Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Most Memorable Groot Moments In The MCU

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is filled with lovable and memorable characters, but there's nobody quite like the intelligent alien tree whose dialogue is limited entirely to the phrase "I am Groot." 

Voiced by Vin Diesel, Groot broke onto the scene with the rest of his teammates in 2014's "Guardians of the Galaxy," and has been a staple of the space-faring side of the Marvel universe ever since, returning for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" in 2017, "Avengers: Infinity War" in 2018, and "Avengers: Endgame" in 2019. Among the star-studded ranks of the MCU, he's not quite the most popular character in the franchise, having thus far appeared entirely in ensemble casts (though he will star in a series of shorts on Disney+ in 2022), but he remains a fan favorite for his dual contributions of comedy and empathy, providing some of the funniest moments in the MCU as well as some of the most poignant. Moreover, he manages to do this while undergoing a unique character evolution from adult to child to teenager, becoming an all-new, all-different Groot with each film.

Groot's most memorable moments don't really involve epic fight scenes or acts of cosmic significance — though he does contribute to the creation of a major MCU artifact. In keeping with the tone of the character, they're mostly jokes, with flashes of beauty or joy floating around like fireflies. They might be small, all things considered, but they'll never be forgotten.

The drinking fountain

Groot's very first appearance in "Guardians of the Galaxy" is a gag, fittingly set up by his best friend and partner in mischief, Rocket Raccoon. 

When the pair debut, the audience can't see them; the initial perspective is through Rocket's eyes as he studies (and roasts) people walking around a public square on the planet of Xandar. The reveal that the speaker is an anthropomorphic raccoon is funny enough, but it's then immediately topped by the subsequent reveal that "Groot," the person Rocket has been talking to, is a large humanoid tree, bending over to drink water from the fountain at the center of the square. 

It's an incredible note on which to introduce these characters, and the ensuing action sequence only takes it to new heights, as Groot demonstrates an inability to comprehend genders, captures his soon-to-be leader Peter Quill in a giant sack, and laments the temporary loss of his arms at the hands of the warrior assassin Gamora. If first impressions are the most important ones, Groot certainly makes his count, with the audience immediately wanting to know more about this formidable yet strangely innocent ... for lack of a better word ... tree.

Get it first and improvise

Groot's innocence is an important part of what makes the character funny, especially in situations where at least a modicum of subterfuge is required. 

Case in point: the Guardians' escape from the Kyln, a high-security space prison to which Groot, Rocket, Quill, and Gamora are consigned after their tumultuous meeting on Xandar. Rocket figures he can bust them out, but to do so, he needs the others to acquire three things, including a Quarnyx battery. Groot isn't dumb, but he is a bit simple; when he hears that his friend needs something, he goes and gets it, like a good friend would. As the other three discuss the problems with covertly securing the battery, Groot wanders over to it, his tree-like form growing upward to reach the panel housing the battery just after Quill says "it's impossible to get up there without being seen."

Groot proceeds to toss the panel over his shoulder (striking a hapless prisoner in the head behind him) and pull out the battery. The fact that it's still attached to some wires stymies him for a few seconds, during which time Rocket explains to Quill and Gamora why they absolutely have to get the battery after getting the other two items (none of them have noticed what Groot is doing). Only then does Groot succeed in pulling the battery off the wall, graciously offering it to his companions, oblivious to the fact that alarms are now blaring all over the prison.

Flower child

Groot is initially portrayed as a comedy character at the beginning of "Guardians of the Galaxy," but the film, to its credit, doesn't wait too long to show us his other side. 

After escaping the Kyln, Groot and the Guardians travel to the mysterious Knowhere, a lawless hub of criminal activity churning within the severed head of a dead Celestial. The gang is here to sell a mysterious artifact to the even more mysterious Collector, but a small, beautiful thing happens on their way. Walking through the streets of Knowhere, they encounter a group of small children. The kids appear to be homeless and beg the Guardians for anything they can spare, while Quill advises the group to "watch your wallets." One girl, however, pushes through and finds herself smiling up at Groot, who smiles back, grows a flower from his body, and gives it to her.

