Preview: First 'Guardians of the Galaxy' trailer lands

Kicking off with Jon Favreau's Iron Man (2008), the past six years have seen Marvel gradually build to become a blockbusting behemoth, the apex of which was ensemble adventure Avengers Assemble (2012). That success has granted Marvel the leeway to bring even more outlandish projects to the big screen, and in that regard Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) is easily their riskiest venture yet. Directed by James Gunn, it's the first and only 'Phase Two' instalment that isn't a direct sequel to what's already been established. As is the custom for big releases, the past few days have seen the marketing machine ramp up ahead of today's big reveal, and now we finally have our first good look at our 'cosmic Avengers'.

Official synopsis: 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 stand - with the galaxy's fate in the balance.

The full trailer gives us a tantalising glimpse at what audiences can expect, with John C. Reilly and Peter Serafinowicz introducing us to our unlikely team - "What a bunch of a-holes," - before we get a quick sizzle reel of some action packed footage. Among the money shots: a gun-toting Rocket Raccoon mounted on friend/muscle/talking house plant Groot (in what is likely a prison breakout), flashes of all of the main players in action, and blink and you'll miss 'em shots of epic space battles. It's a weird, funny, and exciting cocktail, and whilst more footage may need to be revealed for sceptical audiences to be completely won over, at first glance there seems to be something for everyone in Marvel's cosmic excursion. We'll find out for sure in the coming months.

James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy lands in UK cinemas on 1 August 2014.

Amon Warmann

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