about him.
  • Disney Death: Groot. Justified by the fact that he can regenerate.
  • Disney Villain Death: Nebula initially appears to be killing herself this way after rejecting Gamora's Take My Hand, but it turns out to be a Screw This, I'm Outta Here!.
  • Disco Dan: Peter; it's hard to keep up to date with modern trends on Earth when he hasn't been on Earth since The Eighties.
  • The Ditz: Of all people, Drax, the big guy with muscles and scary tattoos, has no idea what metaphors are, and makes frequent Breathless Non Sequiturs.
  • Do-Anything Robot: While organic, Groot is essentially this.
  • The Dog Bites Back: The Collector really should have known better than to leave his abused and belittled servant within arm's reach of an Infinity Stone...
  • Downer Beginning: The beginning of the film shows Peter Quill as a child dealing with his mother passing away, just before he gets abducted by aliens. It's as traumatic as it sounds.
  • The Dragon: Korath to Ronan, and Nebula and Gamora to Thanos. Gamora, though, betrays both of them early on, and Nebula becomes Ronan's dragon after he acquires the power of the infinity stone.
  • Drop the Hammer: Much like in the comics, Ronan wields a large warhammer.
  • Drunk with Power:
    • Rocket sounds like he just creamed his pants when he picks up a gun bigger than he is. Which is all of them.
    • Ronan when he takes the infinity stone for himself.
  • Dual Wielding: A bunch of characters do this: Star-Lord has his twin pistols, Nebula has kali-like sticks, and Drax has two knives.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: An In-Universe example when Groot let out a shocked gasp after Rocket mocked over Drax's dead family.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Nobody knows who Star-Lord is, and the team is regarded mostly as "a bunch of a-holes", even though they are trying to keep a reality-destroying MacGuffin from one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Though to be fair to the Nova Corps, all they know about the protagonists for most of the movie is that they're a bunch of lawbreaking miscreants. And a notorious assassin.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Collector showed up during The Stinger of Thor: The Dark World before appearing here.
  • Enemy Civil War/Evil Versus Evil: Ronan eventually cuts his ties with Thanos, thinking that the Infinity Gem gives him all the power he needs on his own.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • One that doubles for both Peter Quill and the movie as a whole! He shows up on a deserted planet, walks into an ancient temple full of death traps and monsters... and puts on his Walkman, and starts dancing as he walks around whilst casually kicking lizards away to the music. He even picks up one of them and pretends its a microphone, all while it´s screaming, struggling, and trying to bite him in the face.
    • Because Ronan has such little screentime to himself and yet is built up as a mass-murdering zealot, to help mitigate the Show, Don't Tell problem his first scene builds up to him brutally murdering a Nova Corps member by bashing his head in with his hammer and how the treaty between Xandar and the Kree means nothing to him.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Peter comments about this when Gamora mentions how filthy his ship is.
    Peter: She has no idea. Shine a blacklight in here and the place will look like a Jackson Pollock painting.
    Rocket: You got issues, Quill.
  • Every Scar Has A Story: Peter over-shares to Drax regarding some of his sexploit-related scars.
  • Evil Gloating: Ronan the Accuser just has to make a speech before doing something particularly evil, even to those whom he is about to annihilate. This compulsion gives the Guardians enough time to improvise a counterattack.
  • Evil Is Hammy:
    • Ronan is so over the top that by the end, he's just chewing up all the scenery that wasn't destroyed by his attacks.
    • Nebula also has her definite moments of ham.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Ronan, Nebula, and Thanos.
  • Evil Wears Black: Ronan wears black robes and armor rather than his green outfit from the comics.
  • Exiled from Continuity: The Badoon (recurring enemies of the Guardians in the comics) couldn't be used since their rights belong to Fox's Fantastic Four franchise, even though supplementary material has established their existence in the MCU. The Sakaarans were used as Suspiciously Similar Substitutes to fill the gap. The same goes for the Kree's enemy the Skrull, which they usually war with, that are tied to the Fantastic Four as well.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: A Running Gag, starting from when Quill introduces himself as the notorious outlaw Star Lord, only to find no-one knows who he is, and culminating when Quill interrupts the Big Bad's Evil Gloating by challenging him to a dance-off.
  • Fanservice: Chris Pratt in nothing but boxers or the lingering shots of Zoe Saldana's rear. The girl left on Quill's ship at the beginning had no pants or shoes on.
  • The Federation: Compared to the Kree, Xandar is this. Interestingly, Xandar is also the capital of the Nova Empire.
  • Female Gaze: Enter the adult Peter, headphones on, a tight below-the waist shot showcasing his Elvis Presley dance moves. He also has a rather nice Shirtless Scene later on - despite being covered in some weird carrot-juice-esque delousing solution as he's being put in prison.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The titular guardians started as attempting to hurt and kill each other and ended-up as genuine True Companions.
  • Flipping the Bird: Peter does an extended version to the Nova officers who are processing him in after arresting him: he mimes cranking one hand open with the other so the middle finger is extended, then apologetically confesses incomprehension of how the "thing" works and repeatedly fails to tuck the finger back in, flipping them off several more times.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Peter's mother implies Peter's alien parentage (and Yondu's reason for taking Peter) early in the movie, as she describes his fathers as "an angel that came down from the stars", and that said father was going to come get Peter when she's gone.
    • Possibly when officer Dey mis-remembers Peter's moniker as "Star-Prince". In the comic canon, Peter's father is royalty on the planet Spartax, so Peter is a prince.
    • Also, Peter alludes to the importance of dancing to fight against people who have sticks up their asses. It is important as a distraction in the end against Ronan.
    • The appearance of the Infinity Stones as explained by the Collector to Quill, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot. There's even more foreshadowing: the Collector says that the Stones were temporarily all gathered and held by a group, foreshadowing the other Guardians saving Quill from succumbing to the Infinity Stone's power and letting them all use it to kill Ronan.
    • The Collector requesting consent from Groot to "donate" his remains to his collection in the event of his death.
    • Drax manning the Hadron Enforcer.
    • While discussing what the Orb is, Peter suggests it might be a weapon whereupon Drax immediately states that they should use it against Ronan. As it turns out, it is a very powerful weapon and they do end up using it to kill Ronan.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus
    • The computer's data stream in the lineup scene provides some interesting information about the cast. (Rocket Raccoon bites.)
    • The Stinger has a hint given away because Howard the Duck is in a cage over the Collector's shoulder when the Guardians go meet him.
    • An alien from James Gunn's Slither can be seen in one of the Collector's cages.
    • What might be Beta Ray Bill can also be spotted in the background in the Collector's abode.
  • Friend on the Force: Rhomann Dey becomes one for Peter Quill, as he vouches for Peter and his allies when they warn the Nova Corps of Ronan's plans. He also helps rebuild the Milano and informs the Guardians that their records have been cleaned. Peter in turn promises Dey that he will look after them and keep them out of trouble.
  • From a Single Cell: Groot can be regrown from a twig even if that's all that is left of him. After Groot's Heroic Sacrifice, Rocket sticks one of his remaining branches in a pot with some dirt and very quickly a cute little face can be seen growing on it.
  • Funny Animal:
    • Rocket Raccoon — for a given value of "funny" and "animal". Also a Deconstructed Trope, as he's like this due to multiple painful experiments performed on him.
    • Howard the Duck makes a cameo.
  • Funny Background Event: As Rocket argues with Quill and Gamora about a hard-to-get component for his escape plan, Groot just walks over, grows his arms and legs to reach it, and grabs it, knocking out a random prisoner in the process. Meanwhile, Drax has wandered over and simply watches Groot the whole time. Then Rocket, still unaware, gets to the part about how they absolutely mustn't get that component before everything else is ready, as it will set off the alarm...