This is an extremely important moment for Groot, because it establishes him as someone who fundamentally cares about and empathizes with other people, and as the best of the only occasionally moral Guardians — none of the others give the kids anything. Groot gives what he can, and in doing so, sets up the sacrifice he'll make in his climactic scene later in the film. It's a tiny moment, but it matters, and it's very memorable.


Another small but memorable Groot moment in "Guardians of the Galaxy" occurs during the final battle between Xander (aided by the Guardians) and Ronan the Accuser, a Kree zealot who seeks to wipe out the Xandarian race. 

While Rocket assists the Xandarians in their efforts to stall Ronan's ship, the Dark Aster, from landing on the surface, the rest of the team breaches it with the goal of killing Ronan. Upon entering the Dark Aster, they find that it lives up to its name; the Guardians can barely see where they're going. To provide light for the team, Groot lifts his hand and releases a cascade of spores, each glowing with a warm, calming yellow luminescence. Like the flower, it has little impact on the story of the movie, but it's probably one of the first things anyone remembers about Groot in "Guardians of the Galaxy," a gorgeously-produced sequence that leaves the viewer as in awe of Groot's strange alien humanity as the Guardians themselves are.

Incidentally, it also provides a handy explanation for why there's a light source that allows us to see what's happening during Groot's next memorable moment.

We are Groot

This list is chronological, but if it were a ranking, there's one scene that would indisputably be at the top. 

After Ronan survives the Guardians' attempt on his life, he's stopped from killing Drax the Destroyer by Rocket, who flies his ship directly into the Dark Aster, temporarily removing Ronan from the equation and crippling the Dark Aster itself, which begins to plummet toward the surface of Xandar. With Drax and Rocket injured and the Guardians facing certain death as they huddle aboard the falling wreckage, Groot makes the choice that defines him as a character. 

Growing a mass of leaves and branches from his body, he extends them into a protective sphere around his friends, shielding them from the impact of the crash. Groot himself, however, is unlikely to survive. When Rocket, realizing this, tearfully asks him why he's doing it, Groot alters his singular phrase in heartbreaking fashion — not "I am Groot," but "we are Groot." 

It's the moment the Guardians become family — honestly, it's the moment the Guardians become the Guardians. They might officially come together while holding hands to jointly take on the power of an Infinity Stone, but Groot's sacrifice, and his declaration of the five of them as a single unit, is the true catalyst for the team's creation. Through a single act of kindness and empathy in the face of his own death, Groot forges the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Baby Groot's introduction

Of course, Groot isn't actually dead, but he doesn't emerge from "Guardians of the Galaxy" unscathed. While he survived the fall of the Dark Aster, it's only because his species has the ability to regrow itself from whatever twigs are left, and that means the Groot that appears in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" isn't the adult Groot we grew to know and love, but the almost painfully adorable Baby Groot. 

This version of the character is introduced in "Vol. 2's" iconic opening credits sequence, in which the Guardians battle the fearsome Abilisk, a gigantic tentacled monstrosity they've been hired to dispatch. However, the majority of the fight takes place on the margins, with the camera focusing on Baby Groot, who plugs in Quill's music system and dances across the battlefield to the tune of "Mr. Blue Sky" by the Electric Light Orchestra.

While it might seem to be just a fun gag to frame the opening credits around, this sequence actually sets up the entire movie, both tonally (Groot's comedic antics take up most of the space while the serious stuff happens around it) and thematically, as various members of the Guardians, particularly Gamora, display parental feelings toward Groot, expressing concern that he might get hurt during the fight. Not only does this reflect Baby Groot's new relationship to the rest of the team, it also foreshadows the entire film being about the relationship between parent (or adopted parent) and child.

The prototype fin

While Baby Groot's newfound role as the Guardians' collective child fits into the themes of "Vol. 2," they mostly play out in the stories of other characters — Quill and his relationships with Ego and Yondu, and the troubled sisterhood of Gamora and Nebula, which was warped by the cruelty of their adopted father, Thanos. Baby Groot is mainly there to be cute and funny, and he provides a couple of the film's funniest sequences, both of which stem from his inability to comprehend simple instructions.

