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YMMV / Guardians of the Galaxy

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    The Comics 
  • Base-Breaking Character: Angela, who is either a badass Action Girl who complements Gamora, or a bland character and a pointless addition to The Team because she fills the same role as Gamora.
  • Broken Base:
    • A rift seems to have developed between fans of the most recent team led by Star-Lord and fans of the original team. Especially when the 2014 film was merely being talked about, and was set to include Star-Lord's team; which eventually turned out to be the case.
    • The biggest fight in the franchise history is between fans of the DnA (Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning) era and fans of the Brian Michael Bendis era of the Star-Lord team. The former believe Bendis took everything that made special about the Guardians like the big space sagas or the serious tone of their characters and replaced it with Avengers type stories filled with characters that are caricatures of their former selves; while the latter believe Bendis did many things to improve the franchise like making the characters more likable and appealing for a wider audience or giving them a more important role in the Marvel Universe instead of just letting them play in their own corner separated from the rest.
    • Starcat, the relationship between Peter Quill and Kitty Pryde. Some despise it and feel it came out of nowhere just for the sake of making 'Kitty dates a lot of Peters' jokes and because of Bendis' well known love for Kitty, while others found it quite endearing and enjoyed it due to their fun, committed and flirty dynamic.
  • Dork Age: Some fans believe Volume 3 was this to the Guardians due to the excessive changes in the book, which are thought to have been at least partially driven by Bendis' infamous tendency to disregard established continuity in favour of doing his own thing. Bendis has defended his creative decisions by saying he wanted to respect the DnA era by not trying to imitate it, but for many fans this still doesn't justify the extent of the changes he made with regards to things like character, setting and tone.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The Cancerverse arc (the tie-in to Original Sin) is considered to be the ultimate low point of Bendis's run (which directly contradicts large swathes of the ending to The Thanos Imperative and has inconsistently spelled named among other issues), with many fans wanting to forget it. The Nova tie-in to The Black Vortex may or may not have iturned this into Canon Discontinuity as well depending on how one interprets the images the Black Vortex shows the new Nova.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Yondu's people subscribe to a belief they call "The Circle of Life". Not helping is a scene where Yondu tells Photon she could "break the Circle".
    • In one issue of vol 2., the Guardians fight an alien invasion in New York. Sound familiar? Even better, they're fighting in the exact place the Avengers gathered. History never repeats, but sometimes it rhymes, indeed.
    • In the Rocket and Groot back-up story from Annihilators: Earthfall, Mojo sends "action figure variants" of Rocket into combat, identified with toy ads boasting a "Build-A-Groot" collectible figure. Sure enough, the Marvel Legends series for Guardians of the Galaxy has such a figure included in pieces with each toy.
  • Informed Wrongness: Aleta is apparently wrong to be angry at Starhawk, despite the fact that due to his origins he could have done something to prevent the deaths of their children, never mind the fact that he never took the time to try and allow them to exist as separate beings before the Stark attack.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: Zig-zagged. While fans couldn't be happier with seeing their favourite characters on screen, many of them are less enthusiastic about the massive push their comic counterparts have been given as a result. This is generally thought to be due to a combination of Bendis' perceived Avengers-style writing and continuity slip-ups (covered elsewhere on this page), and the characters being shoehorned into massive crossover events like Civil War II and Secret Empire note .
  • Les Yay: The 2013 series and the Secret Wars miniseries "Guardians of Knowhere" have quite a few of these moments between Angela and Gamora.
    Intercom: Will you marry me?
    Angela: You're too short, Rocket.
    Intercom: This is Gamora.
    Angela: I'll consider it.
  • Memetic Badass: "I AM GROOT!"
  • Narm:
    • The first enemy the team faces in the 90s series is a terrifying foe by the name of... Taserface. It's narm in-universe as well. And then he gets his name changed to the name of Overkill.
      • To say nothing of his horrifying FACE BEAMS! (the emphasis and over-dramatic delivery are from the comic).
    • Yondu's people believe in "the Circle of Life". It makes it hard to read through his and Photon's scenes and keep a straight face.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The franchise has its own page
  • Older Than They Think: The five most famous members of the team debuted far before the team was established in the Marvel Universe (and way before most people who were introduced to them in the movie think).
    • Groot debuted in Tales to Astonish Vol. 1 #13 (1960).
