There was a time when people called Marvel crazy for making a big, lighthearted outer space flick starring a talking tree and a smart-aleck raccoon, but these days, everyone loves the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. The combination of weird sci-fi exploits, rascally heroes, an “Awesome Mix,” and a whole lotta heart has proven to be a winner with audiences across the world. Previously unknown heroes like Star-Lord and Gamora have become household names. Really, it’s not a surprise that a third movie is already on the way, particularly given some of the notable easter eggs placed within the second one.
Everyone has their favorite Guardian. But arguably, the single most unexpected hero that has risen to the forefront is Groot, the Flora Colossus from Planet X that is both the team’s powerhouse and its most innocent, wide-eyed member. Though Groot’s been through some pretty hefty transformations throughout the films, the kindness, oddness, and cheerful smile of the character has only grown more lovable over time.
We all know that Groot rocks, no question about it. Here are 15 Times Groot was the Best Part of the Guardians of the Galaxy Movies, in chronological order.
15. His First Scene
Most of the Guardians of the Galaxy meet for the first time on Xandar, and this one scene immediately establishes most of the personalities, dynamics, and running jokes that make the series what it is. Star-Lord is shown to be a likable scoundrel, Gamora is demonstrated as the deadliest woman in the universe… and then we meet the bizarre duo of Rocket and Groot, the latter of whom is seen casually drinking from a decorative water fountain. The friendship between these two characters makes for one of the most affectionate pairings in any superhero movie, and this scene was where audiences met them for the first time.
As the future Guardians all fight each other, Groot seems characteristically curious and unperturbed by the whole thing, even when Gamora cuts both of his arms right off his body. Of course, they do grow back by the next scene, so that might have something to do with it.
14. Star-Lord Getting Annoyed About Groot’s Language
In any case, all of that squabbling that the future Guardians do over the orb lands them all in the Kyln, thanks to the Nova Corps. And it’s here in prison, as they’re being led in, that Star-Lord starts to get acquainted with his strange new allies, including a talking raccoon that’s never heard of raccoons before, and a giant tree man that says nothing except the repetitive refrain of “I am Groot.” This is the scene where Groot’s distinctive language is first drawn to attention, and it quickly gets on Peter’s nerves, as he informs the “giving tree” that his refrain is, “just as fascinating as the first 89 times you told me that.”
As it happens, Groot and the other Flora Colossi actually have enormous depth of thought, but their vocal chords and larynges are made of wood, and this stiffness causes anything they say to come out as sounding like “I am Groot.” Over and over again.
13. When He Grabs the Frickin’ Quarnex Battery
Groot is always trying to help his friends. So when Rocket starts planning a scheme that will bust our heroes out of the Kyln, and mentions that they need to nab a quarnex battery to accomplish it — which is up high above their heads, attached to the central pillar of the most populated and patrolled section of the entire prison — Groot goes ahead and takes the battery, no questions asked.
However, he accomplishes this seemingly improbable and ridiculously hard task so quickly (and amiably, as usual) that he doesn’t stick around to listen to Rocket’s warnings that getting the battery theft needs to be the very last thing they do. Instead, Groot grabs it first, setting off the alarms, and making it so that Star-Lord and Gamora have to rush to grab Rocket’s other requested items, including a cybernetic prosthetic leg.
12. Groot Giving the Flower to the Little Girl
If audiences hadn’t already fallen in love with Groot by this point, this was the moment where they did. Do you ever see Iron Man or Black Widow interacting with the people like this? Sure, Groot might have a lot of powers, and he could probably take on the Hulk in a fair match. But c’mon, seriously: this is what being a superhero is all about.
This scene is so simple, perfect, and beautiful. When the Guardians are approached by a group of orphans, Groot grows a little flower in his hand, plucks it out, and hands it over to the little girl with a big, innocent smile on his face.
When making the first movie, director James Gunn revealed that the inspiration behind Groot’s personality was his dog, Von Spears. That canine combination of innocence, loyalty, and self-sacrificial love are certainly the same qualities that make people love their dogs so much, and Groot’s character really shines in this scene.
