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  • Kick the Dog: Ronan quickly proves himself to be a rather cruel person:
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: The Other is quickly taken care of by Ronan.
  • Klingons Love Shakespeare: The prison guard steals Quill's Walkman and seems to enjoy his mixtape. Gamora also says "the melody is pleasant".
  • Knife Nut: Drax has a penchant for knives.
    Drax: I like your knife. I'm keeping it.
    Moloka: ...That was my favorite knife.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Nebula advises Ronan this when Thanos makes it plain he's not to return to the Mad Titan without the Orb, suggesting further confrontation isn't in Ronan's interests.
    Nebula: This is one fight you won't win.

  • Lampshade Hanging: A huge part of this film's appeal is that it's incredibly self-aware and acknowledges the various tropes of superhero movies, 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:
    • Lee Pace's rendition of Ronan the Accuser is a bold and dramatic character that loves gloating and formal cruelty.
    • In addition, Michael Rooker as Yondu. Rooker's roles tend to be grim, gritty, and deadly serious (Merle in The Walking Dead is the rule, not the exception). This is a much lighter role that allows him to ham it up considerably, and he takes full advantage.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The guard in the Kyln that leaves Gamora to the prisoners 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: Well, I come from 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, so the soundtrack often turns tinny when the scene focuses on his cassette player. (The reverse, Diegetic Switch, also repeatedly occurs.)
  • Let's You and Him Fight: When the team first begins to meet up with one another, we are 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. 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 shows a pretty long rundown on the crimes and misdemeanors that the team has collected over their careers.
  • Literal Metaphor: Before dying in the prologue, Peter's mother says he's just like his father, an "angel" who was "composed entirely out of light". It's rather suspiciously phrased for a simple love-fueled metaphor, but the viewer will likely write it off. The line is cast in a different light when the end of the film reveals that Peter's father is a member of some unknown, ancient alien race.
  • 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.
  • A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away...: Though Yondu visits Earth, James Gunn said on Twitter that the movie takes place in the Andromeda Galaxy to keep it separate from Earth and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • 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.

  • MacGuffin: The orb. This changes later in the movie as the formerly inert, harmless metal ball is opened — the Infinity Stone contained within no longer qualify as it's an Artifact of Doom. The trope is initially lampshaded by Starlord:
    Peter: So this orb has a real shiny blue suitcase/Ark of the Covenant/Maltese Falcon sort of vibe, what is it?
  • 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.
    • While Rocket is heavily cyborgized, with his skeleton fully replaced (as shown in the records during processing by the police), Peter displays superhuman durability without any body mods.
    • Yondu 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's 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 offers Ronan his aid in destroying the Nova Corps in exchange for Ronan tracking down the Infinity Stones for him.
  • Man Bites Man: Or rather, woman bites raccoon: Gamora to Rocket during the Mêlée à Trois, to the latter's outrage. Ironic considering Rocket's rap sheet mentions he himself is prone to biting.
  • Match Cut: The yellow beams holding Rocket, Groot and Gamora in place as they are arrested matches up with the starburst sigil on the building in the next Establishing Shot.
  • Mean 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.
  • 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, but is ready to kill Peter if he tries to stop her. Since the bounty on Peter's head specifies "alive", Groot and Rocket have interest in preventing this and thus it escalates in a three-way brawl.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Quill's Sony Walkman cassette player and the "Awesome mix part 1" tape inside, 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".
  • Metronomic Man Mashing: During the climax, Groot extends his arm through an entire line of Sakaarans and does this to attack another line of Sakaarans while shouting at the top of his lungs. Repeatedly. For about thirty seconds straight.
  • 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. Notably in the climax the score goes up in key each time one of the guardians adds themselves to the chain to help control the Infinity Stone.
  • Mighty Glacier: Groot is 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: The Guardians get their act together 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.
  • Mobstacle Course: Right after Gamora sucker-punches Quill and steals the orb, she shoves her way past several civilians on an elevated walkway.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: Softer than the Star Wars Christmas Special. Space Is Noisy, Space Is an Ocean, and Human Aliens (including Half-Human Hybrid examples) 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. When he gets there, he takes his mask off, turns on his Walkman, and starts playing "Come and Get Your Love" and dancing hilariously.
