*For an original, untranslated version of this review – click here*
The first-ever Guardians of the Galaxy spin-off has arrived, and it’s just about the cutest thing ever. I Am Groot, also the first starring vehicle for Vin Diesel in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is a CG-animated mini-show from the minds of Ryan Little and Kirsten Lepore. It’s first season consists of five short episodes, each only a few minutes long, that mostly feature Baby Groot stumbling his way through an adorable series of shenanigans across the galaxy. While the project is technically canon to the wider MCU, it more or less functions as entirely it’s own affair. There is no prerequisite viewing, aside from maybe the aforementioned Guardians films, and there is no pressure to understand anything important. It’s really just Baby Groot being Baby Groot for a solid 20 minutes.
Obviously, this is not a serious show made for grown-up adults. That doesn’t mean an adult can’t love it, because this series is the definition of lovable, but nobody should go into I Am Groot expecting a deep dive into the character’s origin or personal beliefs. Instead, one should anticipate hearty laughter and a little bit of water to come out of their leaky eyes. It’s essentially the opening dance sequence from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 stretched out long enough to give it its own title. Anyone with a child who loves Groot will want to turn this on immediately because it will likely become that kid’s new favorite show. Diesel‘s endearing, pocket-sized hero pulls out all of his signature moves. From antagonizing equally delightful intergalactic creatures to performing the most destructive arts-and-crafts time ever, Groot does it all with the sweetest, most amusing big eyes and tiny smile the universe has ever seen.
That being said, these shorts are genuinely worth the watch for parents and children alike. I Am Groot can be viewed as an entertaining, educational project designed for toddlers, using Baby Groot and the problems he runs into as great examples of overcoming adversity. Granted, Groot is not a well-behaved baby. He is, however, wildly entertaining and sure to give kids a good chuckle. On the parental, or adult-who-doesn’t-have-kids-but-likes-Marvel-a-lot, side of things, I Am Groot is an undeniably charming look into a corner of the Marvel Universe that, frankly, nobody ever thought they would see. The only other Marvel character to make an appearance is Groot’s best friend and father figure, Rocket Raccoon, voiced again by Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper. Isolating Groot from his peers allows viewers to take a rather interesting peak at what sort of chaos the little tree can cause when left completely unattended.
Although nothing too special, I Am Groot does earn it’s place as part of the Disney+ catalogue, and will probably leave young ones wanting more. The shorts have the potential to be a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it chapter for the MCU, and may be the sort of thing people forget about after a single viewing, but it will ultimately be the response from the target audience that determines it’s longevity. More episodes have been confirmed to be on the way, so perhaps this is just the beginning of many Groot solo adventures down the line. Either way, it’s not anything worth stressing about. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy Baby Groot in all his precious glory.