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Rocket, who despite his trauma, is capable of understanding weaponry to the point of being able to design superior ones out of his head on the fly, out of junk he finds lying around.
  • Gas Mask, Longcoat: Quill's scavenger garb at the start of the film, and again any time he deploys his Collapsible Helmet.
  • The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: Quill may be a Disco Dan, but he knows a lot about the '70s and '80s for a guy who hasn't seen Earth since he was a kid. You'd think more of his pop culture references would be to cartoons and other kid stuff.
  • Gentle Giant: Groot looks pretty docile and peaceful when he's not completely enraged. There is a charming moment when he gives a flower, which he grew out of his own hand, to a little girl on Knowhere.
  • Genre Savvy: When informed of Ronan's plan to attack Xandar Nova Prime orders the evacuation of Xandar's capital city, ensuring that most of the buildings destroyed as a result are empty.
  • "Get Out of Jail Free" Card: The heroes have their criminal records deleted at the end as a reward for saving the day, although Dey does warn them they won't be exempt if they start trouble again.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar
    • In the trailers, when Star-Lord flips off the Nova Corps, the local computer system catches on and throws up a holographic blur filter, complete with a tooltip explaining "Obscene Gesture Imminent." It's uncensored in the actual film.
    • A tough convict at the Kyln gets in Peter's face and begins stroking his face and gloating about the things he'll do to him. It's very clear that had Rocket and Groot not taken him under their protection (if only to collect on his bounty), Peter's stay at the Kyln would have been very traumatic.
    • Peter's comment about about his ship looking like a "Jackson Pollock painting" if put under blacklight (with appropriately disgusted reaction from Rocket) is a particularly audacious example. Marvel movies aren't particularly wholesome, but a joke that implies the protagonist's ship is covered with semen stains is definitely pushing its PG-13 rating.
  • The Ghost: Peter Quill's father never appears in the movie, despite being mentioned a number of times. This is because he's an alien. Peter's mother refers to him as being "an angel", while Yondu and the Ravagers call him "a jackass".
  • Glory Hound: Peter Quill regards himself as a legendary outlaw. Unfortunately, no one's ever heard of him.
  • Global Currency: "Units" seem to be the currency of choice by everyone in the galaxy.
  • Go Look at the Distraction: Just as Ronan's about to destroy Xandar, Quill starts singing "O-o-h Child" by Five Stairsteps and dancing around on the pretense of challenging him to a dance-off; Ronan actually has to be told that Quill's just distracting him.
    "I'm distracting you, you big turd blossom."
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: In spite of some misgivings, both Ravagers and Nova Force alike are talked into joining up with the Guardians for the final battle.
  • Good Costume Switch:
    • Gamora also picks up a Ravager dark red Badass Longcoat before the final battle.
    • After they defeat Ronan, Gamora dresses in a more feminine miniskirt.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal:
    • Groot can heal well enough that he can even regrow lost arms. This comes in handy when he's blasted to splinters by Ronan's ship crashing.
    • Nebula also displayed this ability when she took a direct hit from a rocket.
  • Green Thumb: Besides the ability to extend and regenerate himself due to his Plant Alien biology, Groot can also grow other plant parts from his body. This includes a flower that he gives to a street urchin on Knowhere, and glowing spores that he releases to provide light when the Guardians are on the Dark Aster and when he is cocooning them from its crash.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Many throughout the film. Some notable examples.
    • Gamora is literally green.
    • Her sister Nebula sports blue skin.
    • Ophelia Lovibond plays a pink-skinned assistant to the Collector.
    • Rhomann Dey's wife, and thus their daughter as well, are fuchsia. As is Bereet, Peter's one night stand.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body:
    • Drax does this several times during a prison break.
    • Groot does this also, in a much later fight. Specifically, by growing out a limb, impaling a row of mooks with it, and whipping the entire mass into two other rows of mooks.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Peter's father is an unknown alien, which explains why he can withstand the Stone's power and why the Ravagers kidnapped him.
  • Hand or Object Underwear: Rocket uses his prison clothes for this before he gets a chance to actually put them on.
  • The Heart: James Gunn has stated that Groot is this for the team. However, it's Quill that brings the team together and Groot is the glue that makes them all stick.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Gamora betrayed her family (namely, her adopted father Thanos and adopted sister Nebula) to aid the Guardians.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Though Star-Lord has a helmet, he leaves it in its compact form as much as possible unless he's actually in the midst of a fight, or a hard vacuum.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Rocket! He loves to dish out pain, especially to those larger than himself (which is nearly everyone).
    Rocket: I live for the simple things... like how much this is going to hurt!
  • Heroic Sacrifice: A lot of the Nova Corps die to save Xandar from Ronan's fleet. Groot as well. But don't worry, he gets better.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Rocket and Groot as in the comics.
  • Hidden Depths: Yondu constantly tells Peter that Yondu's crew had picked up Quill in 1988 because they wanted to eat the boy, but that Yondu stopped them because he thought Peter had potential. Yondu was actually hired to take Quill to his dad, but decided Peter would be better off with the Ravagers than Peter's Jerkass real father.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Rocket's attempt to re-program the security computer at the Kyln involves gutting and re-wiring the command console under considerable pressure.
  • Honey Trap: Rocket suggests Gamora does this to get some components for his escape plan.
    Gamora: How are we supposed to do that?
    Rocket: Well supposedly these bald-bodies find you attractive, so maybe you can work out some sorta trade.
    Gamora: You must be joking.
    Rocket: No. I really heard they find you attractive.
  • Human Aliens: The vast majority of aliens shown simply look like humans with hair dye, body paint, and/or colored contact lenses. Xandarians and whatever race inhabited the planet where Quill finds the Orb just look like perfectly normal humans; the latter even had pet dogs.
  • Human Mom Non Human Dad: Peter, true to the comics.
  • Humans by Any Other Name: Quill is called a Terran.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Drax bluntly calls Gamora a whore, but moments later he shoots Nebula for insulting her.
    Drax: No one talks to my friends like that.
  • I Can Rule Alone: Ronan's deal with Thanos falls through when Ronan decides that, rather than give the Infinity Stone to Thanos in return for the destruction of Xandar, he can keep the stone, destroy Xandar on his own, and then take down Thanos for good measure.
  • I Can't Dance: In a brief moment when they aren't fighting or being chased by anyone, Quill tells Gamora the importance of his Walkman, and she replies by saying this (technically, she says "I don't dance", but it's likely not a skill she was ever taught anyway) meaning that, as a warrior, she doesn't engage in such frivolous hobbies. Quill's response is to briefly describe the plot of Footloose.
  • Ill Girl: Meredith Quill. She died in the beginning of the movie.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Yondu likes to remind Peter that his crew was originally planning to eat him when they first picked him up, and Yondu was the one who convinced them otherwise. Peter, however, treats the claim for what it is: a joke that overstayed its welcome by more than two decades.
    Quill: Oh will you shut up about that? God, twenty years you've been throwing that in my face. Like it's some great thing, not eating me! Normal people don't even think about eating someone else, much less that person having to be grateful for it!
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Groot of all people does this in the final assault when he impales a row of around six mooks with one of his arms, then uses them to smash into the row of mooks next to them.
  • Improvised Weapon: Quill punches people with his hefty looking pistols as often as he shoots them.
  • Indy Ploy:
    • The revelation and argument over Peter's 'plan' is an entire scene on its own.
      Peter: I have a plan.
      Rocket: You've got a plan?!
      Peter: I have part of a plan!
      Drax: What percentage of a plan?
      Peter: ...Twelve percent?
      Rocket: Twelve percent?!
      Gamora: That's barely a concept.
