Have you heard of  these Marvel heroes: Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Groot and Rocket Raccoon?  Not exactly big, well-known names in the vein of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Hulk, but they are Marvel heroes nonetheless – they are the Guardians of the Galaxy.  Unless you’ve been following Marvel Comics for a while, you are likely unfamiliar with this superhero team, which was first introduced in a 1969 incarnation and re-introduced in a second, modern version of the team in 2008.  It is the 2008 variant of the team that Marvel Studios’ upcoming release, Guardians of the Galaxy, is based on.

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The Guardians are a Marvel superhero team tasked to save the universe, but they are quite unlike the Avengers and are more like a band of  awkward misfits rather than god-like heroes.  From watching the trailer one will instantly notice that the tone of the movie is much different from past Marvel Studios releases and is much more humorous and, frankly, weird – quite befitting a movie that features a gun-wielding raccoon.  Marvel is apparently attempting to change things up with Guardians and this noticeable departure from its success formula is a big risk.  Despite this, there doesn’t seem to be any lack of exciting comic-book action powered by state-of-the-art visual effects.

Here is the official synopsis from Marvel Studios:

An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits–Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon; Groot, a tree-like humanoid; the deadly and enigmatic Gamora; and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand–with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.

Guardians of the Galaxy stars Chris Pratt as Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, featuring Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, Lee Pace as Ronan, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, with John C. Reilly, Glenn Close as Nova Prime Rael and Benicio del Toro as The Collector (who first appeared in Thor: The Dark World‘s mid-credits scene).

James Gunn is the director with Kevin Feige producing.  Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy releases in U.S. theaters on August 1, 2014.