    • Drax debuted in Iron Man Vol. 1 #55 (1973).
    • Gamora debuted in Strange Tales Vol. 1 #180 (1975).
    • Star-Lord debuted in Marvel Preview Vol. 1 #4 (1976).
    • Rocket debuted in Marvel Preview Vol. 1 #7 (1976).
  • Squick:
    • Starhawk marrying his sister and having kids with her. Even if they are adopted siblings, it's still pretty messed up.
    • The scene from Vol 2 of the alien squid monster thing forcing its way down Moondragon's throat, complete with lovingly drawn froth... gaaah.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Volume 2 not featuring the same team who were in the original series.
    • Some fans were not 'pleased' with Star-Lord's retro inspired redesign nor Gamora's costume changes for Volume 3. Star-Lord undergoing another makeover later on the run, this time to his costume from the film, wasn't recieved very well either. Although many fans seemed to prefer this change to his last 2 costume changes.
    • Rocket Raccoon:
      • In volume 3, he's not as well liked as he was in volume 2, mainly because of how he gleefully shouts about murdering enemies, and because he now seems to have a disdain for Earth, both traits that had not been there before. On top of that, his origins being changed from a mutated raccoon to a member of a race of aliens that look like raccoons.
      • As of issues 7 and 8, both complaints about Rocket Raccoon seem to have been addressed, as Rocket referenced his original origin and other characters have discouraged Rocket from using his new catchphrase as they find it "annoying and disturbing."
      • Rocket's origin and species seems to constantly flip-flop from issue to issue.
    • Bring back DnA (Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning) was their fandom's catchphrase. Sadly Abnett and Lanning no longer work together and Abnett (the only one of the team who remained at Marvel) decided to go exclusive with DC after the failure of his last cosmic comic "Guardians of Infinity".
    • Volume 3 being more Earth-focused than either previous series, with the inclusions of Iron Man, Captain Marvel and Agent Venom being commonly pointed to.
    • Drax suddenly talking like his "Space Hulk" persona from the 90's despite his character development given by Keith Giffen, Abnett and Lanning.
    • Venom's race being changed from space parasites called Symbiotes to noble space warriors that are easily corrupted called Klyntar.
  • Wangst: Yondu's heartbroken reaction to being separated from Photon, and acts like he's lost the love of his life. Except he's only known her for ten minutes, and she spent those ten minutes trying to kill him, and expounding how much she hated her species, and its culture, and was honestly glad the Badoon had tried to wipe them out.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Duggan's run is seen by some as a welcome return to form for the title following Bendis' Earth-centric, crossover-heavy "Avengers in space" run. It introduces elements from the films without them feeling too forced (such as Star-Lord's mixtapes), while at the same time incorporating concepts from Starlin's classic sagas (such as Soul World).
    • The following 2 series by Cates and Ewing respectively only served to continue this trend. Donny Cates' run shifted the team's line-up away from the more movie focused teams from the past few years, brought back fan favorite members like Moondragon and Phyla-Vell, and even incorporated other fan favorite cosmic heroes like Beta Ray Bill.
    • Al Ewing's run is mostly seen as a full return to form for the team in terms of theme and character portrayals. Rocket Raccoon, a victim of constant retcons and Out of Character since Bendis' run, was mostly in line with his portrayals from his classic series and Abnett and Lanning's Guardian's run. Other notable victims such as Gamora were addressed and given in universe explanations and several Continuity Snarls including Rocket's origins and 616-Moondragon falsely being declared dead were addressed and fixed.

    The Film 
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Did Yondu know he'd been given a fake orb? There's certainly an argument to be made that it was in his best interest. He couldn't admit to not wanting it, but he likewise knew that selling it to anyone he'd be likely to do business with could only bring disaster, and it would be much safer with the Nova Corps. Likewise, did he not deliver Peter to his father because he really was "a jackass" as claimed, or because Yondu would much rather steal the kid for his own purposes?
    • Additionally, did Yondu ever really intend to kill Peter at any point in the film, or was he just putting on a tough act in front of his men whilst also using it to get Peter to cooperate with him? The idea that he'd been telling Peter the story of the Ravagers wanting to eat him when they picked him up over and over again for years, one of his men claiming he'd always been soft on Peter, as well as Yondu being something of a Troll lend some favour to the latter idea. Then there's Yondu's reaction being him grinning widely and warmly when he finds Peter tricked him and switched the orb.