    • Just as it appears Ronan is about to win, the team manages to wordlessly cobble together a plan to stop him. While Rocket gets the Hadron Enforcer working, Quill distracts Ronan by challenging him to a dance-off, baffling the Kree fanatic long enough for Drax to fire the weapon at Ronan's hammer and separate him from the Infinity Stone.
    • In general, about 90% of what Peter does in the movie is thought up on the spot with very little (if any) pre-planning. He basically is Indiana Jones the Space Pirate.
  • Inelegant Blubbering:
    • Earlier, Groot sticks his "fingers" into the nostrils of a large convict that rather implied committing Prison Rape on Peter, and lifts him into the air by his nose. The flagrant sobbing the convict did huddled up after Groot drops him to the ground lets one infer how painful that was.
    • Rocket after Groot's sacrifice. It's not funny. Not at all.
  • Institutional Apparel: Prisoners in the Kyln Space Prison wear yellow t-shirts and pants, with some variation. Gamora gets a sleevless top, Drax, naturally, doesn't bother with the shirt, and Groot (who can't even attempt to pass for humanoid) doesn't wear anything.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Anytime Earth is mentioned after the prologue, it's as Terra. Likewise, Quill isn't refered to as human, but Terran.
    • Inverted with Rocket, who insists that he's not a racoon (or any other animal).
  • In Vino Veritas: It takes getting hammered for Rocket to convey his misery about his origins and how he's viewed as a rodent or vermin by others.
  • I Resemble That Remark: Drax denies any possibility that a metaphor would 'go over his head':
    Drax: Nothing goes over my head! My reflexes are too fast. I will catch it!
  • It Amused Me: Rocket tells Quill to get a prisoner's prosthetic leg for his escape plan. It turns out the leg is completely unnecessary and he only asked for it because he thought it would be funny.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Rhomann Dey uses "it" to refer to Groot and Rocket.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Rocket at one point mocks Drax over him still mourning the death of his family. But as he pointed out, it wasn't enough of an excuse to get other people killed in the process.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • The entire team according to James Gunn - save Groot, who's gentle-natured to begin with. They may all be criminals, but they're still willing to stick their necks out if it means protecting billions of innocents.
    • Yondu too. One of the Ravagers accuses Yondu as "always being soft on that boy," which Yondu vehemently denies; yet he basically jumps at the chance to forgive all and bring Quill back on board as soon as he offers a deal, and even smiles fondly when he realizes that Quill has cheated him of his prize by swapping out a troll doll for the Infinity Gem.

    K - R 
  • Killed Off for Real: Ronan, Korath, and Saal.
  • Knife Nut: Drax has a penchant for knives.
    Drax: I like your knife. I'm keeping it.
    Thug: ...That was my favorite knife.
  • Lampshade Hanging: A huge part of this film's appeal is that it's incredibly self-aware and acknowledges the various tropes of superhero movie, using them with winks and nods rather than playing them straight.
  • The Lancer: Gamora is this with occasional shades of The Heart. Her ruthless pragmatism contrasts Star-Lord's jokey and well-meaning antics, and her altruistic motives put her at odds with everyone else on the team at first.
  • Large Ham: To call Lee Pace's rendition of Ronan the Accuser one is like saying that the universe is "not little" - an understatement so wildly, incomprehensibly huge that it's almost kind of humbling to see it unleashed.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The guard in the Kyln that leaves Gamora to the prisoner ends up being the guard she rips a security armband from.
  • Last of His Kind: When Gamora is incarcerated, her profile states her to be the last survivor of the Zen Whoberi people.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others:
    Quill: I come from Earth, a planet of outlaws: Billy the Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, John Stamos...
    Drax: Sounds like a place which I would like to visit.
  • Last-Second Chance: Gamora offers Nebula the chance to join them and help them bring down Ronan. Nebula refuses and opts to get the hell out of dodge instead.
  • The Leader: Peter Quill/Star-Lord, headstrong and charismatic and responsible for forming the team. The ending implies he becomes The Heart as well.
  • Lecture As Exposition: The Collector explains what the powerful artifacts that have shown up in the previous films are.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Groot becomes one accidentally when Rocket plans their escape from the prison (he doesn't listen long enough to hear Rocket tell everyone they must get the hardest component for their escape last, and as a result, grabs it first) which forces the other four members to assume this Trope, more or less. unlike most examples, they still succeed.
  • Left the Background Music On: All of the source music songs in the movie are provided via Quill's mix tape.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: When the team first begins to meet up with one another, we get treated to a three-way fight between Quill, Gamora, and a Rocket/Groot tag team. Not to be outdone, Drax attempts to kill Gamora when they first meet but it's not much of a brawl. And at Knowhere, Drax fights Groot and a drunk Rocket.
  • Lighter and Softer: While most of the MCU movies have had varying degrees of humor in their films, this one focuses on comedy and the whimsical a lot more.
  • List of Transgressions: The first trailer gives us a pretty long rundown on the crimes and misdemeanours that the team has collected over their careers.
  • Literal-Minded: Drax comes from a culture that never developed metaphors. This makes Drax suffer from nearly constant Blunt Metaphors Trauma.
    Rocket: His people are completely literal. Metaphors are gonna go over his head.
    Drax: Nothing goes over my head! My reflexes are too fast. I will catch it!
  • Lock and Load Montage:
    • Peter donning his Star-Lord gear onboard the Milano.
    • The entire team gets one during their planning of the breach and invasion of Ronan's ship.
  • Loveable Rogue: Peter is a thief and a criminal, but ultimately has a noble heart, and he's the one who brings the team together.
  • Made of Iron: All the major characters get knocked around quite a bit, but special mention goes to Rocket: physically the weakest, but is able to survive getting thrown and blasted long distances and crashing a ship with the only effect being getting temporarily knocked out by the latter. Ditto for Yondu who crashes in the climax hard enough to completely annihilate his ship yet gets out without injury.
  • Make Way For The New Villains: Ronan offhandedly kills the Other, Thanos' representative from The Avengers, for annoying him during his meeting with Thanos. This requires Thanos to speak for himself: and does he ever!
  • Male Gaze: The camera (and Peter) sure love to focus on Gamora's nice ass. And to some extent, her sister, Nebula.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Thanos, who offers Ronan his aid in destroying the Nova Corps in exchange for Ronan tracking down the Infinity Stones for him.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Take my hand."
  • Meaningful Name: Star-Lord. It was Quill's mom's Affectionate Nickname for him.
  • Mêlée à Trois: How Peter, Rocket, Groot, and Gamora meet. Peter is walking through a park when bounty hunters Rocket and Groot recognize him and try to grab him. Thief/assassin Gamora just wants the orb he's carrying.
  • Memento Macguffin: Quill's Sony Walkman cassette player — or, more specifically, the "Awesome mix part 1" tape inside. It inspires him to start a dance-off with Ronan at the film's climax.
  • Mickey Mousing: According to James Gunn, composer Tyler Bates wrote some of the score before the film entered production so that Gunn could film to the music.
  • Mighty Glacier: Groot is actually strong and tough, but not fast.
  • Minidress of Power: Gamora wears one at the end of the film as her new "Guardian" uniform.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: To the tune of "Cherry Bomb"
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Three examples.
    • Carina after being threatened with being rendered part of his collection by The Collector takes the opportunity to seize the infinity stone rather than live as his slave, knowing that it will destroy her, and in the process destroys a huge chunk of his collection and denies him the second stone.
