WARNING: the article contains spoilers about the five shorts from the second season of I Am Groot
While at Marvel the chaosbetween postponements, cancellations and an increasingly unhappy opinion of the public and critics, the second season of I Am Groot, the collection of short films dedicated to the beloved character of the franchise that finally sheds a ray of sunshine on the House of Ideas. After the success of the first series of shorts, this second wave also confirms, and objectively it was difficult to think otherwise, the genuineness of the project. We are talking, after all, about one of the most beloved characters in the entire MCU, who lends himself very well to a lightning-fast and fun narrative like the one offered by I Am Groot and in light of this, the success of this operation was widely announced.
Behind the five very short shorts, which include the credits and the opening theme, which the good Groot understandably skips every time, never exceed five minutes, there are however some reflections, also very important, which affect the entire future of Marvel. We’ll get to that in due course in this review, using I Am Groot as a basis for imagining a new path for the MCU. In the meantime, let’s quickly relive the five short films dedicated to the little tree, obviously present on Disney+.
I Am Groot – Five irresistible shorts
The five stories of I Am Groot they offer us five different contexts that see our protagonist engaged in apparently simple activities, which however definitely put him to the test and entertain us beyond belief. In the first episode Groot finds an egg, from which some sort of comes out little bird with prehistoric features, and with him the little tree discovers the difficulties, but also the joys, of taking care of an animal. Of course, the best solution is not to lock it in your backpack so you don’t hear it, but all’s well that ends well since in the end Groot finds the bird’s mother and says goodbye to his friend. The second short is particularly funny, in which the protagonist instead finds a naso and discovers the smells, up to the awareness of the precarious conditions in which his room is found. However, rather than cleaning, Groot wipes his nose with the mop and goes back to lounging without olfactory distractions.
Destruction overtakes Groot in the third and fourth shorts. First it is the tree that risks its feathers, or rather its leaves, being attacked by a snowman built with weapons, which turns out to be a crazy robot. This is the most stylish short Guardians of the Galaxy Of I Am Groot, and ends with a perfect snowball throw that destroys the robot snowman. In the fourth short film, however, it is the Marvel hero who destroys a poor man ice cream cartafter struggling to find a coin.
The most interesting, however, is the fifth short, not so much for what happens – the usual Groot generates chaos by entering an ancient temple to fulfill an old prophecy – but for the presence ofobserverthe pivotal character of another MCU animated series: What If. The interaction with this character is brief, but his presence is important because the whole multiverse unfolds through his presence and his inclusion testifies to how the focus of the moment, at Marvel, is entirely on the multiverse: a nice assist also for the imminent return of Loki.
The winning recipe from I Am Groot
As stated at the beginning, the success of I Am Groot was quite obvious, for various reasons, attributable to narrative formula and the protagonist character. The little tree of the Guardians of the Galaxy, especially in his baby version, he lends himself very well to this fast narrative, based on the interaction with common objects, which for him however are mysterious, fascinating and often out of proportion. It’s a bit like seeing those videos of children or animals interacting with adults’ objects: the result is funny and irresistible. The driving force of the story is always the desire to to explore of Groot, who is fascinated by even the simplest things and, with his direct and often awkward ways, creates truly unpredictable situations.
The five short films by I Am Groot they are built, therefore, on one winning recipe, well tested and which, upon closer inspection, could partly suggest a path for the future at Marvel. The formula of these short films is difficult to replicate for other characters and different stories, but the key lies, rather, inanimationa fundamental point to reflect on in such a delicate moment for the House of Ideas.
A way forward for Marvel
We said it: what Marvel is experiencing is not a simple moment at all, but it is the first major vacuum since the MCU existed and this vortex seems to have no end. The problems are different, and this is not the right place to talk about them in detail, but a possible solution, or rather an alternative way to move the situation, can be represented precisely by animation departmentwhich not surprisingly also revived another franchise that was in difficulty such as Star Wars. I Am Groot is a success, as was the first season of What If and these two narratives, very different from each other, have two points in common: they are animated series, untied from the macro plot of the MCU. The feeling is that there is a need for more works of this kind, stories that are not suffocated by the needs of the collective and global plot and which, thanks to animation, can offer a different vision, more faithful to the comics matrix and further away from the classic connotations of Marvel films.
Upon closer inspection, we believe that this is a path that the House of Ideas should try to follow with more insistence in the near future. There is a lot of curiosity, for example, about it X-Men ’97, sequel revival of the beloved animated series of the nineties, but it would be interesting to see many other stories of the genre, both on known and loved heroes, from Spiderman to the Fantastic Four, and perhaps on lesser-known characters. Proposing them in the animated versions would also be a way to test the public’s opinion on a hero before introducing him into the central plot and necessarily having to carry him forward. In short, there are quite a few advantages that animated series can offer and the hope is that Marvel realizes this soon, as it did in its time Star Wars.
In this sense, I Am Groot it can be, despite its absolute particularity, a index important. For now we wait X-Men ’97 and the second season of What If and then the judgment on the animated sector of the MCU will be more complete and perhaps will be able to orient this debate even better, establishing whether this path can be valid or not for the future of Marvel. We believe so.