Perlman began working on the screenplay in 2009. Producer Kevin Feige first publicly mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy as a potential film in 2010 and Marvel Studios announced it was in active development at the San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2012. Gunn was hired to write and direct the film that September. In February 2013, Pratt was hired to play Peter Quill/Star-Lord, and the supporting cast members were subsequently confirmed. Principal photography began in July 2013 at Shepperton Studios, England, with filming continuing in London before wrapping up in October 2013. Post-production was finished on July 7, 2014.
Guardians of the Galaxy premiered in Hollywood on July 21, 2014. It was released in theaters August 1, 2014 in the United States in the 3D and IMAX 3D formats. The film became a critical and commercial success, grossing $773.3 million worldwide and becoming the highest-grossing superhero film of 2014, as well as the third highest-grossing film in North America of 2014. The film garnered praise for its humor, action, soundtrack, visual effects, direction, musical score, and acting. A sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, was released on May 5, 2017.
In 1988, following his mother's death, a young Peter Quill is abducted from Earth by the Ravagers, a group of space pirates led by Yondu Udonta. Twenty-six years later on the planet Morag, Quill steals an orb, after which Korath, a subordinate to the fanatical Kree, Ronan, intercepts him. Although Quill escapes with the orb, Yondu discovers his theft and issues a bounty for his capture, while Ronan sends the assassin Gamora after the orb.
When Quill attempts to sell the orb on the Nova Empire capital world, Xandar, Gamora ambushes him and steals it. A fight ensues, drawing in a pair of bounty hunters: the genetically and cybernetically modified raccoon Rocket, and the tree-like humanoid Groot. The Nova Corps arrives and captures the four, detaining them in the Kyln. While there, a powerful inmate, Drax, attempts to kill Gamora due to her association with Ronan, who killed his family. Quill convinces Drax that Gamora can bring Ronan to him. Gamora reveals that she has betrayed Ronan, unwilling to let him use the orb's power to destroy planets, starting with Xandar. Learning that Gamora has a buyer for the orb, she, Quill, Rocket, Groot, and Drax work together to escape from the Kyln.
Elsewhere, Ronan meets with Gamora's adoptive father, Thanos, to discuss her betrayal. Accompanied by Drax, Quill's group escapes the Kyln in his ship – the Milano – and flees to Knowhere, a remote criminal outpost in space built in the giant severed head of a Celestial. A drunken Drax summons Ronan while the rest of the group meet Gamora's contact, the collector Taneleer Tivan. Tivan opens the orb, revealing an Infinity Stone, an item of immeasurable power that destroys all but the most powerful beings who wield it. Suddenly, Tivan's tormented assistant grabs the Stone, triggering an explosion that engulfs Tivan's archive.
Ronan arrives and easily defeats Drax, while the others flee by ship, pursued by Ronan's followers and Gamora's sister Nebula. Nebula destroys Gamora's ship, leaving her floating in space, and Ronan's fighters capture the orb. Quill contacts Yondu before following Gamora into space, giving her his helmet to survive; Yondu arrives and retrieves the pair. Rocket, Drax, and Groot threaten to attack Yondu's ship to rescue them, but Quill negotiates a truce by convincing Yondu that they can recover the orb. Quill's group agrees that facing Ronan means certain death, but that they cannot let him use the Infinity Stone to destroy the galaxy. On Ronan's flagship, the Dark Aster, Ronan embeds the Stone in his warhammer, taking its power for himself. He contacts Thanos, threatening to kill him after the destruction of Xandar; hateful of her adoptive father, Nebula allies with Ronan.
Near Xandar, the Ravagers, the Nova Corps, and Quill’s group confront and breach the Dark Aster. Ronan uses his empowered warhammer to destroy the Nova Corps fleet. On the Dark Aster, Gamora fights and defeats Nebula, she unlocks Ronan's chambers while Nebula is escaping, but the group find themselves outmatched by his power until Rocket crashes the Milano through the Dark Aster. The damaged Dark Aster crash-lands on Xandar, with Groot sacrificing himself to shield the group. Ronan emerges from the wreck and prepares to destroy Xandar, but Quill distracts him with ridiculous dancing, allowing Drax and Rocket to destroy Ronan's warhammer. Quill grabs the freed Stone, initially he starts burning just like others who touch it but he starts resisting it long enough for Gamora to grab his hand his hand so she can share the burden of the stone, followed by Drax and Rocket. Together, the Guardians of the Galaxy use the stone to kill Ronan for good
In the aftermath, Quill tricks Yondu into taking a container supposedly containing the Stone, and gives the real Stone to the Nova Corps. As the Ravagers leave Xandar, Yondu remarks that it turned out well that they did not deliver Quill to his father per their contract. Quill's group, now officially known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, have their criminal records expunged, and Quill learns that he is only half-human; his father being part of an ancient, unknown species which explains why he survived the vaccum of space holding the Infinity stone with his bare hands for so long. Yondu quickly finds out that the orb he took has a Troll Doll but instead of getting angry he simply burts into laughter and keeps the doll as a souvenir. Quill finally opens the last present he received from his mother: a second cassette tape filled with her favorite songs. The Guardians leave in the rebuilt Milano along with a sapling cut from Groot's corpse which is growing into a new Groot.
In a post-credits scene, Tivan sits in his destroyed archive with two of his living exhibits: a canine cosmonaut and an anthropomorphic duck.
Why It Rocks
- Great casting and acting.
- Good special effects.
- Awesome soundtrack.
- Lots of well-timed humor.
- The Infinity Stones are officially introduced to the MCU.
- If you remove the Marvel logo, this is still a solid Sci-fi movie.
- There's a cameo of Howard the Duck at the end of the movie.
- Ronan the Accuser is much, MUCH darker than his comic counterpart, which amazed many Marvel fans.
- A surprisingly emotional and heartfelt opening with young Peter Quill witnessing the death of his mother Meredith.
- Great characters in Star-Lord, Gamora, and Drax.
- Ronan the Accuser isn't a compelling villain. He's the typicial generic villain that wants to destroy the world.
- Of all the Guardians of the Galaxy members (most of which are likable and badass), Rocket Raccoon is the worst since he acts for the most part as a jerk and is rude.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 91% approval rating with an average rating of 7.8/10 based on 277 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Guardians of the Galaxy is just as irreverent as fans of the frequently zany Marvel comic would expect—as well as funny, thrilling, full of heart, and packed with visual splendor." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 76 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". CinemaScore audiences gave Guardians of the Galaxy an "A" grade rating on an A+ to F scale, while earning an "A+" among under-18 and 25- to 34-year-old viewers.
The movie's positive reception was considered a big surprise beause the Guardians of the Galaxy were one of Marvel's most unknown characters.