Marvel’s big streaming series and star wars take all the headlines, but since its debut, Disney Plus has also slowly become a service stuffed with animated shorts. They… vary in quality. Some are shameless examples of brand synergy, like when Loki or Billie Eilish hang out with the Simpsons for a few painful minutes at a time. But if you dig a little deeper, there’s some great stuff, including classic-style Mickey Mouse shorts, a refreshing take on star warsand a surprisingly sweet series on Baymax from Big Hero 6. Now you can add I am Groot to this short list of short films.
The series seems inevitable in retrospect. Ever since Groot (voiced, as always, by Vin Diesel) was turned into a baby, he’s been the Marvel Universe’s Minion-style comic relief. Groot’s presence now often exists in the form of a series of animated shorts that are tangentially tied to the guardians of the galaxy movie he is in. Why not turn them into standalone shorts? I am Groot is extremely brief; the episodes are only a few minutes long each, and the whole thing lasts about 20 minutes. It’s basically as long as a post-credits scene in the MCU.
But it works well here – the stuff doesn’t last long enough to overstay its welcome. There is also a surprising amount of variety. One short resembles a sci-fi horror story, while another involves a fight with a bonsai tree. It’s all very silly and inconsequential, and the slapstick comedy is built around Groot’s tendency to 1) get very upset at the slightest inconvenience and 2) make extremely bad choices. There’s not much to say about it other than it’s fun and goofy and will particularly appeal to the kind of people who liked to see a little Groot dancing in a flowerpot in the movies. live action. There’s a scene where he’s surfing on a bar of soap.
I am Groot is not the kind of series to make you subscribe to a new streaming service. But it makes me wish we saw more experimentation on these platforms. Big budget shows like Loki Where Obi Wan are great – don’t get me wrong. But without a traditional TV schedule to stick to, I’d like to see more offbeat things like I am Groot, especially considering the scope of all these fictional universes. That’s part of the reason I liked it What if…? so many. It was just different.
That may already be happening, at least in part, given the pretty sizable lineup of Marvel animated series in the works for Disney Plus. Some will expand the MCU canon, filling in details left untouched by movies and live-action shows. But hopefully at least a few will be as delightfully unessential as watching Groot relax in a hot tub.
I am Groot airs on Disney Plus on August 10.