Groot's Best Moments In The MCU

We may all be Groot on the inside, but the one who's won the hearts of Marvel Cinematic Universe fans the world over also happens to be a Groot on the outside, too. The fan-favorite Flora colossus (his alien species name) has been a staple of the "Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise since his debut, and it hasn't taken long for him to also become a key player in the MCU on the whole. Although some may wonder how the other space rogues could possibly understand the alien who only utters three words, director James Gunn offered up quite the heartwarming answer on his Twitter account: "People don't learn Groot through knowing the language — they learn it through connecting with Groot."

Sure enough, film viewers have laughed, cheered, cried, and surely connected with Groot's many memorable moments on-screen, and the currently in-production "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" is sure to deliver even more Groot goodness. In the meantime, however, what better way to pass the time until then than revisiting Groot's many finest hours?

Groot drinks from a public fountain

Audiences are first introduced to Groot on Xandar, where he and his best friend Rocket are searching for high-paying bounties. Or rather, Rocket is: Groot, on the other hand, has decided his thirst takes priority, eagerly gulping large amounts of water from a nearby public fountain. Though Rocket scolds him, finding it disgusting, Groot denies he's done anything, only to go right back to thirst-quenching when Rocket's distracted. Too immersed in drinking water to notice when his friend turns back to him and catches him in the act, Groot just keeps on chugging while Rocket lets out a defeated sigh.

Aside from introducing him, it's not a major moment for Groot in the movie. Yet it is still hilarious, setting up both his great comedic potential and his dynamic with Rocket. Clearly, it's the raccoon-like alien who leads the two, but that doesn't mean Groot follows him unquestioningly, either.

Groot saves Star-Lord from an inmate

Rocket's decision to target Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord, for his and Groot's next bounty leads the two to not only fight Quill, but also Gamora, who's after the Earth-born outlaw herself so she can steal the Power Stone from him. The four are apprehended by Xandarian authorities, who send them to their prison colony in outer space, Kyln. Upon arriving, they are booed by the other inmates, with one coming over to Star-Lord threatening to do some very unseemly things to him. Groot, however, quickly intervenes, giving the inmate a nose full of wood and seriously hurting him, while saving Quill in the process. Rocket then declares Star-Lord is under his and Groot's protection.

Groot's save makes it clear that despite his earlier comical scene (and getting beaten pretty easily by Gamora during their first encounter), he's plenty dangerous when he feels the need. As Groot's intentions can be a little difficult to read, given his limited vocabulary, the scene can either be viewed as him protecting his and Rocket's bounty (making saving Peter an act of personal gain) or an early moment of selflessness on his part. Neither Groot nor his main interpreter, Rocket, clarify, leaving it somewhat of a mystery — not that that's a bad thing.

Groot starts Rocket's escape plan early

Though an adult in the first movie, Groot still has a childlike quality, as seen when Rocket explains his Kyln escape plan to Star-Lord and Gamora. Having escaped several other facilities like it, Rocket begins laying out a very precise set of instructions whose last step involves obtaining the quarnyx battery of a nearby, very visible panel, which will activate the prison's "emergency mode." The moment Rocket mentions he needs the battery; however, Groot walks over to get it, missing his friend's important detail about timing and inadvertently making the last part of Rocket's plan the first... while also gaining the attention of Kyln's robotic guards.

It's a funny scene that continues the trend of Groot's humor stemming (pun intended) from his childlike nature. It also ups the stakes of the Guardians' escape, as they can no longer take their time in getting the other items Rocket needs for his plan.

Groot vs. Kyln's robot guards

Groot's mistake inadvertently leads to him and Rocket serving as distractions for Gamora and Star-Lord, as Kyln's robot guards focus mainly on the bounty hunting duo, while Quill and Gamora fetch the other components Rocket needs, namely a wristband and a prosthetic leg. Groot, in the meantime, defends himself and Rocket by morphing his arms and body into various shapes, such as a shield made out of branches, but quickly risks being overwhelmed. Enter Drax, who obtains a heavy artillery weapon from a guard and tosses it to Rocket, which changes the odds dramatically. From there, Groot serves as Rocket's revolving "turret" while the feisty raccoon opens fire, eventually creating an opening between them and their destination, a watchtower. The others soon join them, with Star-Lord and Drax the Destroyer catching up by climbing up Groot's legs. Only one guard remains in their way, whom Groot promptly subdues by grabbing him and literally tossing him aside.

