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Guardians Of The Galaxy Guardians of the Galaxy represented something of a gear-shift for Marvel. We were presented with fewer clear-cut goody/baddie lines than previously, a slightly grungier aesthetic and, in Chris Pratt’s Star Lord / Peter Quill, a “hero” that is a little more at the “anti” end of that particular spectrum.

The trailers make quite a lot of play of this shift, detailing the eponymous guardians as “outlaws, thugs, assassins and a maniac”. And the final product refused to give us a set of lovable rogues with all of the rough edges smoothed off in the interests of making the whole venture more palatable.

Here are six of the best science fiction anti-heroes that Marvel placed Quill alongside.

Mal Reynolds

1. Mal Reynolds – Serenity

The back story is fairly well-known. Joss Whedon crafted a brilliant but poorly understood and underwhelmingly received sci-fi western called Firefly, which was shamefully canned after 11 excellent and engaging episodes. A couple of years later he was given the budget to give it the big screen treatment, which he duly did, filling in some of the history whilst at the same time picking up where Firefly left off.

What resulted was not especially commercially successful, but Serenity is brilliant nonetheless, the ragged crew of a ragged ship trying to outrun a government agent who is hot on the heels of a teenage girl with a valuable secret stowed in her subconscious. Wonderful script, scintillating action, brave story choices and in Mal Reynolds, a ship’s captain for the ages – witty, eloquent, conflicted, industrious and alternately crafty and reckless.

The Hero Bit – Getting the message out to the ‘Verse regarding the Alliance’s dirty secret, even when there’s no profit in it for him

The Anti Bit – He definitely shot first. The other guy wasn’t even armed.

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Dave has been writing for HeyUGuys since mid-2010 and has found them to be the most intelligent, friendly, erudite and insightful bunch of film fans you could hope to work with. He's gone from ham-fisted attempts at writing the news to interviewing Lawrence Bender, Renny Harlin and Julian Glover, to writing articles about things he loves that people have actually read. He has fairly broad tastes as far as films are concerned, though given the choice he's likely to go for Con Air over Battleship Potemkin most days. He's pretty sure that 2001: A Space Odyssey is the most overrated mess in cinematic history.