The Guardians of the Galaxy have been having a hard time lately. Their second movie was way back in 2017, and since then, a lot of things have happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They did get to have a meaningful performance during Infinity War, but in Endgame, and beyond, they have been quite low-key. For example, their appearance in Thor: Love and Thunder, for example, was quite minuscule. It feels like the Guardians are kind of vanishing in the big picture of the universe.
However, the Guardians of the Galaxy are about to make a big return, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 being prepared for release in 2023, and even getting a Christmas special before that later in the year. It seems that whatever is in store for the Guardians will be big, and it will shape the face of the universe going forward. To get us into the mood, Disney Plus has not released “I Am Groot” as a series of shorts that are meant to remind us of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s place in the universe.
The series has released the first five shorts of its run, with more shorts being in development for release at a later date. All episodes are written and directed by Kirsten Lepore. An animator and film director who has become famous for her work in stop-motion animation. In this case, Kirsten is working with the best in computer graphics to tell little stories in the life of our favorite sentient plant, Groot.
The shorts are basically sneak-peeks of Groot’s life onboard the Milano (Guardians of the Galaxy’s ship) and other random locations. The first short “Groot’s first steps” is set right after the first movie, and so are the rest. This means that you will not see Teen-Groot in these shorts. It is all about Baby Groot. This also means that the shorts are quite substantial, Baby Groot cannot really do much when it comes to showing his powers, and he can’t emote or express as much as his adult counterpart.
The shorts are really short, and all five episodes in this batch can be seen in less than twenty minutes. They are so short that you might miss some of them by barely blinking. It is great to see that Marvel can route resources for a project of this size. Something a bit more experimental and a bit more detached from the continuity, but the shorts lack the connectedness that has made the Marvel Cinematic Universe such a success.
The rest of the Guardians are completely missing in these little adventures, with only Rocket making a small apparition at the end of one of the episodes. Rocket’s appearance is also marked by strange animation, he really doesn’t look or move in the same way as he does in the movies, which might be off-putting. Nevertheless, it is great to see Bradley Cooper recording new lines just for this.
I Am Groot will only satisfy the biggest fans of both Marvel and the Guardians of the Galaxy. For the rest of the audience, there is just not a lot here to enjoy. It would be nice to see that the shorts have more meaning for the overall plot or that there is a throughline that unites them. We will see how this develops, but so far, they are the most missable content in the entire Marvel library. Let’s hope the Guardians of the Galaxy’s Christmas special is a lot juicier than this. The characters deserve it.