The first of these comes aboard Yondu's ship, which has been taken over by mutinous Ravagers. Yondu himself is imprisoned, along with Rocket, while Groot is made a captive mascot, as he was "too adorable to kill." Upon visiting Yondu and Groot in their cell, however, he has the chance to secure their freedom. The fin-like controller for Yondu's Yaka Arrow, a fearsome weapon he controls by whistling, has been damaged, but there's a prototype fin in the captain's quarters. If Groot can bring it to Yondu, they can take back the ship. 

Groot, unfortunately, fails to understand, and brings Yondu and Rocket a procession of increasingly bizarre items, including a pair of underwear, an alien rodent, a cybernetic eye, a desk, and a severed human toe (he also reveals a truly bizarre reason for his dislike of hats). If not for the timely intervention of Yondu's regretful first mate, Kraglin Obfonteri, Groot would probably still be looking.

The death button

The second "Groot doesn't get it" scene from "Vol. 2" is more memorable to most fans, simply because it featured prominently in the movie's trailers, giving audiences their first look at Baby Groot. But it's also hilarious in its own right. 

During the climax of the film, the Guardians must do battle simultaneously with the vengeful forces of the Sovereign and the rage of Quill's father, Ego, who secretly comprises the entirety of the planet on which the Guardians find him. To stop Ego, the Guardians journey to the planet's core, where Rocket rigs a bomb that can blow up Ego's brain. However, the only person small enough to reach the brain is Baby Groot. Rocket painstakingly explains to Groot how to activate the bomb, including pushing the button that will engage a five-minute timer instead of the one that will set it off immediately, but when asked to repeat back the instructions, Groot consistently points to, as Rocket calls it, "the death button."

Of course, Groot does end up hitting the correct button after running off with the bomb and planting it beside the brain, but the fact that it's a source of tension at all is hilarious. The highlight of the scene, however, has to be Rocket asking Quill for some tape to put over the death button, followed by the sound of Quill asking all the other Guardians, mid-battle, if they have any tape. Spoiler alert: Nobody has tape.

Teen Groot

Baby Groot will always be a highlight of "Vol. 2," but that highlight is restricted to the one film; in a post-credits scene, it's revealed in a fantastic gag that Baby Groot has aged up again and now become a surly teenager. 

When Quill complains about the state of Groot's room, Teen Groot calls him "boring," after which Quill chews him out for playing "that mind-numbing game," a hand-held video game similar to a Game Boy. If nothing else, the scene is both funny and memorable for taking Groot's re-started life cycle to its logical next step, and the joke continues in "Avengers: Infinity War," in which Groot can still be seen playing the game and mouthing off to the other Guardians. 

It's impossible to know precisely what Groot says in the "Infinity War" scene, but it provokes a strong reaction from everyone involved. Any parent who has ever used some variation on the phrase "put that away now, I don't want to tell you again" likely got a kick out of this version of Groot — who isn't in the movie that much, and barely seems to care, but nonetheless plays one major part.

Forging Stormbreaker

"Avengers: Infinity War" is a massive MCU crossover, which means there's not a ton of room for relatively minor characters like Groot. He does, however, get one particular moment to shine in the film, when he accompanies Rocket and the Asgardian thunder god, Thor, to the planet of Nidavellir. 

Thor, having seen his mystic hammer, Mjolnir, destroyed during the events of "Thor: Ragnarok," now seeks to forge a new weapon with which to battle Thanos. On Nidavellir, they encounter the enormous dwarf, Eitri, and through the combined efforts of Eitri, Thor, and Rocket, they manage to melt the mystical Uru metal in the fires of a star and forge it into the legendary axe known as Stormbreaker. Thor, however, is nearly killed in the process, and only having the axe in his hand can save him. The handle, however, is nowhere to be found.

Teen Groot has, to this point, largely been concerned only with his video game. However, as Thor lies dying and the axe lies incomplete, the self-sacrificing heroism that has always been inside him once again comes to the fore. Instead of searching for the handle, Groot forms his own, extending his branches to tie Stormbreaker's blade together (despite pain from the searing heat) and then chopping off his own arm to complete the axe. He might not have the biggest role in the MCU, but this memorable Groot moment is also his most impactful. Every time Thor swings Stormbreaker, Groot will be by his side.