It's a pretty incredible action scene for Groot and Rocket, highlighting the tree being's effectiveness and how well the two work as a team: something they've likely had quite a bit of practice with.

Groot gives a little girl a flower

After escaping Kyln, the Guardians take the Milano to Knowhere, home of the Collector — a.k.a. the person who's asked Star-Lord and the Ravagers to bring him the Power Stone. As Knowhere also has a reputation for being a hub for criminal activity, Star-Lord warns the crew to be careful when a group of children approach, believing them to be young thieves. When a little girl comes up to Groot, however, he willingly gives her something: namely, a flower that he grows out of his palm.

The act of kindness instantly sets Groot apart from his companions, revealing to viewers an unrestrained kindness within him that the other Guardians tend to bottle in, at least at this point in their careers.

Interestingly enough, director James Gunn revealed on Twitter that the inspiration for this scene was a nod at 1931's "Frankenstein," where Frankenstein's monster exchanges flowers with a little girl by a pond. The difference between the two moments, however, is that the scene from the horror classic ends in a much more macabre way.

Groot convinces Drax and Rocket to save Star-Lord and Gamora

Drax's lust for revenge leads him to reveal the Guardians' location to his enemy Ronan the Accuser so they can battle, which also leads to the arrival of Nebula. Eager to retrieve the Power Stone from her sister, Nebula shoots the weaponless craft Gamora is on, leaving her stranded in space. To save her, Peter gives Gamora his Star-Lord breathing helmet, and tells Yondu Udonta his coordinates so the two can be "rescued," or in other words, captured.

Rocket, meanwhile, escapes Udonta's forces and flies back to Knowhere, blaming Drax for Quill and Gamora's capture. When Rocket tells Groot they ought to leave, Groot stands his ground, saying they should rescue Star-Lord and Gamora, as they're closest things to friends they've got. Drax agrees to help, and an exasperated Rocket reluctantly changes his mind.

It's another example of just how noble Groot is, as well as how deeply he values his bond with others. Groot also displays deep compassion for Drax's inner pain, as he's mortified when Rocket dismisses Ronan's murder of Drax's family. 

Groot defeats several soldiers at once

Aboard the Dark Aster, Star-Lord, Drax and Groot fight Korath the Pursuer and several of his and Ronan's Sakaaran troops. The three Guardians fare pretty well in the fight, with Drax even defeating Korath single-handedly, although that isn't enough to deter the arrival of reinforcements. 

As the new wave of Sakaaran troops arrive, however, Groot, with a yell, thrusts his arm forward, extending it past its original length until it stabs through several guards at once. Groot then lifts all the impaled guards' bodies at once and begins slamming them back and forth into the walls and ceiling of the ship. Finally, he retracts his arm, his opponents beaten, before cheerfully smiling at a stunned Star-Lord and a pleased Drax.

After several earlier scenes that illustrate Groot's kindness, this moment changes tack by reminding viewers of the characters' more ruthless side. It also shows how effortlessly Groot can shift between rage and friendliness.

Groot sacrifices himself to save his friends

Rocket manages to save the other Guardians from being killed by Ronan by smashing the Milano into the Dark Aster, temporarily subduing the Accuser. The crash, however, causes the Dark Aster to plummet towards the ground uncontrollably. Seeing that his friends are in danger of not surviving the approaching impact, Groot surrounds them in a ball made out of hundreds of branches, knowing his body will take the full force of the crash. Rocket tearfully begs Groot not to do it, asking why he's sacrificing himself. With a smile, Groot wipes away a tear from Rocket's eye and responds simply, "We are Groot."

It's a beautiful moment for the original Groot, showing the full extent of his selflessness. The moment after the crash, in which the Guardians start getting their bearings while Rocket holds a piece of Groot's splintered remains, is equally moving, amplified in no small part by the Five Stairsteps song "O-o-h Child," which begins playing on Star-Lord's cassette player as a result of the impact.