    • Groot appears to have died dramatically, and then Quill sings and dances to distract Ronan. Once Ronan is defeated we have Rocket sobbing over Groot's death before it cuts to Batista giving him a comforting pat on the head.
    • 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 quiet scene of Peter trying to get a prisoner's prosthetic leg, then going right back to the action.
  • Mook Mobile: The Necrocraft fighters used by Ronan's forces. Equipped with powerful weapons, but quite fragile — easily torn apart by two mining pods ramming into them. The Ravager ships and Nova Corps fighters easily plow down through them, and it's only through sheer number they have any advantage.
  • Mooks: Discussed Trope.
    Drax: I think of Sakaarans as paper people.
  • Moral Pragmatist: Downplayed with Peter's justification on why stopping Ronan is necessary compared to Rocket's plan to just bounce to the other end of the universe; while he certainly thinks Ronan is evil and he himself falls firmly on the Chaotic Good end of the heroism spectrum, his reasoning boils down to "I don't want the megalomaniac Knight Templar with the Fantastic Nuke to blow up all of my shit."
    Rocket: Why do you care what happens to the galaxy, anyway?
    Peter: Because I'm one of the idiots who lives in it!
  • Mr. Exposition: The Collector tells the Guardians about the Infinity Stones after they deliver one to him.
  • Musical Episode: The film's use of '70s pop and rock music and '80s references 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. 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.
      • 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.
    • "Morag", the name of a Kree historical person from the comics, is the name of a planet in the film. On that planet are skeletons and statues of a horse-like alien race like the Korbinites or the Kymellians.
    • The named members of the Nova Corps include Rhomann 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 Other tells Ronan that Thanos has sources within Kyln who revealed that Gamora planned to betray him and take The Orb for herself. This is a reference to Moloka Dar, the bald and mean prisoner of Kyln who tries to kill Gamora and whose knife is taken by Drax. In the comics, Moloka was a former prisoner of Kyln who helps Thanos by giving him information.
    • The Celestial Eson the Searcher appears in one of the Collector's holograms wielding an Infinity Stone.
    • 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. However, The Stinger of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 implies that Adam may not have been in this cocoon.
    • While her name isn't mentioned in the film itself, Nova Prime is Irani Rael, a member of the Nova Corps who was recruited after the Annihilation Wave struck Xandar.
    • The comics feature the Kree as consisting of two racial colors, the "blue-skinned" and the "pink-skinned", with the pinks always depicted as being identical in appearance to white-skinned Earth people (and so easily able to infiltrate Earth). The film features several pink colored humans, but here they all look nothing like any skin tone that exists on Earth.

  • Naked on Arrival: Ronan enters the story this way because he was bathing in the blood of Xanarians.
  • Nasal Trauma: During the prison sequence, Groot rescues Quill from a fellow prisoner by jamming his root-fingers up the guy's nostrils and hoisting him into the air, complete with nasty sound effects. The aftereffects leave the prisoner slumped on the floor in a sobbing heap, hands clasped over his nose.
  • The Napoleon: Rocket Raccoon is two feet tall, carries a gun bigger than he is, and has no qualms blasting your face off with it. This trope turns out to be Played for Drama, not laughs — he's got a Dark and Troubled Past.
  • 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!
    • Ronan picks up Drax by the neck and lifts him in their second confrontation. But he's interrupted by Rocket crashing his fighter into them.
  • Neck Snap: Ronan does this to The Other, using a shockwave from his hammer to twist his head right around.
  • 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 in the film proper the name isn't spoken until the end; and Drax's inclusion in the prison line-up, when his introduction in the film proper takes place afterwards.
    • The trailer adds a gag regarding Quill Flipping the Bird. In the trailer, an in-universe Censor Box kicks in to hide it; 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, and the impression that Quill sees her afterwards and stares. This was meant to take place after their escape from the Klyn.
    • People who were unfamiliar with Guardians of the Galaxy spent their first viewing wondering when Drax would die/go bad. They were unaware he was a guardian because he was not showcased in the trailer as the others were.