    • Did Yondu ever realy intend to participate in boarding Ronan's ship, or was he playing the part of The Chessmaster, letting himself get taken out of the fight only to show up afterwards and claim the Orb? It seems suspicious that he let himself drop so far behind Quill and the Guardians, even before his collision with a Kree fighter... was he just looking for a chance to get his ship disabled and drop out? His last words ("I'll see you at the end of it") show he seems very confident that Quill will pull off the plan without him, and falling out of the battle gives him the chance to gather his Ravagers for a show of force and seize the prize once it's over.
    • At the end when Rocket attacks Ronan, is it because he blames the Kree for Groot's death and wants to punish him for it? Or is it because he knows the Dark Aster crashed because he flew his own ship into it in a failed attempt to kill Ronan, and, knowing he can't possibly win, no longer cares what happens to him because he blames himself for Groot's death?
    • Despite having only a brief appearance Thanos has generated two opposing first impressions. Is he an all-powerful master schemer that the loss of the stones and the betrayals and failures of his underlings is beneath his attention, or an overconfident, out-of-touch fool who cannot keep his underlings from betraying him? If the ending of Avengers: Age of Ultron is of any indication it may be that Ronan's betrayal was the last straw which led him to go on a ruthless quest to get the Infinity Stones himself.
      • After Avengers: Infinity War explored his motives in-depth, was Thanos ever going to honor his agreement to destroy Xandar for Ronan? Helping him commit genocide seems to go against Thanos' M.O. of restoring balance to the universe by leaving half of a planet's population alive. Was Thanos lying to Ronan the whole time, or did he see Xandar as a necessary sacrifice for his end-goal of assembling the Infinity Gauntlet? Or, was he going to find another way to fulfill the agreement to the letter?
    • Ronan. Is he really a renegade of the Kree... or is he their agent, but acting as if he went rogue? The Kree Ambassador clearly didn't give a rat's ass about what Ronan is doing, and there are riots going on in the Kree Empire over the treaty. It WOULD be in the Kree Empire's best interest that Xandar be destroyed, and there's a distinct lack of Kree acting against Ronan or helping Xandar.
    • Did Ronan really remember killing Drax's family in their second encounter, or was he merely pretending to as a way to taunt Drax and Kick the Dog?
    • Did Ronan betray Thanos out of spite for being disrespected? Or, was he planning on betraying Thanos far early on because wiping out half a population (most of which aren't Kree nor races he likes) wasn't satisfying enough, and wasn't allowed to take any more than that amount?
    • Rocket's replying Gamora's "You must be joking" with "No, I really heard they find you attractive", is he really missing the point or is he just being his usual Deadpan Snarker?
  • Americans Hate Tingle: The movie was poorly received in China, mostly due to the atrocious translation job done with the Chinese subtitles.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Many people were claiming the film would do so, especially because it has bizarre little known comic book characters, like a Badass Adorable humanoid Rascally Raccoon. Of course, after the film became a mega-hit, Rocket is now credited as a big reason for its success.
  • Angst Aversion: The Downer Beginning, with the mother dying and young Quill's unnerving screaming, not to mention him being too scared to hold her hand before her dying. You'd be forgiven if you want to leave the room when this happens.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Subverted twice with Nebula and Ronan. The former starts ranting in what sounds like the opening taunts of a climactic duel, only to be hilariously swiftly shot with a rocket by Drax. To have it both ways, though, the film lets her survive and put herself back together in time for the real duel. The latter too is shot by a rocket, but anyone who's seen the "Ex-Wife" scene of Iron Man 2 knows it has no chance of working.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Word of God has explained the "sex crime" on Quill's rap sheet comes from him having an affair with a duchess on a planet where it is illegal for commoners and nobility to interact in such a way, to make it clear that our main character is not a rapist.
  • Award Snub: The movie lost the Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling to The Grand Budapest Hotel, which had substantially less makeup work.
  • Awesome Ego: Star-Lord, so much. Not quite the level of Tony Stark, but it's there.
  • Badass Decay: Some have complained that Drax and Gamora aren't as powerful as they were in the comics.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Ronan the Accuser. Either he was an entertaining Large Ham with a clear motivation and a clear goal in comparison to Malekith or he was a boring villain who is dragged down by having none of the Anti-Villainous traits carried by his comic book counterpart and making him a Hate Sink.