Baby Groot's first dance

As sad as Groot's sacrifice for the Guardians was, new hope sprouts — quite literally, in fact — in the form of a baby version of Groot, who's first seen right as the gang's about to leave Xandar in a rebuilt version of the Milano. Then, after the film tells the audience, "The Guardians of the Galaxy will return," it cuts to a scene of Baby Groot, who's already grown somewhat, dancing along to music while Drax polishes his knife. Perhaps noticing movement with his peripheral vision, Drax spins his head around, only to find Groot standing completely still again — albeit now with his new arms sticking out.

Groot's return in baby form not only symbolizes a fresh start while allowing the character's story to continue, but it's also just plain fun. At this point, it's not clear whether anyone other than Rocket is aware that the plant the space raccoon is growing is a reborn Groot or if the baby alien tree is merely playing a game that Drax is unaware of.

Baby Groot dances during a fight

By "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," Baby Groot has already grown legs, allowing him to exist independently from a flower pot. He's still too small to help the Guardians fight a giant monster from another dimension, however, so he turns on the sound system that Rocket's assembled and spends the movie's first battle doing what he does best: dancing around. That is, until Drax accidentally destroys the sound system by falling on top of it, prompting Groot to attack with several hits that do nothing.

The scene is an expertly choreographed delight, with plenty of little nuances reminding viewers of Groot's young age, such as when he waves to Gamora mid-battle and puts something he shouldn't in his mouth, namely a flying insect alien. It also confirms that Groot only stands still when being watched by Drax, as both Star-Lord and Rocket see him moving around. Drax is aware the plant child's alive, however, as seen when Groot throws something at him when the scene concludes.

Baby Groot tries finding Yondu's fin

Along with Rocket and Baby Groot, Yondu becomes the prisoner of his own Ravager crew, thanks to Nebula aiding the traitorous Taserface and his sympathizers in a mutiny. The small Groot isn't kept in a cell like Yondu and Rocket, however, making him the perfect choice to find a prototype fin Yondu can use to summon his Yaka Arrow. Despite Yondu giving Baby Groot fairly specific instructions regarding the fin's location, however, Groot never quite figures it out, leading to a hilarious sequence where he retrieves Yondu's underwear, an Orloni (an alien rodent), Vorker's bionic eye, a desk and a severed toe. Yondu then tries steering Groot in the right direction by giving him a Ravager medallion shaped like a symbol on the fin's drawer, only for Groot to mistake it for a hat. Eventually, Groot does find the drawer with the Yaka Arrow in it, but still can't figure out what Yondu wants. Thankfully, Kraglin, a Ravager repentant for having turned on his captain, lends a hand.

The montage is laugh-worthy throughout and undoubtedly one of Baby Groot's highest comedic moments in the franchise. It also sets up another extremely memorable scene, which is the three characters' daring escape, set to "Come A Little Bit Closer" by Jay and the Americans.

Baby Groot wants to press the wrong button

During their attempt to destroy Ego's core, the Guardians are attacked by Sovereign starships sent by Ayesha as revenge for Rocket stealing batteries from her. Luckily, Star-Lord and Rocket realize those same batteries can be jerry-rigged into a bomb that could also take Ego's core out. Getting close enough to plant the bomb requires a pretty small individual, however, leaving the Guardians' fate in the hand of the not-so-reliable Baby Groot. Complicating matters further is Groot's difficulty understanding that he's not supposed to press the button that immediately sets off the bomb — no matter how many times Rocket tries explaining it. Like a good parent, Rocket decides to block the button with tape, but while Star-Lord asks if anybody has tape they can loan, Groot takes off with the bomb.

The comedy is note-perfect, with Groot coming off as completely endearing, despite the circumstances. In the end, he does press the button he's supposed to — although he still cuts it a little close.