    • Preview clips released online actually have alternate dialog that provides some background about the setting while the theatrical version's dialogue pertains more to the story.
  • New Era Speech: Ronan starts a pretty hammy one at the end, in front of a fearful Xandarian crowd. He gets interrupted by Quill challenging him to a dance-off.
  • 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's 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 our siblings, I hated you the least.
  • Nonchalant Dodge:
    • Ronan is turning is back to Drax in disdain. Drax charges, but his first attack still misses because Ronan simply lean down at the right time.
    • Drax throws one of his daggers at Korath; Korath dodges just by moving his head out of the way. It's not entirely wasted, though, since it hits a Mook right behind him.
  • 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 title 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.
  • No Social Skills: Drax is a Literal-Minded Innocently Insensitive Berserker Cloudcuckoolander. Any one of these by itself does not play well with others. In combination...
    Drax: Companion, what were you retrieving?
    [Quill hands his Walkman to Drax]
    Drax: [to Gamora, who insisted they wait for Peter as he had the Orb] ...You're an imbecile.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Understandable, since the Translation Convention is in play.
  • 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.
  • 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 that the girl is still on board.

  • Offhand Backhand:
    • Peter walks by a downed enemy and casually shoots the guy to keep him down.
    • Ronan, having survived the Dark Aster crashing to the surface of Xandar, blasts Rocket away with the Ultimate Weapon while barely noticing him.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Peter Quill has one early in the film, as he realizes that Korath has super strength and endurance.
    • The Broker, when he learns that Ronan is after the same thing one of his clients is after (the orb Quill just brought).
    • Nebula's reaction when Ronan kills the Other, fearful of how Thanos will respond.
    • Rocket says "Oh, crap..." when Quill steps in to stop Drax from killing Gamora, but his inflection sounds more like This Is Gonna Suck.
    • Rocket's face when Groot upends their escape plan.
    • The guard in the Kyln who punches Drax in the face, to no effect whatsoever.
    • When the guard who has stolen Quill's walkman sees him coming with his guns.
    • Quill's expression noticeably tenses in response to Tivan asking if Rocket is Groot's pet.
    • 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...
    • 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?"
  • Ominous Crack: Downplayed. When the team is inside the prison's watchtower, the window cracks and we see the crack spreading.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: This is Peter's problem with his Anything That Moves status:
    Drax: You! Man who has lain with an A'askavariian!
    Peter: was one time, man.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Yondu's sharp arrow manages to pierce through about two-dozen of Ronan's Mooks in one move.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Groot gets both of his arms chopped off by Gamora during their first encounter on Xandar but it doesn't seem to bother him. Justified, as he can grow his limbs back.
  • Only in It for the Money:
    • All the Guardians except Drax are only interested in selling the Orb to the highest bidder. This lasts until they realize the consequences of it falling in the wrong hands.
    • Yondu, on the other hand, still wants the Stone to sell to someone. He is actually amused when he sees the Troll doll within the orb Quill gave him.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: When the Nova Corp attacks the Dark Aster, Karen Gillan (as Nebula) says, "The Nova Corps are attacking." With an American accent, it should be "The Nova Corps is attacking."
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Groot learns a new phrase: "We are Groot!"
    • The look on Gamora's face when Drax uses a metaphor.
    • Ronan is Chewing the Scenery with every line except one: "What are you doing? What are you doing?"
  • Outrun the Fireball: When The Collector's residence gets blown up, Groot grabs Rocket and hightails it outta there.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative:
    • Peter Quill notes that he always keeps his promises, when they are made to musclebound whackjobs who will kill him if he doesn't.
    • Fans have also dubbed the movie the best Howard the Duck film ever made (out of two, and Howard only appears in The Stinger of this one).

  • Parental Substitute: Yondu reared 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.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: Rocket says that Groot's "vocabulistics" is limited.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Drax does this after the Dark Aster crashes, petting Rocket to console him over Groot's death.
    • It's hinted that not delivering Peter to his father was Yondu's. The sequel shows that he was very right.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Quill punches people with his hefty-looking pistols as often as he shoots them.
