With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 completing a trilogy of films, obviously there were going to be lots of payoffs. Writer-director James Gunn delivers with sometimes satisfying, sometimes sad, but equally excellent endings for basically all of your favorite characters. But did you realize that you, the audience member, get a moment of closure too? It’s true, though it happens so subtly it’s possible you missed it.
Throughout the entire movie (and, in fact, the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe), anytime Groot talks, all the audience hears is his trademark “I am Groot.” That’s not the case, however, for most of the characters in the film. They’re so familiar with Groot by this point that when he says “I am Groot,” they hear what he really means. In Vol. 3, one person that doesn’t happen for is Gamora, because she’s the other Gamora who hasn’t spent much time with Groot.
Then that changes. At the end of the movie, Gamora finally hears what Groot actually means, and it’s a nice moment. She is finally friendly and comfortable enough with him that she understands Groot’s language. Plus, that’s in there to clue us into what happens next.
Soon after, the Guardians are all talking and we hear Groot say—not “I am Groot,” but “I love you guys.” And that’s the moment. Groot hasn’t changed how he talks. We, the audience, have just finally become part of the family enough that we can finally understand Groot, and what a beautiful way to add even more emotional resonance to the film.
To some, this might not seem like a huge revelation. Maybe you caught it immediately as it was happening. But, talking to some friends after our screening, we learned the moment was lost on them—so we figured it would be worth pointing out just in case. Also, it is worth noting that this is merely our interpretation of the moment. There is certainly an outside chance that Gunn’s intention here isn’t that the audience can now understand Groot. But, come on, is there a better, more lovely explanation?
[Note: after this article was posted, a fan tweeted it at James Gunn asking if it was in fact the intention. It was.]
If that is the case, though, does it mean all future MCU appearances for Groot—who is now incredibly huge, as revealed in the end credits with the new team—will feature dialogue that the audience can understand? One day, maybe we’ll find out.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now in theaters.
Update 5/6/23 12 p.m. - We added Gunn’s confirmation of his intention.
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