Why Rocket is Guardian of the Galaxy’s MPV
It’s easy to relegate Rocket Raccoon to the role of furry sidekick. A cute but fierce and able member of a team of crusaders known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, headed up by de facto leader Peter Quill. But he’s so much more than that.
In fact, we’d go so far to say he’s the Guardians’ MVP. And when you see the evidence, laid out below, you won’t hesitate to agree.
As Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 brings Rocket front and center in a plot in which his team must save his life, let’s take a look at all of the reasons why Rocket is the Guardians of the Galaxy’s most valuable player. And why they’ll struggle to save his life… without him.
He’s got morals
Although Rocket can be rude and insulting – and he’s a thief – he’s loyal and has a strong moral compass. From the moment we first meet him in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1, this is established when we see him passing judgment on Stan Lee’s cameo character, who is apparently chatting up a young woman.
“Where’s your wife, old man?” says Rocket. “What a Class-A prevert.” In spite of appearances, Rocket actually sets a precedent here that the Guardians will follow. They will eventually grow to value love and their connections with one another above all else, with Quill even giving up womanising as he falls for Gamora.
Rocket, the tree hugger
Not only is Rocket responsible through his relationship with Groot for bringing a super-effective member of the team to the Guardians of the Galaxy (not to mention being able to interpret for him and then later becoming a father figure to the sapling incarnation), his bond with Groot is an example to them all.
At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1, when Groot has sacrificed himself to save them all, Rocket’s love for his friend is clear and it helps to cement the team’s bond as a whole and bring them closer together as a found family.
He’s an escape artist
Not only is Rocket able to forge important relationships with people, but also he is very resourceful in most situations. He uses his size and nimbleness to his advantage, for example in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 when attacking the Ravagers on Berhert.
However, when he needs something extra, he’ll use (a fully grown) Groot to boost his height as seen during Vol. 1’s prison escape, or a burly Bucky during the battle against Thanos’s troops in Wakanda in Infinity War. Remember when Bucky picks him up and they spin around while each fires their weapon? Nice move.
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He sets the events of GotG Vol. 2 in motion
This at first might seem bogus, but ultimately it’s the best thing for everyone in terms of growth. Yeah, okay, so he steals batteries from the Sovereign, which causes the High Priestess to give chase. This in turn prompts Ego to step in and save the Guardians just as they’re under the cosh right before they crash land on the planet Berhert. Which brings Peter into a really traumatic engagement with his real father and leads to them all having to step in to save the universe.
But, in all this chaos, there are extremely valuable positives. Through the events of the film, Peter learns more about himself and undergoes a form of therapy in facing off against his birth father. Also, the Guardians are all brought closer together as a found family. Crucially, too, they all get some good practice at saving the universe, which will come in very handy later on when they have to confront some big purple guy.
Oh, and actually, those batteries that Rocket stole? He repurposes them as explosives (they’re “exceptionally combustible”) for the detonator. This turns out to be critical to blowing up Ego and thwarting his dastardly Expansion plans for universal domination. Ego would still have caught up with Peter at some point – but in fact it’s Rocket’s actions that give them the tools they need to bring Ego down.
He’s super smart and a tech genius
Rocket knows so much stuff. Guaranteed he’s the one among the Guardians to know about a thing, whatever the thing is. He knows all about Nidavellir when Thor mentions it. Thor even says to the Guardians of Rocket that he’s “clearly the smartest among you.”
Without Rocket’s know-how when it comes to tech, the Guardians would be in a real pickle. We’ve seen his techy smarts in the trap he sets for the Ravagers who pursue them to Berhert in GotG Vol. 2.
But most importantly, we’ve seen it in Endgame where Rocket is critical to helping Tony and Bruce build the time travel tech and the Nano Gauntlet. “You’re only a genius on Earth, pal,” Rocket even says to Tony Stark. He’s also integral to the process of getting Stormbreaker made on Nidavellir in Infinity War, and to extracting the Aether aka Reality Stone from Jane on Asgard. So there’s also that.
He’s worldly wise and had a way with words
“Everybody’s got dead people,” he says to Drax, who in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 is intent on jeopardising things to wreak his revenge on Ronan for murdering his family. “It’s no excuse to get everybody else dead along the way.”
Rocket has a knack of getting to the heart of the matter through his directness. More often than not, his approach works. He says something similar to Thor in Endgame when the duo goes back in time to Asgard to get the Aether. Rocket’s words can be presumed ultimately to stay with Thor, helping him along the path to healing from the guilt he feels following missing Thanos’s head the first time around, and the unprocessed grief from his mother’s death.
Rocket’s intuition also pinpoints exactly what Thor needs to hear to get him to come help gather the Infinity Stones in Endgame – the first step being to get on the ship. It’s not enough that Hulk tells him “We need you, pal.” What Thor needs to hear in that moment is, “There’s beer on the ship.”
“What kind?” asks Thor, as he imagines wetting his whistle. Or, more, likely, getting s–faced.
If you need more evidence of Rocket’s ability to cajole, motivate, and manipulate, he deftly undermines Taserface in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, weakening Taserface’s leadership position in the eyes of the Ravager mutineers.
His obsession with eyes
Rocket likes to steal many things. One item that he has his eye on and that he actually finally gets as a gift during the Holiday Special (from Nebula) is Bucky’s arm. Which means that our favourite Winter Soldier could very well have a new arm when we see him next.
But other (usually cybernetically enhanced) body parts Rocket also has his eye on include, erm, eyes. In Infinity War, his fondness for ocular acquisitions really pays off when he gives one – smuggled out of Contraxia secreted in a place where the sun don’t shine – to Thor to replace the eye he lost at the hands of his sister Hela.
He’s the only OG Guardian not to get Snapped
If you need concrete evidence that Rocket is the Guardians’ MVP, this is it. The writers knew they had to keep Rocket around in order to execute the Time Heist, so he’s the only original Guardian not to dissolve in the Snap. (Nebula, of course, survives to lend her help too.)
His technology, technical, and mechanics know-how are vital to pulling off the plan to Blip everybody back.
Rocket is the one responsible for getting the Reality Stone, too, as we’ve already mentioned.
Thor couldn’t do it alone, and Rocket was the only one able to pull it off. Their relationship was crucial for allowing this to happen, and to kickstart Thor’s healing to make him a well and useful member of the team again.
Without Rocket’s stern speech on Asgard, where would Thor be? With Rocket being so independent and useful, it meant Thor was free to reconcile with his mother and begin to heal. Without Rocket, there’s no Stormbreaker. Without Rocket able to just get on with the job in hand, there’s no freedom for Thor to explore his feelings here, and probably no re-acquisition of Mjölnir while they’re there. Meaning that Thor wouldn’t be fit for the fight to come, and Cap wouldn’t be able to use his trusty Hammer in the battle.
There’s no Guardian more deserving of the accolade ‘MVP.’
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is in cinemas now. You can read our review here, while for more on the movie, head to our dedicated GOTG page, or check out the below articles…
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