It’s often said that the best things come in small packages, including superheroes, and nothing personifies this more than Marvel Studios’ I Am Groot.
Not even Ant-Man.
Featuring a collection of short stories starring Guardians of the Galaxy’s Baby Groot, the Disney+ series brings viewers on Groot’s glory days. growing up among the stars.
First introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), it wasn’t until the very tail end of the movie that fans saw the gigantic plant character reborn as a new shrub, after sacrificing his life in battle. The sequel and later appearances throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has the young plant grow, and while the current Groot is a teenager in the MCU, audiences will never let go of Baby Groot, and that’s where this series comes in.
Consisting of five short five-minute episodes, I am Groot sees the fan-favourite grow, up close and personal. From taking his first baby steps, to navigating what childhood might look like as the only plant-child in a spaceship full of humanoid heroes, I am Groot is silly fun, and fills up the gaps in fans’ understanding of the character.
Has he always been this naughty? What kind of mischievous schemes has he plotted when Rocket Racoon, Star Lord, Drax, Gamora and Mantis aren’t around to babysit him? How does his relationship with the Guardians work? Was it lonely growing up? How did his personality come to be? All these questions get answered in the series, in short zests and bits.
Focused on heart and light comedy, the series eliminates the hoo-hah and action often associated with the MCU, and also doesn’t make a time frame apparent – something that has been key in helping viewers understand and navigate the MCU and its content, now that the MCU multiverse has been established. Some episodes take place in The Eclector, the primary vessel used by Yondu and his clan of Ravagers, while others take place on Peter Quill’s Milano. Others take place in unidentifiable planets so viewers can’t really tell if this happens post or pre-Endgame, but honestly, such information is unnecessary.
The events in the MCU do not affect the shorts, so viewers don’t really need to know everything or catch every movie to enjoy I am Groot. The series is comparable to Disney+’s recently released Baymax! series, in that worldbuilding and lore development are eased up, while charm, humour and heart are ramped up. As fun as it is to delve deep into the webs of the MCU, I am Groot is refreshing as viewers get to sit back and simply enjoy the shorts as it is. Does it help to know some of the MCU lore? Yeah, but it still doesn’t take away the fun or the emotional experience.
The last short ‘Magnus Opum’ is a personal favourite. It sees a young Groot paint a family portrait of himself and the Guardians and how he goes to great lengths to collect art supplies to forge his masterpiece. Amidst all the chaos and unintended consequences of Groot’s desire to paint (not like he could just waltz into an art store like most of us), ‘Magnus Opum’ brings a fuzzy feeling and emphasises the concept of found family. It’s also a sensitive topic, given that Gamora is no longer alive but it’s also the only episode that references the Guardians, and sees one character make a cameo – we won’t say who so you’ll have to watch it yourself to find out.
The episodes could be longer, but even with its brevity, I am Groot does a decent job at telling a story. Even with Baby Groot, and only Baby Groot, central to the story, viewers will find themselves deeply entertained by the mishaps and cute moments that promise a warm fuzzy feeling by the time the end credits hit the screen.
Simple, quick, and full of heart and comedy, I am Groot is suitable for viewers of all ages. Be it adult Marvel fans who want to switch off and watch something easy on their lunch break at work, families looking to put something in the background or kids who can identify with Groot, I am Groot will always be a delight.
After all, it is Baby Groot we are talking about.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
They say the best things come in small packages and I am Groot proves just that. Five short stories with Baby Groot as the central character, the Disney+ series explores childhood among the stars with light-hearted comedy and charm.
Story - 7.5/10
Direction - 8/10
Characterisation - 8/10
Geek Satisfaction - 7.5/10