  • Bizarro Episode: Until a greater focus on the cosmic aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was explored, along with the inevitable Avengers-VS-Thanos storyline, this movie seemed to be an out-there installment due to having minimal ties to the previous movies. However, it's been argued that this ultimately helps the film, partly because the ties to previous films are slight enough that a even viewer wholly unfamiliar with the rest of the MCU can still understand and enjoy the movie on its own.
  • Cargo Ship: Thanos and his chair.
  • Catharsis Factor: Let's face it, Ronan being destroyed with extreme prejudice, for the level of brutality he wanted to inflict on Xandar. After seeing him preach violence and genocide and commit countless murders, it's just so gratifying to see the most despicable being in the film pay for his bloodshed.
  • Complete Monster: Ronan the Accuser is a genocidal Kree terrorist and renegade wholly devoted to the destruction of the planet of Xandar. Disgusted by his people signing a peace treaty, Ronan is introduced to the audience by confronting a captive member of Xandar's Nova Corps and crushing the helpless man's skull with his Universal Weapon. Beginning the film as a henchman of the Mad Titan Thanos, Ronan seeks to gather an item for Thanos so that he will destroy Xandar for him. Under Thanos, Ronan has committed multiple murders, including the deaths of Drax the Destroyer's wife and children. He later pursues the film's motley band of heroes to the space prison The Kyln, and orders a full massacre of every prisoner to leave no witnesses. When he realizes the power of the Infinity Stone he has been sent to retrieve, Ronan double crosses Thanos and vows to kill him after he's finished with Xandar. Assaulting the planet, he even orders his own men to become suicide bombers by flying their ships into Xandar, injuring and killing numerous civilians. He later kills over 80,000 members of the Nova Corps in one fell swoop. After mocking Drax about finally remembering murdering his family, he declares Xandar "guilty" by his psychotic philosophy and attempts to purge it of all life. Brutal, violent, relentless and unforgiving, Ronan stands as an example of rage, fanaticism, unchecked hatred and utter cruelty, and really stands out in such a relatively light-hearted movie.
  • Crazy Awesome: Rocket Raccoon is a Trigger Happy Heroic Comedic Sociopath who believes in More Dakka, hoards bombs in a shoebox, can mastermind a Prison Break in twenty minutes flat and hangs out with a talking tree. No wonder he's so popular.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Rocket picks up one of Groot's burned twigs from the wreckage. Later, he is shown with a Groot-bud that grows into Baby Groot for the second movie. Was this the twig that was from the wreckage or was it the bud that Groot left behind during the suit-up montage?
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Yondu, due to his badassery and fun lines.
    • Carina, due to being both The Woobie and a Green-Skinned Space Babe.
    • Korath is quite well-liked, despite his lack of screentime compared to Ronan or Nebula.
    • Howard the Duck due to his hilarious cameo at the end. Marvel predicted this would happen and took full advantage of by digitally re-releasing his original comic series the same week as the movie's launch. He also got a new series in 2015 which likely wouldn't have happened without the film.
    • Nebula, due to some seeing her as a more sympathetic and interesting character than Gamora. James Gunn himself agreed with this, and gave Nebula a more important role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
  • Epileptic Trees: A wild theory is that the scene of the Collector showing the Guardians footage of Eson The Searcher destroying a planet with the Power Stone actually teases Kang The Conqueror in a Freeze-Frame Bonus Early-Bird Cameo.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Nebula. It helps that she's played by Karen Gillan, who's known for her legs.
    • Ronan is played by Lee Pace. In his introduction is totally naked.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With Suicide Squad, which some feels mimics Guardians by centering around a group of lesser-known cult comic book anti-heroes who become True Companions while battling a world-ending threat, all set to a contemporary, rock n' roll soundtracks. Guardian fans' attitude towards Squad is summed up pretty well in this comic
    • Hilarious in Hindsight after James Gunn himself was hired to write and direct the Squad sequel in between being fired from, and re-hired for, Guardians Volume 3.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • All the hilarious moments involving the prisoners and guards on the Kyln become somewhat grimmer on subsequent viewings, since we know that Ronan is going to have all of them killed once he gets to the station.
