On the surface, Rocket Raccoon is a character that has no business being on the silver screen. Yet here we are, five years after his introduction, shedding tears over a character that’s entirely animated, often rude, and always brash. That’s why there’s no denying that out of any character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Rocket Raccoon has had not only the best story arc out of the dozens of characters, but the most important character development we’ve seen on screen.
He may seem like a jerk on the surface, but no matter the situation, Rocket’s always willing to put himself into harm’s way to help out those near and dear to him. Whether it be trying to get Groot back from the dead, on a seemingly continually basis, or helping Yondu find himself psychologically before the biggest fight of their lives, Rocket’s always looking out for others.
But let’s start things off right by heading back to his very beginnings. From starting out as a thief, Rocket’s now one of the heroes suddenly tasked with restoring the universe to how it was before Thanos razed half of all life, and that’s just the start of it. The thing is, Rocket shouldn’t even be in existence the way it is. He’s solely here because some demented soul saw fit to experiment on living creatures, disturbing the balance of natural law and order. Rocket didn’t have a choice to be turned from a regular, run-of-the mill raccoon into a walking, talking superhero.
It’s no wonder why the character is up to no good by the time we first see him during the events of Guardians of the Galaxy. After he was created, Rocket was likely left for dead by whoever spawned him in the lab, leaving the character to fend for himself in a dog-eat-dog universe. Even though he initially comes across as an angry kleptomaniac, it’s not too long until we get a look inside the character’s psyche, something that reveals just how protective of Groot, the sentient tree that serves as his bodyguard, really is.
And so begins the best character development in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Rocket has every reason possible as to why he shouldn’t empathize with the other heroes, yet he does. He was brought into this world unnaturally as a lab project, but he cares about others as he tries to adapt to this ever-changing world that’s completely foreign to him. Not just that, but he’s also taken another character in a similar plight under his proverbial wing.
While we haven’t seen his entire relationship with Groot on screen, as the latter was already a fully grown tree by the first time we saw them, we have, however, since seen Rocket shift into a fatherly role when Groot ended up sacrificing himself for the greater good. Groot’s literally all Rocket has, and the character has essentially been killed twice in front of his eyes. Sure, it may be dangerous to assume that Rocket’s going to continue powering forward when Avengers: Endgame rolls around in a few days, but it’s more than likely Rocket is already working around the clock on figuring out a way to not only get Groot back, but all of the others that disappeared as a result of The Snap.
From the self-absorbed character we were first introduced to back in 2014, Rocket has morphed into one of the most dependable characters within the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- with one of the biggest hearts to boot. Despite his rough exterior, he continually goes out of his way to help out those who need it. From jumping into a fatherly role with Groot to helping Thor build a god-killing weapon, he’s done everything in his power to better himself, despite the uphill battle he has in the world.
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