In 1988, following his mother’s death, a young Peter Quill is abducted from Earth by a group of alien thieves and smugglers called the Ravagers led by Yondu Udonta. Twenty-six years later on the abandoned planet Morag, Quill steals a mysterious orb, but is attacked by forces of the fanatical Kree renegade, Ronan the Accuser. 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 Xandar, capital of the Nova Empire, 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. Nova Corps officers capture the four, detaining them in the Kyln prison. An inmate there, Drax the Destroyer, attempts to kill Gamora due to her association with the powerful intergalactic warlord, Thanos, and Ronan, who killed his family. Quill convinces Drax that Gamora can bring Ronan to him, though Gamora reveals that she has betrayed Ronan, unwilling to let him use the orb’s power. Learning that Gamora intends to sell the orb to the Collector Taneleer Tivan, Quill, Rocket, Groot, and Drax work with her to escape the Kyln in Quill’s ship, the Milano.
Ronan meets with Gamora’s adoptive father, Thanos, to discuss her betrayal. Quill’s group flees to Knowhere, a remote lawless outpost in space built in the giant severed head of a Celestial. A drunken Drax summons Ronan while the rest of the group meets Tivan. Tivan opens the orb, revealing the Power Stone, an item of immeasurable power that destroys all but the most powerful beings who wield it. Tivan’s slave Carina 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 adoptive 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, promising the orb to Yondu. 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 first destroying Xandar; hateful of her adoptive father, Nebula allies with Ronan.
The Ravagers and Quill’s group join with the Nova Corps to confront the Dark Aster at Xandar, with Quill’s group breaching the Dark Aster with the Milano. Ronan uses his empowered warhammer to destroy the Nova Corps fleet. Drax kills Korath and Gamora defeats Nebula, who escapes, but the group finds themselves outmatched by Ronan’s power until Rocket crashes a Ravager ship 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, allowing Drax and Rocket to destroy Ronan’s warhammer. Quill grabs the freed Stone, and with Gamora, Drax, and Rocket sharing its burden, uses it to vaporize Ronan.
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 known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, has their criminal records expunged, and Quill learns that he is only half-human, his father being part of an ancient, unknown species. Quill finally opens the last present he received from his mother, a cassette tape filled with her favorite songs. The Guardians leave in the rebuilt Milanoalong with a potted sapling cut from Groot, which grows into a baby version of him.
In a post-credits scene, Tivan sits in his destroyed archive with two of his living exhibits: a canine cosmonaut and an anthropomorphic duck.
Straight up, Guardians of the Galaxy was awesome. This film really hooked me on being a fan of the Marvel Universe. The soundtrack is addicting, not just for dancing, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) knows how to jam, but also classic 80s songs that everyone would know. While it also seems like Guardians of the Galaxy is in a league of its own. The plot comes back in Guardians of The Galaxy 2 and in the Avengers movies. Definitely a must see. I am iffy on it being appropriate for kids, while not totally scary, it can be confusing. Signing off with the best scene ever.