    • Both Gamora and Nebula seem to hate Thanos for (in Gamora's case that we know of, possibly Nebula's too) killing her family, and being reshaped into weapons to serve him. Gamora betrays him to keep the orb away from him, and Nebula sides with the genocidal Ronan because he's going to use his new power against Thanos next.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: Softer than the Star Wars Christmas Special. Space Is Noisy, Space Is an Ocean, Human Aliens (including Half-Human Hybrid examples), and Batman Can Breathe in Space (if only for about a minute) are all present and played to wonderfully operatic heights.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The Downer Beginning, which is markedly more serious and depressing than most of the movie.
    • The actual title sequence of the film starts with Star-Lord wearing a menacing-looking mask, looking around on a dying world for signs of life, when he comes into a temple: the whole scene comes off like something from Fallout: New Vegas. When he gets there, he takes his mask off, turns on his Walkman, and starts playing "Come Get Your Love" and dancing hilariously.
    • Groot appears to have died dramatically, and then Quill sings and dances to distract Ronan.
    • On Knowhere, Rocket and Drax begin to bond over drinks and gambling. Cut back a few minutes later, Rocket's giving a heartbreaking drunken rant about how rotten his life is and threatening to shoot the others for laughing at him.
    • The prison break features a scene with Rocket Laughing Mad while perched on Groot's shoulder and shooting at the security drones, followed by a very quick and quiet scene of Peter trying to get a prisoner's prosthetic leg, then going right back to the action.
  • Mooks: Discussed Trope.
    Drax: I think of Sakaarans as paper people.
  • More Dakka: If this attitude were a religion, Rocket would be its high priest.
  • Mr. Exposition: The Collector.
  • Musical Episode: The film's use of '70s and '80s pop and rock music definitely gives this vibe. Especially when Chris Pratt starts explaining the plot of Footloose and singing and dancing himself.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • During the line up scene, the data stream for each character lists numerous incidents that happened to them in the comics that Guardians is based on.
      • Rocket Raccoon being from Halfworld in the Keystone Quadrant, and Lylla being listed as one of his associates.
      • Gamora being the last of her kind.
      • Peter having an affair with an intergalactic duchess that her parents were none too happy about.
      • Groot's homeworld being listed as "X".
    • Peter's red skinned one night stand is Bereet, an alien ex lover of The Incredible Hulk from the comics.
    • The named members of the Nova Corps include Rhomen Dey, the Nova Prime who recruits Richard Rider as the first Human Nova, and Gaarthan Saul, who would go on to become the villainous Supernova in the comics.
    • Rhomann Dey's rank in the Nova Corps is Denerrian, one of the actual (and lesser known) ranks in the Corps in the comics.
    • In the comics, Yondu was a founding member of the original Guardians of the Galaxy from the 1970s, which was a precursor to the 2000s incarnation led by Peter Quill. In the movie, Yondu is not affiliated with the Guardians, but his role as Quill's mentor and adopted father parallels the classic series' relationship with the modern series.
    • Rocket and Cosmo growling at each other in reference to their interactions in the comics.
  • The Napoleon: Rocket Raccoon is four feet tall, carries a gun bigger than he is, and has no qualms blasting your face off with it. This trope is also Played for Drama since most of Rocket's anger stems from the fact that his existence was due to a scientific experiment wherein he was subjected to being repeatedly taken apart and put back again, and he believes that everyone thinks of him as a freak.
  • Neck Lift: Groot essentially does this to one of the punks in prison, except he picks him up by the nostrils! It's painful just to look at!
  • Nerves of Steel: How else would you expect Star-Lord to maintain a straight face against Ronan when he challenges him to a dance off?
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailer has a few scenes that never appeared in the film or different versions that appeared. The most noticeable are scenes involving people saying the name Guardians of the Galaxy when the name isn't spoken until the end; and Drax's inclusion in the prison line-up, when his introduction takes place afterwards.
    • The trailer also adds a gag regarding Quill giving "the finger". In the trailer it makes it appear as if a censor filter kicks in; in the movie itself, he just gives the finger unobstructed.
    • The trailer can give one the impression that Korath is an officer of the Nova Corps, since it shows Quill in the prison line-up right after showing him being cornered by Korath on Morag. Korath is actually one of Ronan's enforcers, and he fails to capture Quill in the scene shown in the trailer.
    • One of the trailers shows a scene of Gamora nude from behind, likely after the prison wash down, and the impression that Quill sees her afterwards and stares. This could be an alternate scene to Quill's staring at Rocket's back post wash down as he's seen staring intently and slowly putting his shirt on.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: When Rocket attacks Ronan after the Dark Aster crashes, Ronan simply blasts him away. However, Rocket lands by the rocket launcher he made and is able to repair it for Drax while Peter distracts Ronan, which leads to the Universal Weapon being destroyed, Peter grabbing the Infinity Stone, and the Guardians using its power to kill Ronan.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: The credits of the film specifically said that no raccoons or Tree-People were harmed by the film.
  • No Blood Ties: Gamora and Nebula are not really Thanos' daughters, but children he took after destroying their families and homes. He tortured and experimented on them with cybernetic implants until they were perfect killing machines loyal only to him. Both betray him and Nebula outright states her goal is to see him dead. Interestingly, while they are antagonistic toward each other, Gamora and Nebula seem to truly consider themselves sisters. Gamora even shows affection for Nebula, which Nebula isn't really capable of reciprocating:
    Nebula: Of all my siblings, I hated you the least.
  • Non-Indicative Name: They're a bunch of thugs and criminals, little more than a gang, and not some uber-powerful cosmic superteam. The name "guardians of the Galaxy" is thrown at them as a taunt, to indicate how utterly unsuited they are to that role. They take to it anyway.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: The Ravagers, including Peter Quill, wear dark red clothing with flame-shaped insignia that they modify to suit their own needs. For the climax, the titular Guardians (save Groot) also wear personalized Ravager clothing as a way of showing their solidarity with Quill.
  • Nose Shove: Groot uses this as an interesting (and painful) variation on the Neck Lift.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Understandable, since the Translation Convention is in play.
    • Rocket Raccoon, as a walking talking Shout-Out to The Beatles, had a cockney-ish accent in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and then sounded like Steve Buscemi or Joe Pesci in his appearance in Ultimate Spider-Man. In this movie, Bradley Cooper just uses his normal accent. Justified in that Rocket isn't even human, let alone British, so any accent should be acceptable. He was never indicated to have been speaking with a British accent in the comics either. The idea that he does is an example of Lost in Imitation.
    • Most of the actors just speak in their regular voices, and a smattering of American and British accents (including Scottish Karen Gillan, who speaks with an American accent) can be heard throughout the movie. A notable exception is Peter's mom, who speaks with a Southern accent.
  • Not Staying for Breakfast: Played with when it turns out that Quill has flown off in his spaceship after a one-night stand and forgotten the girl is still on board.
  • Nothing But Hits: Zig-zagged; although "Awesome Mix, Vol. 1" is a mixtape, and thus predictably has a bunch of hit singles on it, most of them are from the mid-to-late '70s instead of 1988, because they're the songs Peter's mother grew up to and played for him.
  • Offhand Backhand: Peter walks by a downed enemy and casually shoots the guy to keep him down.
  • Oh Crap:
    • Rocket's face when Groot upends their escape plan.
    • Rocket actually says "Oh Crap" when Quill steps in to stop Drax from killing Gamora.
    • Peter Quill has one early in the film, as he realizes that Korath has super strength and endurance.
    • When Gamora realizes the Orb contains an Infinity Stone, which quickly gets shared by the others when they realize what Ronan can do with it...
    • The Broker, when he learns that Ronan is after the same thing one of his clients is after (the orb Quill just brought).
    • Ronan, when he sees the Guardians surviving the power of the Infinity Stone and looking at him with murder in their eyes. "You're mortal! How?"
    • When the guard who has stolen Quill's walkman sees him coming with his guns.
