After almost a decade of superhero domination at the box office Marvel have re-invented the popcorn blockbuster with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk and the rest of the Avengers gang. Last summer’s Tony Stark tale was delivered by Lethal Weapon creator Shane Black with the third instalment in the Iron Man franchise setting the bar for action smack downs segued with killer gags. Marvel’s latest is a game-changer set to rip up the hero origin story blueprint. Eschewing the sombre tones of Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy and the stiff upper lip of Superman, Marvel want to bring the funny. Here’s how…

It’s Marvel’s most ambitious film yet
Zoe Saldana plays green-skinned alien warrior Gamora and has called the space opera “the Rolling Stones of the Marvel universe” so expect a complete 180 from the world of the Avengers. We follow the action from Morag to Xander via the prison Kyln, Earth and Knowhere as talking tree Groot (Vin Diesel), Drax the Destroyer (hench WWE bloke Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord battle to save the galaxy. Delivering action across five distinctly different worlds and featuring hundreds of alien races while utilising up to 300 extras on real sets, James Gunn’s film features several long takes shot in 3D achieving cavernous depth with IMAX cameras. Beyond the CGI, the tone of the film is left field and infused with the counter culture spirit of the late 60s when the Guardians of the Galaxy comic first appeared.

James Gunn is the perfect choice as director
Super, his quirky but dark 2010 take on the hero genre starring Rainn Wilson (The Office) and Ellen Page (Inception), is proof that Gunn’s got the ingenuity and wit to make Guardians fly. That film was shot in 24 days for a meagre £1.7m so imagine what he’ll achieve with the might of Marvel behind him on a mega bucks budget.

Gunn says, “We’re making something that’s so outlandish and out there with so many crazy situations and characters and settings that to keep it anchored in the drama and the reality of these characters’ emotional lives is the most important thing.”

Chris Pratt is a star in the making
Regular viewers of Parks and Recreation will be familiar with Chris Pratt’s comic stylings. The voice of Emmet in The Lego Movie, Joaquin Phoenix’s co-star in Her is set to film dinosaur disaster flick Jurassic World and is rumoured to be getting behind the wheel of Kit for the Knight Rider big screen reboot. Bringing a laid back space cowboy vibe to the role of Peter Quill (AKA Star-Lord) Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige has described Pratt’s character as Marty McFly meets Han Solo.

Bradley Cooper voices a gun-toting raccoon
Apparently he took some persuading but The Hangover star, turned Oscar nominee for Silver Linings Playbook, opted to bring his gruff comic tones to the righteous critter. Pratt says of the character: “There’s a sense of loneliness and this inner pain that Rocket feels that hopefully the audience will empathize with that makes him a really sympathetic character, but also so badass. ‘Cause he’s a raccoon with a machine gun!” First appearing in 1976 the anthropomorphic raccoon was created with a nod to the Beatles 1968 song Rocky Raccoon.

It’s got an “awesome” soundtrack
James Gunn has compared his film to a Nirvana song saying “it’s slow and quiet then loud and strong” with a 70s inspired soundtrack packed with gems by the likes of The Jackson 5, 10cc and The Runaways. There’s even a prison break to the lyrics of Escape by Rupert Holmes – “If you like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain…”