2014 Will Be ‘Marvel’-ous! Meet the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’


What motley space crew is this?

Marvel is ringing in the new year with a last-minute look at one of its most hush-hush projects: "Guardians of the Galaxy," director James Gunn's space opera about a gang of rough n' tumble superheroes somewhat reluctantly patrolling the cosmos.

The members of the five-member team are on display in the first official production pic from the flick, recalling "The Usual Suspects" as they're lined up for your consideration. ("Give me the keys, you ...," well, you know the rest.)

From left to right, you've got Zoe Saldana, entering her third sci-fi would-be blockbuster (following "Avatar" and "Star Trek") as Gamora, the sole surviving member of a race of peace-loving humanoid aliens and unofficial The Deadliest Woman in the Universe; Chris Pratt, looking appropriately both proud and confused as human astronaut Peter Quill; Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a sometimes over-enthusiastic weapons expert; pro wrestler Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer (following in The Rock's footsteps, eh?), a slain human resurrected as a superhuman warrior with the sole purpose of killing Thanos (that guy at the end of "Marvel's The Avengers"); and Vin Diesel as Groot, a giant tree-like creature who sounds like —you guessed it — Vin Diesel.

This will probably remain one of the strangest movie photos you'll see all year. And one of the most pleasing, for sure — all five characters look great, and look to be daring us to think their movie is going to be a bizarre train wreck and not the best-ever Marvel movie to date (or at least the most, uh, 'creative').

Reaction across the 'net hasn't exactly been "Excelsior!" but positive nonetheless:

So what are these weirdos gonna be doing, exactly? Marvel has also released the film's official synopsis:

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 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 Peter 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.

We love movies with uneasy truces, mysterious orbs, characters that command adjectives like 'disparate' and 'ragtag' and synopses that contain phrases like "Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon" without a trace of irony, so we're totally there come Aug. 1.