    • At the end, Kraglin remarks it was probably a good thing they didn't take Peter to his father, with Yondu quipping about how he was a "jackass". The sequel then proceeds to showcase the freakish lengths said "jackass" has gone and intends to go to earn such a jab, to the point where it just reads like a hell of an understatement now.
    • Amidst their squabbling, Gamora remarks how working with the Guardians to escape the Kiln will result in her "dying surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy", but they all live to make their getaway. This comes back to bite her something fierce in Avengers: Infinity War, in which she really does die at the hands of an actual World War II-era Nazi and an abusive genocidal warlord with horrifically misguided methods of "balancing the universe", inadvertantly proving her right in the worst way imaginable.
  • Gateway Series: The movie and its sequel served as one for Marvel's cosmic and outer-space characters. Until Guardians, Marvel's space characters, with a small handful of notable exceptions like the Silver Surfer, were considered to be less iconic and notable than DC's roster, but the films raised both in profile. It also made many into fans of Space Opera and Space Western.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Ronan's introduction scene became this after ISIS began similar tactics against their prisoners later into the month of this film's release.
    • Peter's mother talking so lovingly about his father on her deathbed, in light of what Ego did to her...
    • Following the reveal that Peter's father wasn't from Earth, it was popularly theorised that her sickness and eventual death was a tragic result of her contact with an immensely powerful alien. The sequel reveals that Ego was the reason for her death, but it was far from unintentional.
    • During Stan Lee's cameo, with Rocket snarkily saying 'Where's your wife, old man?' while he's chatting with a younger woman, is... a lot less funny with the death of Stan Lee's wife.
    • The discussion between Rocket and Quill about keeping the moon-destroying bomb in a box, given the Nova Corp's solution to the Power Stone is also "stick it in a box", and judging by Avengers: Infinity War, this goes about as well for them as you'd expect.
    • This line from Gamora, stated upon agreeing to fight Ronan despite overwhelming odds, becomes seriously harsher come Avengers: Infinity War, when Gamora dies alone and scared at the hand of her worst enemy.
    Gamora: I have lived most of my life surrounded my enemies. I will be grateful to die among my friends.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Brett White was quick to make a post about the audacity of this film and its characters, whilst Wonder Woman's movie debut had been continuously postponed. Not long after, Wonder Woman was announced to be making an appearance in the sequel to Man of Steel. Then the DCEU's Wonder Woman solo movie not only came out before the MCU's first female-lead movie Captain Marvel but also outgrossed Guardians of the Galaxy domestically and internationally.
    • When Peter is ambushed by Korath and his thugs on Morag, he snaps at one of them, "Ninja Turtle, you better stop poking me!" Guess which new film knocked Guardians of the Galaxy off of No. 1 at the box office? It becomes even more hilarious a few weeks later when Guardians actually retakes the No. 1 spot at the box office from TMNT.
    • The Memetic Mutation of Korath's reaction to hearing Quill call himself "Star-Lord". Guess who's the first character in the film to use Quill's "outlaw name" seriously.
    • In an amusing coincidence, When the film was released, it opened opposite to Get On Up starring Chadwick Boseman. Just a handful of months later, he was announced as being chosen to play the Black Panther in future Marvel films.
    • Yondu describes Peter's father as "a jackass". Recent events in the comics have shown that J'Son of Spartax (Peter's dad in the comics) actually is a bit of a jackass.
    • After the release of Daredevil Season 2, both one of the lightest entries in the MCU and one of the darkest feature a character reacting to someone's tragic past with a sarcastic "Boo hoo."
    • After seeing Captain Marvel (2019), it suddenly makes a lot of sense that after witnessing what Carol did to his fleet, Ronan would make such an absurdly fortified area on his ship.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Nebula. Like Gamora, she's another one of Thanos's experiments, except she has far more cybernetic implants and is The Unfavorite. The only reason she followed Ronan was in the hopes that he could kill Thanos.
    • Rocket as well. His gruff, don't-take-crap-from-anyone personality makes him a fairly abrasive and somewhat misanthropic character early on, but it hides a lot of resentment and pain over his origins. His breakdown post-alcohol shows the audience where he's coming from.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Quite a few people watched the movie just for Rocket Raccoon.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "What a bunch of a-holes."Explanation 
    • The various gifs of Rocket Raccoon shooting his guns.