Baby Groot welcomes Yondu to the Guardians of the Galaxy

Despite Groot successfully setting the bomb to go off in five minutes (rather than immediately), Star-Lord's too busy fighting Ego to try to escape the planet before its explosion. Not wanting to lose his surrogate son, Yondu tells Rocket he intends to stay behind and get Peter out, and that Rocket shouldn't risk himself because he has to continue raising Baby Groot. A mournful Rocket gives Yondu an aero-rig and a spacesuit to up his chances for survival, and as he struggles to say parting words to his enemy-turned-friend, Groot interjects in his native language, welcoming Yondu to the team — with a little expletive snuck in for good measure.

While Baby Groot often comes across as a different person than his predecessor, this scene reveals that the wisdom of the original Groot still lies within him. It's also a huge moment for Yondu, as his old vendetta with the Guardians is wiped away, and he's finally accepted into a new group after being rejected by two Ravager teams.

Baby Groot sits with Star-Lord

Yondu manages to save Star-Lord from Ego's explosion, but at the cost of his life. After the Guardians hold a service and cremate him, Peter is sitting, lost in thought while holding his new Zune, which Kraglin gives him. As he starts listening to Cat Stevens' "Father and Son," Baby Groot climbs up and sits on Peter's leg, then gestures toward one of Peter's earbuds so he can listen. A final montage then ensues, in which several teams of Ravagers, who had once exiled Yondu, arrive to honor their former member's heroic sacrifice.

Chris Pratt, who plays Peter, revealed to the Toronto Sun how meaningful the moment was, noting, "it's in that moment I realize that I've now entered a chapter in my life where I'm going to be the man who's raising somebody ... I think that's the sort of journey that every parent will take when they have a kid, and I think Quill gets to that at the end."

Though it's a beautiful moment for the entire team, it's Groot who gets the ball rolling without even meaning to. He even resolves his joke feud with Drax, choosing the warrior's shoulder as the spot to take his next nap.

Teen Groot's debut

They say kids sometimes just grow up too darn fast, and the same seems to hold true for members of Groot's species. In one of the mid-credits scenes of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," Star-Lord goes to Groot's room and tells him to clean it up, seeing it covered in discarded leaves and vines that have shed from a now teenage Groot's body. 

Rather than obey, the teen tree calls Peter "boring" while continuing to play his handheld video game. He even seems to mimic Star-Lord when the Guardians' leader says, "I'm not boring!," marking one of the few times Groot can be understood without someone translating. 

Though the scene is mainly in the film for laughs (Marvel Studios official Twitter page cheekily wrote, "We vote Groot for a [Teen Choice] award!"), it does set up Groot's status quo for his next two appearances (namely in "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame").

Groot gives Thor his arm for Stormbreaker

To stop Thanos from wreaking further havoc on the universe, Storm goes to Nidavellir to obtain a new weapon, Stormbreaker. However, Thanos has already visited the realm and laid waste to it, leaving only the Dwarf King Eitri alive. While Thor manages to help Eitri reignite the dying star used to power the king's forge, allowing him to create Stormbreaker's axe blade, it's missing one major piece: a handle. Teen Groot, noticing this need, wraps one hand around the axe blade and chops his own arm off, making it the handle Thor needs to wield the weapon.

Teen Groot's unselfish act is a welcome return to the nobility of his child and adult forms, which originally seems somewhat absent from his adolescent incarnation. Though it's not too big a loss for Teen Groot, as he can regrow limbs, his behavior is undeniably heroic regardless.

Teen Groot turns to ash

The Guardians of the Galaxy team up with the Avengers to stop Thanos from using the Infinity Gauntlet, but ultimately fail. With a snap of his fingers, Thanos exterminates half the life of the universe, including several beloved MCU heroes — with poor Teen Groot being among them. As several others fighting Thanos and his legions begin turning into ash, Groot realizes the same thing is happening to him. Frightened and confused, Groot looks to his longtime companion Rocket, asking, "I am Groot...?" But not even the alien raccoon's genius can devise a way to stop young Groot's body from disintegrating.

It's a heart-wrenching scene for many reasons. Not only does Rocket lose Groot a second time, but the tree youngling's last words make the moment even more crushing: according to James Gunn, Groot's final words to Rocket translate to "Dad," proving that while all the Guardians had a role in raising the Flora colossus' second incarnation, it's the one Groot knows best whom he views as his actual parent.