  • The Plan:
    • Star-Lord has a plan... part of a plan... Twelve percent of a plan. It's really more of a concept.
    • There's a proper plan that he and Gamora narrate to the Ravagers before they mount an offense on Ronan's forces.
    • Rocket also hatches a plan to get out of the prison. Unfortunately, Groot performs the last step of the plan first, which sets off the alarms.
    • Rocket's plans are Zany Schemes. And he has a tendency to add ridiculous twists for laughs.
  • Planet Terra: Humans are referred to as Terrans, but Earth is still called Earth (except on Quill's rap sheet, which does use "Terra"). Yondu also refers to it as Terra a few times.
  • Plant Aliens: Groot is a giant walking tree described as "Rocket's personal house plant/muscle". His rap sheet mentions his species as "Flora Colossus".
  • 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 Armor: When Gamora's pod gets blown into pieces by Nebula, she doesn't go the way of a Red Shirt. Instead she floats in space, unharmed, slowly freezing to death. Cue a Big Damn Heroes moment for Quill.
  • 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 "a real shiny blue suitcase/Ark of the Covenant/Maltese Falcon sort of 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 movie implies, while the comics say outright, that this repeated statement actually represents a much broader range of communication, depending on almost undetectable (to humans, at least) variations in tone, pacing, volume, and so on.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Peter constantly confuses his teammates with idioms and references that they don't understand, none of them being from Earth.
  • 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. Peter's Half-Human Hybrid biology helps keep the stone from immediately killing him.
  • The Power of Rock: Played with hilariously. At the moment when all hope seems lost, Peter Quill gets up and starts 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 avoids having 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: 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:
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • Nebula before blowing up Gamora's pod.
      Gamora: If Ronan gets this stone, he'll kill us all.
      Nebula: Not all... you will already be dead.
    • Drax, before killing Korath: "Finger to the throat means death."
    • When The Guardians finally manage to contain the 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 to Peter Quill in a way that suggests he's planning on doing this. Groot promptly shuts him up with a PG-rated (yet somehow just as brutal) Nose Shove of his own.
  • Prison Riot: The heroes unintentionally start one during their escape. It was supposed to be really quiet and peaceful but Groot pulled a Leeroy Jenkins.
  • Produce Pelting: Not long after Quill walks into the main hall of the Kyln, the other inmates start throwing food at him... or so it seems for about five seconds, before it's revealed they're actually throwing it at Gamora.
  • Production Foreshadowing: The red markings seen on the Sakaarans (and even Korath and Ronan in some scenes) just seem like costume flourish... Until three years later, when Thor is wearing the same markings on planet Sakaar in Thor: Ragnarok.
  • 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 its 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 legitimately 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 the prison fight, when a prison guard finds out Drax is made of tougher stuff than normal.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    Rocket: You're making! Me! Beat! Up! Grass!
    • Groot does this twice, once in the prison ("I! AM! GROOT!") and again just before he dies: "We. Are. Groot."
  • Puppeteer Parasite: Done with a ship tearing into, hijacking and piloting another ship on Knowhere.
  • Pure Is Not Good: The only reason Ronan is able to wield the Infinity Stone is due to his intense hatred for Xandar.
  • Purple Is Powerful: The Infinity Stone is a bright shade of purple, which extends to infusing Ronan when he takes possession of it and adds it to his warhammer.

  • Quizzical Tilt: Gamora tilts her head in disbelief when Quill starts his dance-off with Ronan.

  • Ragnarök 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.
  • 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. 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.
  • Ramming Always Works:
    • Justified with Quill and Rocket using the Knowhere mining pods to ram the Necrocrafts, as the mining pods are unarmed but made of sterner stuff than the enemy ships.
    • When the Necrocrafts 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:
    • Starting a tense action-oriented fight in a busy capital city, with hundreds of civilian bystanders nearby? Then you will all get arrested very quickly by the local Space Police.
    • As Nebula and Ronan the Accuser find out, engaging in Evil Gloating only gives the protagonists enough time to shoot you in the face.
    • Drax the Destroyer finds out it doesn't matter how mad you are about the death of your family, trying to take on the Big Bad alone will result in getting your ass thoroughly kicked if they are significantly more powerful than you. Not to mention, your allies will quickly get sick of your Revenge Before Reason!