  • Only in It for the Money: All the Guardians except Drax are only interesting in selling the Orb to the highest bidder. This lasts until they realize the consequences of it falling in the wrong hands.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • "We are Groot!"
    • The look on Gamora's face when Drax uses a metaphor.
  • Parental Substitute: Yondu raised Peter after the boy's mother died of cancer. He was hired to take Peter to his real father, but decided to keep him instead.
  • Pet the Dog: Drax does this after the Dark Aster crashes, petting Rocket to console him over Groot's death.
  • Planet Terra: Humans are referred to as Terrans, but Earth is still called Earth.
  • Plant Aliens: Groot is a giant walking tree described as "Rocket's personal house plant/muscle".
  • Playing with Syringes: both Rocket and Gamora are products of medical experimentation Gone Horribly Right: Gamora because Thanos likes creating super-soldier "Daughters", Rocket for reasons unspecified other than For Science!
  • Plot Device: The orb that Peter steals in the beginning of the movie is nearly a MacGuffin. Lampshaded by Peter who says the orb gives him an "Ark of the Covenant, glowing briefcase, Maltese Falcon-esque vibe". However, in addition to being the object that characters are fighting over, it turns out that the orb is a container for an Infinity Stone, which readers of the comics may be familiar with. This one converts organic matter to energy, turning a person into a bomb or a planet into a blighted wasteland.
  • Pokémon Speak: Groot only ever says one thing: "I am Groot." This was one reason the role appealed to Vin Diesel, who previously voiced the similarly near mute Iron Giant. Subverted at the end, where he says "We are Groot" before his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • The Power of Friendship: It is only when all four surviving Guardians hold hands that they are able to contain the Infinity Stone's power, and Peter can use it to destroy Ronan. Of course, Peter's Half-Human Hybrid biology helped keep the stone from immediately killing him.
  • The Power of Rock: Played with hilariously. At the moment when all hope seemed lost, Peter Quill got up and started grooving to "Ooh, Child". Then it turns out that the reason he's doing this is so that Ronan will be watching him make a fool of himself and thus not notice Rocket and Drax hurriedly repairing the team's BFG.
  • Power Walk: The Guardians assemble in slow mo purposeful walk towards camera, echoing many a space movie as well as MCU's own The Avengers. But like with many other tropes, the film plays this moment for laughs with Gamora yawning, Star Lord scratching his nose, and Rocket adjusting the crotch of his pants.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The movie has this both subtle and gross, most of which will only be picked up by fans of the original material. Examples include turning Drax's adversary from Thanos to Ronan (to give Drax a more obvious motive), turning Drax into an alien species that befits Dave Bautista's acting style and prevents there from being two Earthlings in space on the team, a Race Lift and costume change for Korath the Pursuer, and Yondu as the leader of the Ravagers instead of the leader of the original Guardians. Furthermore, Star-Lord's trademark Element Gun is replaced with a Static Stun Gun/Plasma Cannon due to it being a more plausible weapon than one that can shoot rocks and water.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Inverted. The Guardians are criminals, thieves, and murderers, but end up saving the galaxy because, as Star-Lord points out, they live in the galaxy too.
  • Precision F-Strike: Quill gives one when The Collector's base gets destroyed. However, there's suspiciously appropriate hissing when he says the word.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • Drax's "Finger on throat means death!" may not be the catchiest one-liner, but it does assure that his enemy will go to the afterlife utterly baffled.
    • Also when The Guardians finally manage to contain power of the Infinity Stone. In shock, Ronan asks them, "You're mortal! How?" to which Quill responds "You said it yourself, bitch. We're the Guardians of the Galaxy." The Guardians then proceed to blow Ronan to bits with the Stone.
  • Prison Episode: The Guardians get locked up by the Nova Corps during one sequence in the film.
  • Prison Rape: One of the Kyln prisoners starts talking about Peter Quill in a way that suggests he's planning on doing this. Groot shuts him up with a PG-rated Orifice Invasion of his own.
  • Prison Riot: The heroes start one during their escape. (Mostly unintentionally.)
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Kree. The signing of a Peace Treaty with Xandar is enough to trigger riots throughout the Kree Empire. Ronan in particular sees the treaty as a betrayal of Kree cultural traditions and goes rogue.
  • Psychotic Smirk:
    • Gamora briefly sports one in her close up in the lineup sequence in the trailer.
    • Drax sports one during his fights, and bursts into laughter as the Milano makes it's approach to the Dark Aster in the final battle.
    • Even Groot gives one in one scene which is every bit as creepy as it sounds. Drax and Quill are spooked, since it looks more like a friendly smile.
    • Thanos gives an unhinged grin after telling Ronan to bring the Orb or suffer a particularly Cruel and Unusual Death.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: During a prison fight, when somebody finds out Drax is made of tougher stuff than normal.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    Rocket: You're! Making! Me! Beat! Up! Grass!
  • Pure Is Not Good: The only reason Ronan was able to wield the Infinity Stone was due to his intense hatred for Xandar.
  • Purple Is Powerful: The Infinity Stone of Power is a bright shade of purple, which extends to infusing Ronan when he takes possession of it and adds it to his warhammer.
  • Race Lift: Korath the Pursuer is black rather than blue. This is notable because in the comics, it's an explicit plot point that the Kree only come in two types: a blue-skinned majority and a white-skinned minority, the latter of whom experience Fantastic Racism from the former.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: We've got a displaced earthling who's actually a Half-Human Hybrid, an alien assassin who used to work with the Big Bad, an alien bruiser on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, a sentient tree who's the Token Good Teammate, and a talking raccoon with a huge chip on his shoulder dispensing More Dakka. And like their comic book run, they're all a bunch of egomaniacs who bicker like crazy on the battlefield and keep bickering when they're off it.
    Rhomann Dey: ...this might not be the best idea.
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: It's not the end of the world, but after 20+ years of use Peter Quill's iconic Sony Walkman should have run out of batteries, the foam headphone pads should have rotted away, and the Awesome Mix tape itself should have been magnetized into silence many times over.
  • Ramming Always Works:
    • Justified with Quill and Rocket using the Knowhere mining pods to ram the Necrocraft, as the mining pods were unarmed - but made of sterner stuff than the enemy ships.
    • When the Necrocraft are unable to get past the Ravagers and Nova Corps in a dog fight, they instead just start dive bombing Xandar.
    • Rocket Raccoon flies his ship straight into the Dark Aster, knocking out Ronan for a while and causing his ship to blow up.
  • Reality Ensues: Quill, Gamora, Rocket and Groot enter a three-way battle in the middle of a city with hundreds of civilian bystanders. What ultimately happens? The cops show up and arrest all of them.
  • Really Gets Around: Peter Quill has a reputation as a love 'em and leave 'em type that even Gamora is aware of (and refers to as "pelvic sorcery"). Quill's sexual exploits seem to come back and bite him in the ass, though. He has a collection of scars from various lovers attacking him because of his philandering ways.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Despite having previous antagonistic run-ins with the petty thief Peter Quill, Rhomann Dey of the Nova Corps nonetheless believes that Peter's warning and offer of assistance is sincere.
    • Nova Prime, too. She takes the warning completely seriously, asks Dey's opinion (someone who actually knows Quill), and decides to trust his judgement. She (and the rest of the Corps) then stays behind, coordinating the evacuation and assisting in the defense of the city.
  • Red Baron: Drax has one in "The Destroyer".
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • Zig-zagged with Quill's retractable mask, which despite possessing glowing red eyes has no indication of his intentions. At the same time, he generally only wears it during combat or in other hazardous situations.
    • Played straight by Yondu, whose eyes and implants light up red while remote-controlling his arrow.
