The heroes of the Marvel universe have been having a bummer summer so far. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the titular super-patriot grappled with deceptive bosses, dark-hearted hitmen, and the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Spider-Man had his own problems (how’s that for spoiler-free vagueness?); and in this Friday’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, the mutants are being hunted to extinction. But if this latest trailer for the weirdo space-opera Guardians of the Galaxy is any indication, we’re finally about to get a more upbeat tale, thanks to a wiseass raccoon, a talking tree, and a gun-toting Chris Pratt.
"So here we are: a thief, two thugs, an assassin and a maniac," says Peter Quill (Pratt), a intergalactic scoundrel who calls himself Star-Lord (he knows, the name needs work), and who surrounds himself with a group of misfits. Yes, they are ragtag, as all the best group of misfits are: There’s Gamora, a green-skinned assassin (played by Zoe Saldana); Rocket, a hot-tempered, trigger-happy raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper); and Groot, an intimidating (but seemingly sweet-natured) tree (voiced by Vin Diesel).
While the trailer leaves no doubt that Guardians of the Galaxy will have plenty of over-the-top action (Explosions! Knives! Glenn Close!) there’s also plenty of broad, Men in Black-style humor. Mixing comedy and action is a difficult balancing act, but as Guardians writer-director James Gunn proved in 2006’s Slither (and with his screenplay for the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake), he’s great at mixing dark-hearted laughs with visceral thrills.
Guardians opens Aug. 1.