11. Groot Being the Only One “with a clue”… Then Eating Leaves Off Himself
Of course, as a treelike humanoid, flowers aren’t the only thing that Groot can grow from himself. He also frequently sprouts new branches, vines… and leaves.
Towards the end of the film, it becomes evident that the still-unnamed Guardians are the only ones who can possibly stand in the way of Ronan obliterating the galaxy with his Infinity Stone. The odds don’t look good. Star-Lord says he has a plan, though after getting harassed by Rocket and Gamora, he reveals that his scheme is really only about 12 percent devised. Groot then responds with, as one would expect, “I am Groot.” Rocket’s response to this reveals that Groot apparently stated that 12 percent is better than eleven, to which Star-Lord gratefully tells his Flora Colossus ally, “Thank you, Groot. Thank you. See? Groot’s the only one of you who has a clue.”
10. Groot Goes Crazy and Takes Everybody Out
Groot is the most kind, gentle, and affectionate soul imaginable. Throughout all of the struggles that the Guardians go through, he almost never gets enormously perturbed, always hopes for the best, and he remains ever curious about his surroundings. Even when taking out enemies, he does so in a manner that is fairly amiable.
Except for this scene, where out of nowhere, Groot goes crazy. Emitting a loud battle cry, Groot finally shows what he’s capable of, knocking out (killing, probably) dozens of enemy combatants in just a few seconds. Moments afterward, though, he’s back to being regular old Groot, turning to face the rest of the team with a smile.
9. His Sacrifice
And now, we get to the heartbreaker. The time that Groot made everyone in the audience cry. By the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, we’d barely had a chance to get to know Groot, but everything we’d seen had already made him the favorite character. No one expected Groot to sacrifice himself at the end of the movie, but this scene instantly became iconic, and may be the moment that elevated him from a potential cult-favorite character to a beloved one remembered in households across the world. It’s also marked by the single most important line in the film, Groot’s final words: “We are Groot.”
Even Rocket is in disbelief during this scene, not wanting to accept the fact that his best friend is about to die. Even though some form of Groot lives on and regenerates after this, it’s not the same one that we fell in love with in the first movie, and that Groot will always be remembered for his noble demise.
8. Rocket Keeps the Twig
After Groot’s sacrifice, only a small, fragile twig remains of his once mighty body. Rocket cradles this, broken by the loss of his friend. But after Ronan is defeated, Rocket keeps the twig and plants it in a pot.
Though Groot himself isn’t technically a part of this moment, it emphasizes a key aspect of what makes Groot so great: the undying loyalty and friendship between him and Rocket, two misfits with totally different personalities who nonetheless love and understand one another like no one else can. It’s unclear at this point if Rocket is aware that planting the twig will cause a new Groot to sprout up, but it doesn’t matter: either way, the familiar loyalty is clearly there and visible for all to see.
7. Baby Groot is Born
…and from the remains of the old Groot, a new Groot is born!
The first appearance of Baby Groot, the next generation of adorable, is at the end of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Though the little Groot’s body hasn’t fully grown independent yet, since he’s still stuck in the pot, he immediately displays a love of music and dancing. Though he doesn’t want Drax the Destroyer to see his moves, of course; Drax often states — particularly in the second movie — how much he loathes dancing, having even fallen in love with his deceased wife precisely because she didn’t dance.
At the time of the first movie’s release, there was a lot of speculation about what exactly Baby Groot was, and what he would look like when the second movie came out. It’s still not entirely clear what Baby Groot is, even now, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 did give us the chance to see more of the unbelievably cute Baby Groot in action.
6. His Dance at the Beginning of Vol. 2
The first Guardians of the Galaxy ends with the strange and lovable sight of Baby Groot dancing, so it’s only fitting that the second movie begins with a Groot dance sequence. As the Guardians (by now a united team) do their thing and take down an enormous space monster, and the opening credits roll, Baby Groot has the time of his life, dancing and twirling to Star-Lord’s beloved music.
