It’s no surprise the Guardians of the Galaxy have made a lasting impact on what Marvel Studios has to offer in regards to the cosmic-venturing, improv-planning band of mercenaries after their adventures in the Guardians of the Galaxy films, Avengers trilogy and even Thor. While each Guardian has their own fan base, none has been more steadily growing at a slow-but-sure pace like that of the team’s lovable soft-spoken giant: Groot (Vin Diesel).
So far, we’ve only seen Groot’s adult form in the original Guardians of the Galaxy with a new form of the character debuting in the sequel and since then, he’s been ever growing. However, I Am Groot brings back the one version that leaves fans either loving or groaning: Baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy 2! I Am Groot follows the beginnings of Baby Groot in the wider universe as his adventures get him involved with shapeshifting aliens, beasts both big and small, and even a slimy bonsai tree. However, all of these events coincide with Baby Groot’s journey to essentially growing up even if it means dealing with wacky hijinks along the way.
From what this show has given in its first season, I Am Groot strays away from trying to experiment with establishing future MCU properties and stands on its own two stumps to create something that doesn’t necessarily need to connect itself. This aspect of what makes I Am Groot stand out actually works for the show since the ‘content of connectivity’ (as I like to call the MCU’s Disney+ collection thus far) has been slowly piling up to produce a feeling of staleness from the underlying theme of self-discovery. No offense to the live-action shows though since they all deserve the work to change and adapt this theme, but I Am Groot just feels like a cool, if temporary, refresher that’s needed
With these shorts being just under five minutes or less, each short uses its time to both create a fun digestible piece while also presenting how Groot evolves physically and even a bit personally. Obviously, Groot’s still the same old calmful, playful, berserk-ish Flora colossus he’s always been since the original Guardians film, but in this show, it utilizes his personality with the childlike awe these shorts have to develop that evolution.
From the first short, Groot’s First Steps, Groot grows this jealousy for a bonsai tree that’s replaced him and tries to take back his place in any way he can while rediscovering his abilities and eventually taking his first steps by the end of it. This short in particular not only helps set up for what’s to come in the later shorts, but it also helped me understand how such a simplistic format could potentially show change. Groot’s not only the main character of this show for all the chaos he causes, but he’s also there to have fun while also regaining and developing that personality we see later from Phase Three (since it’s confirmed I Am Groot takes place after Age of Ultron.) With Phase Four being all about change and development, I Am Groot surprisingly takes the concept and applies this in a simplistic format that everyone can enjoy.
Out of all the shorts, however, the one short that stood out to me had to be The Little Guy. From its namesake, you can probably guess what this short involves: Baby Groot getting involved with creatures both big and small. During his time on this desert planet, Groot encounters a large Vyloo that destroys his incredible tiny tower at the beginning of the short and later, a species of tiny blue aliens known as the Grund who initially are afraid of him at first, but come around after his leaves leave them prospering (even though he accidentally steps on them at the end.)
While The Little Guy may seem like another short that adds to the short-and-sweet theme of this show, it actually tells more about how expansive and diverse this universe is. Groot’s still trying to find his way in the world and showing the differences from the larger predators and the smallest beings may have helped Groot understand that he’s in a bigger world now and how it’s a tough place to live in (given how his rudimentary shelter was destroyed because of these two larger pictures.) However, by the end of this short, after learning what the Grund like, Groot actually shows how his actions could help and lift up others by giving them more food and luckily, the Grund survive to see the light of day!
This could actually play a role in the show’s final episode, Magnum Opus, where Groot makes a drawing of the Guardians using everything he can find, lighting up Rocket’s (Bradley Cooper) day. Since most people and beings around him don’t understand what he’s trying to communicate, Groot’s just doing the only things he can to convey those emotions through his actions. Maybe I might be looking into this a little bit too much, but I just remember so much from this one short that it actually stuck with me even after I completed the show and I surprisingly enjoyed this one out of all of them!
However, even though these shorts do their best to entertain and spread the good word of Groot, this show only does that and I have this small feeling of unsatisfaction because of it. Do I want more of Groot and his misadventures with himself and the Guardians? Absolutely! Do these shorts satisfy what I wanted to see from Groot? I mean, yeah, but at the same time, eh.
Seeing Groot’s adventures in space while discovering what he becomes in the later Infinity Sage movies was fun to see, but from the short times to the short plots, I feel like I just wanted a bit more from what we could’ve gotten. While I was writing this review, I managed to come up on two comic runs involving Groot from Christopher Hastings (which focused on Baby Groot) and from Jeff Loveness (which focused on Groot’s exploration of the Marvel multiverse, which this show did have some focus on.) I could have seen this show following the growing relationship between Groot and Rocket after seeing their closeness in the original films and maybe even showing Rocket having more of that parental role. However, honestly, I was okay with what the show gave us and hopefully they expand upon these ideas in the next collection.
Besides this, the animation style almost has that feeling of fluidity from what we’ve seen in the original Guardians films, though there’s a slight robustness in the movements. However, the show does a good job of reflecting the environmental aesthetics of the original films for what the show gives and does a good job with its world-building in regards to the creatures and aliens we see along the way. From the wackiness of a dance battle to Groot’s dress session, the show’s style and format did a good job of capturing the humor and imagination of the original films so I have to commend them on that!
Overall, I Am Groot does a good job with encapsulating the personality and wonder of Baby Groot’s world while also providing a clearer picture of Phase Four’s theme of development and discovery in a short, refreshing take. However, the show doesn’t linger too much on this idea since it wants to provide a form of content that everyone can look at face-value and appreciate. I Am Groot is just a great show that everyone of all ages can watch and if you really want something that you can take in with a short amount of time, then this show fits perfectly for you!