    • Ronan gets purple eyes while possessing the Infinity Stone. So do each of the Guardians in turn, while they're daisy-chained together as Quill is trying to withstand holding the Infinity stone.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: One's a 4-foot tall cybernetic raccoon who likes his big guns. The other is a (normally) 7-feet tall Gentle Giant of a tree who doesn't mind busting heads. Together, they will kick your ass from one end of Knowhere to the other.
  • Redshirt Army: The Nova Corps make a brave attempt to physically block the Dark Aster from landing, but are all or almost all wiped out by a single blast from the Infinity Gem.
  • Reformed Criminals: The titular heroes themselves. And yes, they are cellmates.
  • Refuge in Audacity: This is about the only way to consider Star-Lord's Go Look at the Distraction ploy near the end.
  • Refused The Call: Rocket’s initial response to finding out his prize is a McGuffin of doom is to suggest they send it to the villain and flee to the far side of the universe with his one friend and try and live a full life before the doom comes for him. Unfortunately for him, his one friend is Groot who refuses to play along so he gets guilt tripped into saving the galaxy.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Whilst on Knowhere, Drax gets the bright idea of sending Ronan a message to let him know the orb is there. He has his reasons, but Rocket rips his reasons apart in epic fashion.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Drax has been cutting a swath across the galaxy after the murder of his wife and family.
  • Rocket Boots: Star-Lord has a pair of rockets that attach to his boots. Instead of flying, though, he uses them to boost his jumps and for bursts of speed during combat. He also uses them to maneuver in zero-g situations.
  • Rousing Speech: The Guardians get their act together and stand up united. While it has the intended effect, Rocket has a few words to say about it:
    Rocket: There, now I'm standing up too. You happy now? Here we are. All standing. A bunch of jackasses just standing in a circle.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: A lot of the aliens in the film just look like humans with different colored skin and/or random protrusions on their heads.
  • Running Gag: "I am Groot"

    S - Z 
  • Sacrificial Lion: Saal and his wingmen die trying to stop Ronan's ship.
  • The Scapegoat: Everyone in the prison hates Gamora, considering her guilty by association due to what Ronan has done. Rocket says she'll last a day at most. (Which is exactly what would have happened if Quill hadn't convinced Drax to spare her; see The Bait, above.)
  • Screaming Warrior: Groot and Rocket.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • Nebula pulls one of these during the final battle after falling off the Dark Aster. She manages to hijack one of the Ravager ships and make a clean getaway.
    • Rocket tries to when Ronan gets the Infinity Stone and Peter and Gamora get captured by the Ravagers, but Groot and Drax talk him out of it.
  • Self-Deprecation: Everywhere. A Running Gag through the film is that none of the characters have ever heard of the "Guardians of the Galaxy", much like a large percentage of the film's intended audience. Lampshaded in the second trailer:
    Star-Lord: I look around, and you know what I see? LOSERS! We've all lost something... But life is giving us a chance!
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Darn it we need to know what's on Awesome Mix Vol. 2.
    • James Gunn has said what happens in the film is important to the plot of the third Avengers movie. In fact, the first words that appear in the credits are "The Guardians of the Galaxy will return" just like how Iron Man 3 ended.
    • It's discovered by the Nova Corps that Quill is only half-Terran; they're just not sure what the other half is. More importantly, it turns out that Yondu and the Ravagers were hired by his dad to fetch him, but decided to keep Peter around rather than finish the job.
    • Drax shifts his vendetta to Thanos, as while he avenged his wife and daughter with the death of Ronan, the Kree villain was acting on behalf of Thanos.
    • In addition, Nebula escapes at the end, so we'll no doubt be seeing her again.
    • Anyone who payed special attention to the Collector's collection might have noticed Adam Warlock's regenerative coccoon. It was even shown to be hatched in the Howard the Duck scene. Since Adam plays a huge role in both the Guardians of the Galaxy's formation and the Infinity Gauntlet storyline, this sneaky easter egg might have been a hint for those who were paying close attention.
  • Serkis Folk
    • Along with voicing the character, Vin Diesel also portrays Groot via motion capture, even wearing stilts to match Groot's height. An actor named Krystian Godlewski stood in as Groot before Diesel was cast, but none of his footage ended up in the film.
    • Josh Brolin portrays Thanos through motion capture in his two scenes.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: When we first meet Bereet, she's wearing the t-shirt Peter was abducted in.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shouting Shooter: Rocket does this several times, both when blasting away with a rifle while standing on Groot's shoulder or when firing the guns of a fighter ship that he is piloting.
  • Shown Their Work: Peter flies through the cold vacuum of space with his hands exposed. He also removes his mask to save Gamora. The media in general likes to depict exposure to space immediately resulting in your blood boiling over, your skin instantly freezing, your eyes popping out of your head, etc. This movie shows what would actually happen (fairly) accurately.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    • Drax shoots Nebula with a rocket launcher while she's in the middle of a speech building up to a dramatic showdown.
    • Similarly, Rocket rams Ronan with a spaceship when he's in the middle of gloating to Drax about how he killed his family.
  • Sigil Spam: The Nova Corps puts their starburst symbol all over the place. Even Xandar’s capital city resembles the sigil when seen from above.
  • A Simple Plan:
    • Star-Lord has a plan... well... part of a plan. Twelve percent of a plan. It's really more of a concept.
    • Rocket also hatches a plan to get out of the prison. Unfortunately, Groot performed the last step of the plan first.
    • Rocket's plans are really straight forward. He just has a tendency to add ridiculous twists for laughs.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord.
    • When he announces his name to Korath he expects a reaction, but Korath just shrugs and asks "Who?" It even continues when the Nova Corps get him.
      Peter There's another name you might know me by.
      Korath: What?
      Peter: Star-Lord.
      Korath: Who?
      Peter: (visibly disappointed) I'm Star-Lord, man. Legendary outlaw? [beat] Oh, forget it...
    • Peter's later ecstatic when Korath actually greets him using his "outlaw name" in their second encounter. It's apparently the first time anyone else has used it seriously.
      Korath [grins menacingly] Star-Lord.
      Peter: Finally!
  • The Smart Guy: Rocket Raccoon, a brilliant planner with an eye for gadgets. He remotely hacked a number of guard robots, disabled a space-station's anti-grav and proceeded to fly the guard tower out of the prison, a plan he concocted in a few minutes at most.
  • Smoke Shield: A classic example, against Ronan. Interesting because it's not smoke, but rather appears to be Hard Light at first, and could be misconstrued for a weapon.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Gamora for the Guardians, Nebula for the villains, though the two start nominally on the same team.
  • Something Completely Different: For the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
    • This film shifts from the previous Super Hero tales to a full blown Space Opera.
    • The Avengers, despite their idiosyncrasies, are undoubtedly straight-up heroes. The Guardians are a bunch of surly, trigger-happy, fight-happy anti-heroes with impressive criminal records. As one prison guard puts it, they're "a bunch of a-holes." There's also the greater emphasis on comedy.
    • This is also the first Marvel Studios film not to feature Avengers members. In fact, this is the explicitly stated reason as to why this movie is happening. After nine or so straight movies revolving around the members of the Avengers, building up to the upcoming finale to Phase Two, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy is a Breather Episode gathering of C-list and D-list Marvel characters that nobody would ever expect to be featured in a film.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • Despite the film being a Space Opera, the soundtrack consists of various sixties and seventies hits - all tracks from Peter's "Awesome Mix Vol 1" mixtape. This emphasizes just how much he doesn't fit into a superhero persona in that situation.
    • The opening has Peter finding a creepy tomb on a dead world, only to start dancing through the monster infested ruins to the 1974 Redbone's hit "Come and Get Your Love".