    • This summer, it's time to give a shit. Explanation 
    • From this tweet: "DC/WB is all like 'Wonder Woman's too confusing for a movie!' and Marvel/Disney is all like 'Here's a raccoon with a machine gun.'" Becomes Hilarious in Hindsight after DC released a Wonder Woman movie in 2017 and it turned out extremely well.
    • [OOGA CHAKA INTENSIFIES] Explanation 
    • "I am Groot." Relatedly, "We are Groot."Explanation 
    • Dancing Baby Groot. Who doesn't like Dancing Baby Groot?
    • Rocket laughing at Star-Lord's 12% of a plan, and the subsequent argument between Quill & Rocket.
    • Thanks to The Stinger, the film has been deemed by many as the best Howard the Duck film ever made... Which isn't surprising.
    • Responding to pictures/clips of Andy (Chris Pratt's goofy Manchild character from Parks and Recreation) with "I'm glad he's guarding our galaxy".
    • "I'm gonna need his X" Explanation  Soon, people took notice of a particular character who had a metal arm. Utter hilarity ensued.Note 
    • "Who?" Explanation 
    • "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know how this machine worked."Explanation 
    • "Oh... yeah."Explanation 
    • To a lesser extent: "YOU STAND ACCUSED!"Explanation 
    • Pelvic sorcery.Explanation 
    • "Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast. I would catch it." note 
    • "What are you doing? ....What are you doing?" note 
    • "We're just like Kevin Bacon!" Explanation 
    • "They got my dick message!"Explanation 
    • This series makes no sense Explanation 
    • Activists have picked up on Quill's "Because I'm one of the idiots who lives in it" line as a rallying cry, particularly for defending the environment.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Ronan's first scene becomes this after Fridge Horror kicks in. Initially, he's introduced as coming out of a very large liquid chamber that the audience is led to believe is some sort of water. However, when he murders his Xandarian captive, the blood from his corpse is used to fill a slight amount of the liquid chamber. To put it bluntly, he murdered dozens of innocent Xandarians to bathe in their blood, and it's implied he does this regularly.
    • Thanos crossed this at his backstory, when he wiped out Gamora's race (retconned in Avengers: Infinity War to just half of her planet... maybe) and abducted her, Nebula, and other children to serve as tools, and put them through horrific training.
  • Narm: See here.
  • Narm Charm:
    • Drax's dialogue at points can reach Narmic levels, but during the team's Darkest Hour you can really feel his pain.
    • Ronan's extremely theatrical dialogue could have sounded ridiculous, but the character's look and Lee Pace's performance managed to make Ronan into a genuinely terrifying villain.
  • Never Live It Down: Similarly to Iron Man 3's reveal that the Mandarin is only an actornote , many people joke that other upcoming superhero movies will end on the note of the hero challenging the villain to a dance-off.
  • Newer Than They Think: Between the pulp-sounding name (including Rocket Raccoon), '70s soundtrack, and Raygun Gothic elements, most people are surprised that the movie is based on an incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy from a 2008 series.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The Universal Weapon mobile video game is a decent, although a bit repetitive, one.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Thanos has only two brief appearances, but he makes a hell of a first impression.
    • Howard the Duck totally steals the show in The Stinger.
    • Despite press releases making a bigger deal out of Benicio del Toro's involvement than Glenn Close's, The Collector is only present in one scene for an Info Dump and in the stinger. But hell if he didn't milk his scenes for all they were worth!
    • Cosmo the Space-Dog, in the Collector's archive.
    • Star-Lord's Badass Longcoat. He only wears it during the opening sequence, donning a short jacket for the rest of the film, but nearly every piece of merch, video game appearance, and even his costume in the comic books has him sporting the trench coat.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The opening with Star-Lord dancing to "Come And Get Your Love".
    • The prison fight. All of it. But most famously, Rocket Firing One-Handed while hanging onto Groot, or cocking his gun and uttering his Pre-Asskicking One-Liner.
    • The dance off.
  • Special Effect Failure: After Yondu uses his Yaka Arrow near the climax against a group of Sakaarans, their Necrocraft smashes into the ground. The explosion itself looks fine, but it's obviously just composited into the practically shot stuff in the foreground.
