Ever since Marvel Studios reinvented itself in 2008, major film audiences have plunged into a new and fantastic world of superheroes. To test the waters, the studio began with some of the most cherished and beloved characters in Marvel history: The Avengers. Not just any Avengers either; the core, founding members that include Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America.  That’s because those characters are the most recognizable and virtuous in the entire comic world, and audiences could identify with them. A few years ago, Marvel went in the completely opposite direction when they decided to make a film about the most bizarre, foul-mouthed, obscure, and least heroic heroes in their rogue’s gallery. This decision has garnered tremendous praise from audiences, critics, comic book writers, and industry icons. Universe, prepare yourself for Guardians of the Galaxy.

Most people know the superheroes that protect the fictionalized version of Earth, but aren’t familiar with the fantastic world Marvel has set up in space; complete with fictional alien races, planets, and, of course, villains. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige sought to bring those worlds to the forefront with Guardians of the Galaxy (and to a lesser extent, Thor). Unknown screenwriter Nicole Perlman was part of a Marvel Studios in-house team chosen to take on more obscure comic titles. Because of her love of space and science – having previously written an as- yet unproduced screenplay about the Challenger disaster – Perlman chose Guardians. A slew of directors were up to take the helm, but in the end, James Gunn was chosen due to his eclectic, off-the-wall style that always showcases a human connection (find out more about Gunn and why he was chosen in our Eventful Director Series post).

The film Guardians of the Galaxy essentially revolves around an orb. But not just any orb; an extremely powerful, galaxy changing orb belonging to the Kree warrior Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). Ronan works for Thanos (Josh Brolin), who is the powerful purple guy you might’ve seen in the end credits of Marvel’s The Avengers. When an Earthling turned space pirate named Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) steals the orb, Ronan sends Thanos’ adopted daughter and the Most Deadly Woman in the Universe, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), to retrieve it. The ensuing fight attracts the attention of a pair of bizarre bounty hunters: a disgruntled, genetically engineered raccoon named Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and his monosyllabic, tree-like companion, Groot (Vin Diesel). Since this ruckus takes place on the planet Xandar, the planet’s elite police force (the Nova Corps) comes along and arrests the brawling bunch. While in prison, the group meets the disgruntled Drax (Dave Bautista), who has a bone to pick with Gamora after Ronan murdered his family.  However, when Peter, Gamora, Rocket, Groot, and Drax discover what the orb is capable (and how much they can sell it for) they hatch a plan to keep it as far away from the Nova Corps and Ronan as possible.

An all-star cast. Explosive action. An obsessively dedicated crew. Sparkling reviews. Visually stunning special effects. A talking raccoon. How many more reasons could you need to go see Guardians of the Galaxy? Click right here to find showtimes and tickets for the film right here, and consider checking out Guardians in IMAX 3D!