    • For Gamora it doesn't matter how tough or deadly an assassin you are, if you're stuck alone and weaponless in prison with a mob of pissed off convicts and thoroughly disinterested guards, you will need help to avoid being murdered!
    • Even though the team had their criminal records expunged as a reward for their service, they are still subject to the law and are forbidden from thieving or murdering. To Rocket, the concept of his antisocial tendencies often involving both thieving and murdering is so foreign, Rhomann Dey has to explain it to him.
    • As Peter Quill found out the hard way, trying to put the moves on an emotionally-distant female assassin is not a good idea, especially with his reputation as a Handsome Lech.
    • As the Collector found out, spending a long time hyping up the powers of the Infinity Stones and the omnipotent powers granted to the holder in full earshot of the slave girl you've horribly mistreated at every turn up to this point, and then leaving it exposed and within her grasp? Real genius, buddy.
  • 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 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 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.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Thanos gives Ronan a withering dress-down.
    Thanos: The only matter I do not take seriously, boy, is you. Your politics bore me. Your demeanor is that of a pouty child. And apparently, you alienated my favorite daughter, Gamora.
  • Recycled In Space: The Avengers — in Space! A comparison.note 
  • Red Baron: Drax has such a nickname in "The Destroyer".
  • Redemption Rejection: Nebula, who refuses the Last-Second Chance provided by her step sister and exits via High-Dive Escape.
  • 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.
  • Red Herring: The prosthetic leg was just a joke. Rocket doesn't actually need it.
  • 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.
  • Redundant Rescue: After Quill and Gamora are captured by Yondu, Quill manages to talk himself out of risk. Cue Rocket, Drax and Groot attacking the ship to rescue the two.
  • Reformed Criminals: The eponymous heroes themselves used to be a motley assortment of scoundrels, and yes, they are cellmates.
  • Refuge in Audacity: This is about the only way to consider Star-Lord's We Need a Distraction ploy near the end. When a villain is gloating upon his moment of triumph, when all who oppose him have fallen, and he is one gesture away from victory, the last thing he expects is to be challenged to a dance-off by a dancing and singing Terran. It baffles him.
  • Refusal of the Call: Rocket's initial response to finding out his prize is a MacGuffin 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: Deconstructed. 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. It doesn't help that Drax is completely sloshed at this point.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Drax wants to kill Gamora as she is a relative of Ronan.
    Drax: He killed my family. I shall kill one of his in return.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • Yondu's interactions with Peter take on a more positive light in context of the sequel, and his first scene demanding where Peter was ends up coming off as Anger Born of Worry. Hell, his character comes off better if watching this film through again, even without the events of the second movie, when taking into account his comments to one of his men that Peter turned out well.
    • The troll doll that Peter gives to Yondu at the end can be seen floating right past the camera during the escape from Morag at the beginning of the film. It's completely irrelevant at the first viewing, yet almost impossible to miss the second time.
    • Shortly after Peter catches Rocket assembling weapons on board the Milano, he asks, "What's that?" and Rocket responds with, "That's for if things get really hardcore. Or if you want to blow up moons..." The object he points to is barely visible in the frame, but on subsequent viewings it's clear that he's referring to the Hadron Enforcer.
  • Riding into the Sunset: The last shot of the Milano taking off into the sky.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Quill goes on one to retrieve his Walkman.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Drax has been cutting a swath across the galaxy after the murder of his wife and family.
  • Robo Cam: Rocket's first scene shows him scanning Xandarians through a transparent device displaying loads of information about the targets.
  • Rocket Boots: Star-Lord has a pair of rockets that attach to his boots. Instead of flying, 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: Now I'm standing. Y'all happy? We're all standing up now. Buncha jackasses, 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.
  • Rule of Funny: Peter left Earth when he was like eight; how many kids that young know who Jackson Pollock is or what his paintings look like? But it was too good a joke to let such minor considerations get in the way.
  • Running Gag:
    • "I am Groot."
    • Rocket's insistence that he needs various individuals' artificial limbs as part of the teams' plans.


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