The bizarreness and hilarity of this scene is really something that only James Gunn could pull off so spectacularly. There’s never been another superhero movie, whether Marvel or otherwise, that opens the film with the sight of an alien tree baby dancing to ELO. Such a sight might never occur again… well, at least not until the third movie comes out. Maybe then. Hopefully then.
5. “Too Adorable to Kill”
The space pirate known as Taserface, played by Chris Sullivan, might not be the scariest villain to haunt the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he certainly shows no compunctions about getting his hands bloody. He not only leads a mutiny against Yondu, thus taking over the Ravagers, but he casually orders the murder of any Ravagers still loyal to Yondu. He then throws his former leader and Rocket into the brig.
But when it comes to Baby Groot, even a dirty lowlife like Taserface has a soft spot for the little guy. After ordering the Ravagers to turn Yondu and Rocket in to the Kree in the morning, one of his allies asks if they should kill “the plant” as well. Taserface responds by saying, “no, it’s too adorable to kill!” Obviously.
4. Baby Groot Trying to Find Yondu’s Fin
Possibly the single most hilarious sequence in the entirety of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 also takes place while Rocket and Yondu are locked behind bars. When Baby Groot strolls by their cell, feeling sad and hopeless, Yondu hatches a scheme: he tells Groot to go to his room, and to look in the drawer for a new “fin” for his head, which controls his trademark whistling arrow. Baby Groot joyously goes out in search of the fin.
The problem? The little guy doesn’t understand what Yondu is talking about. So he comes back, over and over again, with the wrong object. He brings back such objects as a fake eye, a pair of Yondu’s underwear… and eventually, to Yondu and Rocket’s horror, what appears to be a severed human toe.
When Yondu confirms that they don’t have any stockpile of severed toes on the ship, Rocket tells Groot to never speak of this incident again. Since all of Taserface’s men die soon afterward, we’ll probably never find out whose toe it was.
3. Baby Groot Goes Crazy, Too
Hey, remember that one time where the old adult Groot just went crazy, out of nowhere, and took out a room full of guys? Well, in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Baby Groot gets his own rage-fueled outburst moment as well.
Though up until this point, Baby Groot has largely sat by on the sidelines, being protected by his teammates or retrieving objects (such as the aforementioned toe), things change after Yondu gets his fin back and overtakes Taserface’s men. While this little sapling can’t quite muster the power of his forebear, he still has more than enough serious ammo to totally take out one of the Ravagers who had been torturing him earlier, wrapping his branches around the baddie and throwing him off the railing. Screaming like a maniac the whole time, of course.
2. Baby Groot and The Nuclear Button
Sure, sure, this scene featured so heavily in the movie’s trailers that by the time we all actually saw it in theaters, we knew every line by heart. But it’s still a great scene. It’s a terrific character moment for both Rocket and Groot, featuring Rocket’s irritability and Groot’s wide-eyed enthusiasm, even as the planet is literally coming down around them.
Rocket desperately tries to stress which button Groot should press, to little avail, before the mini Flora Colossus catapults down to the center of the planet crying out a trademark “I am Groooooot!” Though Rocket is clearly cynical about their chances for survival after this, repeatedly saying how Groot is probably going to kill them all, the little sapling prevails and successfully nukes Ego the Living Planet just in time.
1. Moody Adolescent Groot
But even as the closing credits of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 roll, James Gunn and Marvel Studios have one more Groot surprise in store for us. Because as any parent knows, there’s a lot that happens between infancy and adulthood. So in a special post-credits scene, we see Star-Lord step into a messy room… and the camera pans to reveal an adolescent Groot, who has grown to either a teenager or a tween, headphones on his ears, and who now says his I-am-Groots with the familiar cynicism and annoyance of many rebellious teens.
If the past is anything to go by, it’s a good bet that by the next time we see Groot in Infinity War, we’ll probably get to see more of this adolescent Groot, who promises to be just as hilarious as the adult and baby Groots were before him.
Are there any other amazing Groot moments that we missed? Is he your favorite Guardian of them all? Let us know in the comments!