Which Avenger can teach you a thing or two about marketing?
The moral leadership of Captain America? The empowerment of Captain Marvel? The technical wizardry of Iron Man? The poignancy of Hulk? The mind-games of Scarlet Witch? The Vibranium of Black Panther?
For me, it’s the genius of Groot.
I don’t mean in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film when he’s a full-sized tree with a hell of a temper.
I mean in Volume 2, when he either comes back to life or, more likely, returns as the son of the original Groot. Still prone to massive fits of rage but much funnier.
The best scene is the bomb scene, when Rocket, the cybernetically- enhanced racoon, is briefing Baby Groot on planting the bomb that’s going to blow up Ego’s brain at the core of his home planet.
ROCKET: All right, first you flick this switch, then this switch. That activates it. Then you push this button, which will give you five minutes to get out of there. Now, whatever you do, don’t (points) - push (points) - this (points) button. Because that will set off the bomb immediately and we’ll all be dead. Now, repeat back what I just said.
GROOT: (looking at first switch) I am Groot.
GROUT: (looking at second switch) I am Groot.
ROCKET: That’s right.
GROOT: (pointing at the instant death button) I am Groot.
ROCKET No! No, that’s the button that will kill everyone!
I should explain at this point, in case you don’t know, that Baby Groot speaks Groot, a language that only has three words - ‘I’, ‘am’ and ‘Groot’, used exclusively in that order.
ROCKET: Try again.
GROOT: Hmm. (Looking at first switch) I am Groot.
GROOT: (looking at second switch) I am Groot.
GROOT: (again pointing at the instant death button) I am Groot.
ROCKET: No! That’s exactly what you just said. How’s that even possible? Which button is the one you’re supposed to push? Point to it.
Groot points at the instant death button.
At which points, Quill tells Rocket off for making Groot nervous, they look for some tape to put over the instant death button and Groot runs off with the bomb when Rocket’s back is turned.
The lesson is simple. When you’re trying to get someone to do something, don’t use the negative. All Groot remembers is seeing Rocket point at a button. He wasn’t listening to the words.
There’s another lesson too which is the heart of the Groot language, an elective subject at schools on the planet Asgard, which is why Thor can speak it too.
It’s not always what you say but how you say it.