    • Peter gets processed and locked up in space prison to "Hooked on A Feeling" by Blue Swede.
    • "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes plays as Peter fights through a dozen or so security guards to get his cassette player back. It turns out this song is playing because one of the prison guards, who examined the cassette tape, has taken a liking to the song.
    • "Moonage Daydream" by David Bowie plays as the Guardians reach the Wretched Hive of scum and villainy, Knowhere Station.
    • The Guardians form their master plan to beat Ronan to the 1976 "Cherry Bomb", by the Runaways.
    • "O-o-h Child" plays after Ronan's ship crashes and Groot dies protecting the rest of the Guardians. Quill uses this to challenge Ronan to a dance-off.
    • "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell plays as a Right Now Montage shows what Yondu, Nova Prime Rael, Officer Dey, and the Guardians themselves are doing after the Final Battle.
    • The crew flies off to their next adventure to "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5. Groot then dances to the rest of the song, while Drax cleans his knives in the background.
  • Source Music: The '70s and '80s tunes that play in the movie are all from a cassette tape that Peter owns and listens to regularly in the film itself.
  • Space Clouds: Clearly our heroes are guarding the same part of the galaxy that Asgard is in. Knowhere and Thanos'... throne room-asteroid thing are both surrounded by nebulae. And per freakin' usual they're portrayed as far more clustered and smaller than they naturally should be.
  • Space Opera: Huge Space Battles! Space Pirates! Space Police! Green Skinned Space Babes! A MacGuffin that could decide the fate of the galaxy! Welcome to the Cosmic Marvel universe.
  • Space Pirate: Yondu and The Ravagers. Although we never see them actually do any pillaging on-screen, they are described as (and act like) a group that will steal anything, and everyone else treats them as such.
  • Space Police: The Nova Corps, who aren't really amused that an Anti Hero Team is calling themselves the "Guardians of the Galaxy" instead.
  • Space Station: Knowhere, which is actually the floating head of a dead Celestial.
  • Space Western: The whole film basically is one.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Rocket had this elaborate plan laid out to break out of prison, and Groot, well-meaning tree that he is, proceeds to immediately grab the item that they were supposed to grab last, which triggers the prison alarms. The rest of the team have to quickly improvise the rest of the escape.
    • The Collector’s repeated attempts to get his hands on the Orb through intermediaries result in the disruption of Thanos and Ronan’s plans.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • People have been calling this a Farscape or a Firefly movie. Or Outlaw Star if you're an anime fan. One reviewer even called it "The best Star Wars movie since the first one."
    • Despite being in a completely different genre, the movie's rapid-fire comedy, ensemble cast of underdog criminals and memorable 1970's pop soundtrack also make it an unlikely successor to Reservoir Dogs. Both movies even prominently feature Blue Swede's "Hooked on a Feeling"—a song that Reservoir Dogs helped repopularize after it had been largely forgotten—in pivotal scenes.
    • Given that it's a reasonably family-friendly supernatural buddy comedy with enough large-scale action and subtle bawdy humor to appeal to adults, many people have called it a successor to Ghostbusters.
  • Starfish Language: It sounds like all Groot can say is "I am Groot", but he's actually very intelligent and well-spoken, and that's just how his subtle and complex language sounds to people no matter what he says. Helpfully, Rocket can understand him.
  • The Starscream: Ronan the Accuser is revealed to be this once he gets hold of an Infinity Stone, with the intention of going after Thanos once he's through with the Nova Corps.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The third trailer includes the Tag Line "All Heroes Start Somewhere." After the word "Somewhere" appears on screen, the next thing you see is a space station. The name of that space station, not mentioned in the trailer but known to followers of the comics? Knowhere.
    • In the end, Yondu opens his capsule expecting to find the Infinity Gem as promised by Quill but finds a troll doll figure inside. In other words, he got trolled.
    • During the Guardians' escape from prison, the Pina Colada song plays... The song's real title? "Escape".
  • Stepford Smiler: The Collector's aid, Carina is always smiling, putting on a chipper mood in front of others when in actuality, the Collector is a Bad Boss to her and others like her, keeping those who crossed him in one of his cages.
  • Sticky Fingers: Quill may be a thief, but at least he understands the concept of ownership, whereas Rocket seems to struggle with the idea.
    Rocket: Question: what if I see something that I wanna take and it belonged to someone else?
    Rhomann: You would be arrested.
    Rocket: But what if I want it more than the person who has it?
    Rhomann: It's still illegal.
    Rocket: That doesn't follow. No, I want it more, sir, you understand me?
  • The Stinger: Howard the Duck is among the Collector's collections. Doubles as a Mythology Gag, as it would explain where he's been since his 1986 movie.
  • Straight Man: Gamora is shown trying to wrangle the boys to formulate a cohesive plan and fails hilariously.
    Gamora: I'm going to die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy.
  • Stupid Evil: The Collector is a Bad Boss who keeps his maids like slaves and lock them up in cages if they upset him (in full view of the ones who haven't to encourage them not to.) So he probably wasn't too smart when he unveiled the Infinity Stone and explained to the heroes how it worked when one said maid was within reach of it. Justified, since he explained how touching it kills-he just underestimated how badly his maid wanted out.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Courtesy of Rocket.
    Rocket: I got one plan and that plan requires a frickin Quarnex battery so FIGURE IT OUT!!!!
  • Suicide Attack: Ronan orders his Necrocraft to dive-bomb Xandar during the fight. They manage to do quite a bit of damage until Rocket and the Ravagers start blasting them out of the sky before they could land.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: The Other (Thanos' chamberlain). Although he apparently was able to scare Loki in The Avengers, Ronan makes short work of him.
  • Superhero Movie Villains Die: Ronan and Korath are both killed. Nebula survives.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: During the Kyln prison break, an exasperated Gamora declares "I'm going to die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy".
  • Sustained Misunderstanding: Drax, Rocket and Groot either have no idea about human gestures and metaphors, completely misunderstand what people are saying, or are just simply unintelligible.
  • Take My Hand: Happens a few times; The first is when Peters mom asks him to take her hand just before she dies. The second is from Gamora when Nebula is about to perform a Disney Villain Death, which she subverts by timing it so she lands on a passing Ravager fighter. Finally when Peter is about to be overwhelmed by the Infinity Stone Gamora calls for him to take her hand, which he does after a brief flashback memory of the first incident.
  • Talking Animal: Rocket, only he'll chew your face off if you call him an "animal".
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Hilariously averted on numerous occasions.
  • Tattooed Crook: Drax's body is covered in red tattoos.
  • Team Killer: Ronan kills The Other for annoying him during their argument.
  • Team Title: Obviously, though they are only referred to as "Guardians of the Galaxy" near the end.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The five of them can't stand each other (with the exception of Rocket and Groot), and spend as much time fighting each other as their enemies.
  • The Eighties: The story starts off in 1988. Over 20 years on however, Peter is still very much someone straight out of that decade.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Groot impales a bunch of Mooks by extending his arms into them, lifting them off their feet, slamming them down hard enough to break their legs audibly, knocking the other mooks into the opposite wall, then repeatedly slamming the impaled mooks against the walls and ceiling for about thirty seconds.
  • They Fight Crime: Seems like this is the Rocket/Groot backstory before they end up on the team. One is a mouthy little escaped experiment whose one true love is explosions. The other is a nigh-indestructible plant-man who only knows three words. Together, they fight crime! For money. They also commit crime, for more money!
  • This Cannot Be!: Ronan expresses his disbelief that the Guardians together could safely wield the Infinity Stone right before they kill him.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!
    Quill: You said it yourself, bitch. We're the Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Title Drop: Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, and Rhomann Dey all get to do this, at least in the trailer. In the actual movie, it's said by Ronan and Star-Lord.