    • While Rocket mostly looks great in the film, there are some blink and you'll miss it moments where he looks like more of a cartoon character than the photorealistic character he looks like in the rest of the movie. He also subtly changes size at times.
  • Spiritual Licensee:
    • To people not as well-versed in comic books, the film is drawing a lot of comparisons to Farscape, due to its lineup including a gentle plant-person character who's not to be messed with (Zhaan/Groot), a snarky white leader guy who is an Earth-human Trapped in Another World (Star-Lord/John Crichton), a small, sociopathic, anthropomorphic talking thing (Rocket Raccoon/Rygel), a big, intimidating guy with a dead wife and an oddly innocent hidden side (Drax/D'Argo), and a repressed, deadly, formerly-evil woman who acts as "the sensible one" (Gamora/Aeryn) who do battle with a deranged rogue alien warlord (Ronan/Crais). A notable number of the changes to the characters from the comic took them in the direction of being closer to the Farscape ones. James Gunn has acknowledged the series as an influence on this movie.
    • It's also getting a lot of comparisons to Firefly in terms of tone, character archetypes, and visual style. The fact that the creator of Firefly, Joss Whedon, is the director of both of the Avengers movies (and a large creative force in the MCU) definitely helps.
    • It has been compared to Schlock Mercenary, another comedic space opera about a group of heroic ruffians from diverse, morally ambiguous backgrounds. Howard Tayler has himself noted the similarities.
    • Some also consider it to be a great Star Wars movie, up there with the original trilogy.
    • Some fans consider the film a suitable Spiritual Sequel to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
    • And yet another camp consider it the next-best thing to an adaptation of The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, in terms of tone and style. Even the writer of MTMTE has commented that the film is probably the closest there will ever be to a live-action adaption of the comic.
    • 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 re-popularize after it had been largely forgotten — in pivotal scenes.
    • Given that it's a reasonably family-friendly supernatural buddy comedy around a team of "losers", with enough large-scale action and subtle bawdy humor to appeal to adults, many people have called it a successor to Ghostbusters (1984).
    • It's pretty much the best Mass Effect 2 movie we'll ever get. The Kyln is Purgatory, Knowhere is Omega, and the fully suited-up Nova Corpsmen could pretty easily fit in amongst the mercenaries of the Mass Effect universe.
    • It's also seen as a good one for Futurama complete with a red jacket wearing time-displaced protagonist (Star Lord/Fry) who pines for an alien woman (Leela/Gamora) who's gruff and aloof, with a bunch of goofy sidekicks tagging along, one of whom has a dubious understanding of language and social interactions (Zoidberg/Drax). Likewise, the film and the cartoon have a similar theme about love and family being the only constant in a vast infinite universe.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Complaints were leveled at Gamora for several changes that were done to her character, such as making her more empathetic, compared to a fairly amoral Deadpan Snarker she was in the comics, as well as the reduction in her power level (which numerous other characters also experienced).
    • Some people reacted this way when James Gunn switched Drax's Arch-Enemy from Thanos to Ronan. However, Drax vows that he will kill Thanos after avenging his family's deaths with Ronan's death, reasoning that whilst Ronan killed them, he was working for Thanos at the time.
    • Rocket Raccoon not having the Cockney accent Greg Ellis chose for him in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!. The comics never indicated that he had one, though.
    • Korath being black instead of blue like in the comics.
    • The fact that all members of the Nova Corps are humans or Human Aliens.
    • The design of the Nova Corps suits are considered bland and generic by some, whilst others are displeased about the members of the Nova Corps not having the Nova Force which gives them superpowers. James Gunn is on record that there was stuff cut from the film because the end of the film was already Nova Corps heavy, and there's some stuff in the MCU lore that make them more like the Nova Corps of the comics, such as the Nova Force.
    • Ronan's Adaptational Villainy has angered some fans who enjoyed his portrayal as a complex Anti-Villain from the comics.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • The Collector was built up as being important to this movie in Thor: The Dark World, but he only appears a few minor scenes and in one scene where he serves as Mr. Exposition, along with The Stinger, which unfortunately isn't plot-relevant so much as it is a throwaway gag. It's especially surprising considering that he was implied to be a servant of Thanos in that movie. Nonetheless, he does leave an impact with his charismatic performance, and since the character wasn't killed off, he will likely appear in other movies.