  • Token Good Teammate: Groot is the only Guardian that doesn't start the film as a criminal or Jerkass; the only reason he's with them is because of Rocket. Word of God notes that he's essentially "innocent" compared to the others.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: All but Groot become more compassionate as the film goes on.
  • Toplessness from the Back:
    • In the trailers, Gamora undresses on Quill's ship. This doesn't happen in the movie.
    • And in a non-fanservice version, Quill gets a look at Rocket's back when they're both being stripped of gear at the Kyln. Foreshadowing his later revelation, Rocket has various cybernetics embedded in it. In between the bald spots and scar tissue.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Quill's Sony Walkman and the mix tape inside it, both of which are mementos from his dead mother. He also received a present from her before she passed away, but doesn't open it until the end of the film. It's another mix tape, "Awesome mix part 2".
  • Trailers Always Lie: The trailers contain shots that weren't included in the theatrical release. More than that, preview clips released online actually had alternate dialogue that provided some background about the setting while the theatrical version's dialogue pertained more to the story.
  • Translation Convention: It's safe to say that the only ones actually speaking in English throughout the movie are Peter himself and the songs in his mixtape.
  • Translator Microbes: Star-Lord's arrest record lists him as having a translator implant in his neck. Gamora and Rocket are also cyborgs, and can probably be assumed to have something similar.
  • Tribal Facepaint: Although not to the extent of Ronan’s This Means Warpaint design, the only other Kree official seen in the movie also bears some black face paint during his conversation with Nova Prime.
  • Trick Arrow: Yordu's weapon of choice is a single golden, high-tech arrow that he can control by whistling and guides with the implant on his skull. He uses it at one point to wipe out an entire detachment of mooks.
  • 20% More Awesome: Peter claims to have "12% of a plan".
  • Unexpected Character: The movie is pretty much a gathering of C-list and D-list Marvel characters that nobody would have expected to be featured in a film. And then Howard the Duck is there.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The final battle against Ronan is spelled out during the suit-up montage beforehand. Downplayed in that it mostly works as planned. After the Dark Aster crashes on Xandar and the Guardians, scattered on the ground and in no shape to fight, realise that Ronan's still standing - they just share some glances, before Quill and Gamora promptly start trying to distract Ronan while Rocket and Drax repair the Hadron Enforcer.
    • Played slightly straighter during the prison break, when Rocket doesn't tell any of the Guardians (or the viewer) how he plans to get them actually out, only that they need access to the control tower. Gamora is visibly delighted by the reveal.
  • Uplifted Animal: Rocket is the result of "illegal genetic and cybernetic experiments on a lower life form".
  • Used Future:
    • Most of the space faring races' "futuristic" technology is covered in dirt and grime, a far cry from the Crystal Spires and Togas of Asgard.
    • Subverted by Xandar, which is very pristine-looking (in a more Earth-like, fountains-and-walkways kind of way), though still not on the same level as Asgard. At least until a good chunk of it gets destroyed by Ronan's forces.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Ronan the Accuser is surprisingly dark and menacing for a film that's so light-hearted and adventurous.
  • Visual Pun: When Yondu opens the orb Peter gave him, he finds a Troll Doll instead of the Infinity Stone.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Basically the relationship between any two members of the team (except Groot), but special mention goes to Drax and Gamora, with the former calling the latter a whore and then shooting Nebula with a rocket when she is talking smack to Gamora and planning to attack her.
    Drax: No one talks to my friends like that.
  • Voiceover Letter: Peter's note from his mom.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Much like in the comics, Drax is never seen wearing a shirt. Lampshaded in the suiting up scene before the climax; the Ravagers provide the Guardians with dark red leather uniforms. Drax considers the shirt for about two seconds before tossing it away.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency:
    • Yondu constantly holds the fact that he didn't allow the Ravagers to eat Peter Quill when he first came aboard as a child over Peter's head and expects his loyalty in return. Eventually Peter calls him out on it.
    Quill: Stop acting like you did me a favor by keeping them from eating me! Normal people don't eat people!
    • It does go a bit beyond basic decency, but Peter shamelessly talks himself up after saving Gamora from the vacuum of space.
  • We Need a Distraction: Peter Quill dances in front of Ronan in order to buy time for Rocket Raccoon to repair a weapon for Drax to fire at Ronan's hammer. It works.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Drax's extremely reckless behavior in his quest for vengeance against Ronan results in a lot of people hurt or dead, and Drax himself getting beaten severely and nearly killed. Rocket calls him out on this, pointing out that Drax is not the only person whose family has been killed by Ronan and that getting even more people killed by Ronan is not an appropriate method of redress. It works: Drax is deeply shamed, which prompts him to behave much more rationally, and more cooperatively, from then on.
  • We Will Spend Credits in the Future: the universally accepted currency seems to be “Units.”
  • When Trees Attack: Groot may be the nicest member of the team, but if you make him angry, he's also the most dangerous. Definitely.
  • Wham Line: After the Ravagers leave the Guardians on Xandar:
    Kraglin: Yeah, Quill turned out okay. Probably good we didn't deliver him to his dad like we were hired to.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The movie ends with one: The Nova Corps seals the Infinity Stone away, Rhomann Dey comes home to his family, Yondu discovers that Peter gave him a troll doll instead of the Infinity Stone and Groot is slowly regenerating in a flower-pot after his Heroic Sacrifice. And as for Peter and his True Companions, they're off to do "Something good, something bad, a bit of both."
  • Woman in Black: Both Gamora and Nebula wear black outfits.
  • The Worf Effect: The previously Made of Iron Drax gets beaten half to death in his first fight with Ronan, to show just how dangerous the Kree villain is.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: The Infinity Stone has the effect of converting any organic matter it touches into energy, unless it is held by a being of incredible power. If used on a planet, the resulting chain reaction would rip through the surface, rendering the entire planet lifeless.
  • Wretched Hive: The Knowhere space station, a severed Celestial head located at an unspecified place just outside of the galaxy. It's a port of call and observatory for intergalactic travellers, as well as a mining colony for selling illegal materials on the interstellar black market, and so attracts all sorts of unsavory characters.
  • X-Ray Sparks: In the fight between Gamora and Nebula, Gamora's skull and skeleton flicker into visibility when she's painfully shocked by Nebula's electric staff.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: Played with. Quill, Gamora, Rocket and Groot first meet each other on Xandar, but the entire team first meets up in the Kyln prison.
  • You Are Not My Father: Gamora never actually says this to Thanos in this movie, but this is clearly how she feels when Quill refers to him as her father. She tells him quite plainly that Thanos murdered her true family and adopted her against her will. Her "sister" Nebula seems to feel the same way about Thanos, but chooses to take a very different path to rectify it.
  • You Are Number Six: Rhomann Dey refers to Rocket by the serial number used by the scientists who created him.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Most of the costumes are spot-on or at least Pragmatic approximations, but Korath looks absolutely nothing like his comic counterpart. Which is probably for the best.
  • You Shall Not Pass/Hold the Line:
    • The Nova Corps try to use their fighter craft to physically do this to the Dark Aster as it nears Xandar's surface, using an interlocking shield mechanism which essentially turns their hundreds of ships into one giant energy net. They don't stop it, but they do considerably delay it. And it's only the power of the Infinity Stone that renders it merely a delay.
    • Simultaneously, the Ravagers use their own ships to shoot down Ronan's mooks as they try to strafe and Suicide Attack the Xandarian capital city. This, on the other hand, is mostly successful.

Ooga chaka, ooga ooga, ooga chaka, ooga ooga.
Captain America: The Winter SoldierFilms of the 2010sThe Avengers: Age of Ultron
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