    • Like the Collector, the Nova Corps can seem underused to many fans. The bulk of their military served as a Red Shirt Army that was easily destroyed by Ronan's forces. Unlike Nebula and Yondu, the named members lack any deep close relationships with the Guardians until the end when the surviving members repair the Milano. Fortunately, some named members like Irani Rael and Rhomann Dey survive and can be explored in further installments.
    • Even leaving aside Ronan the Accuser's characterisation from the comics, there are hints that he does have a somewhat legitimate grudge against the Xandarians, and has been mistreated more than a little by Thanos in their various dealings. Unfortunately, thanks to Marvel's philosophy in MCU Phases 1 and 2 that the villains (the ones not called Loki, at any rate) shouldn't steal the show and shouldn't serve much more narrative purpose than giving the heroes something to fight against, these end up going completely unexplored.
  • Too Cool to Live: Groot.
  • Trailer Joke Decay: "What a bunch of A-Holes," was in nearly every single promotional thing about the movie. Some who liked the joke didn't like it by the time the film came out. Quill's "mechanical middle finger" is also uncensored in the film, which ends up looking pretty awkward, especially since the trailer's "Obscene Gesture Imminent" bit was a pretty good joke on its own, though for what it's worth, this can still be seen in some televised versions of the film.
  • Ugly Cute: Groot and Nebula.
  • Unexpected Character: The movie is a gathering of C-list and D-list Marvel characters that nobody would have expected to be featured in a film. Including Howard the Duck in The Stinger!
  • What an Idiot!: Near the end of the movie, Ronan the Accuser's ship crashes onto the surface of Xandar, he survives the crash, and is going to annihilate Xandar with the Infinity Stone.
    You'd Think: Ronan would immediately use his Infinity Stone and annihilate the planet without gloating, especially since Quill and his buds are still alive, and still would pose even the slightest threat to his evil plans.
    Instead: Ronan takes his sweet time to gloat and mock the Guardians before annihilating Xandar, giving our heroes enough time to improvise a distraction so they can separate him from the Infinity Stone.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Word of God has admitted that Ronan may indeed have been an extreme caricature of terrorists, but didn't mean for the movie to be a true political commentary on the subject.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: Gamora. Detractors dislike the fact that she's not a god-level murder machine that kills everyone and everything the group comes across in two seconds flat (which she isn't in the comics they champion as an example of her badassery, either), and exaggerate her into being "borderline incompetent and constantly needing to be rescued" despite her being anything but.
  • Win the Crowd: The first trailer seemed to many like a standard space swashbuckler; but when the guard plays Star Lord's walkman and you hear "Hooked on a Feeling"'s "Ooga chaka!" chant coming through followed by the full chorus of that 1970s pop ballad roaring out, people learned this film has a wacky flavor all its own.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • The casting of Vin Diesel as Groot was met with this, but not because the role doesn't fit like most examples, but because most people expected him to appear in a different role in the MCU (such as The Punisher). Of course, there's still the possibility that he could play a different character as well as Groot, given that Groot is only a motion-capture character anyway. However, he has since teased the possibility that he could be in a movie based on The Inhumans. Another common complaint is "Why would they hire a big-name actor to only say one line over and over?" (Of course, he milks the heck out of that line and gives a very meaningful tweak to it near the end.)
    • Dave Baustista as Drax raised some eyebrows, as wrestlers aren't usually famous for being good actors in good movies. Not only did Bautista provide a funny and badass character, when Drax got some emotional moments he pulled them off great.
    • Fans had this reaction upon learning that Andy Dwyer would be a Marvel superhero, but most were pleasantly surprised. Even James Gunn was skeptical when he heard Pratt was auditioning, before meeting the man and instantly realizing he was right for the part.
  • The Woobie:
    • The entire main cast, but especially Rocket. He's the only one of his kind that he knows of and he constantly has feelings of loneliness and inferiority because of his species, not to mention the pain he probably went through during his creation.
    • Carina, who was abused and threatened by the Collector. No wonder she wanted the Infinity Stone the second she understood what it was. Even worse if you know that, in the comics, she's his daughter. While there is no indication of this in the film, it's still disturbing to think about.
    • Many of the prisoners that are onboard the Kyln are actually quite sad characters, with families and loved ones they won't see again, either because of distance or because they died thanks to Thanos' actions. To add insult to injury, Ronan slaughters all of them.


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