Avengers: Endgame is the closing of a major chapter for the MCU. Which also brings some major closure to all of its characters.
One of the highlights of Avengers: Endgame is the way in which it ends numerous storylines for the various Avengers. Some of the characters get a closing chapter to their entire MCU tenure, while others get to end smaller chapters in their journeys. For Rocket Raccoon, we get to see him finally become something more than just an a-hole. Be warned we’re diving into MAJOR SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 & 2
Looking back at the start of Rocket’s journey, he’s introduced as a bit of an asshole. One that is willing to do whatever it takes to serve his own purpose. He begins to realize in the first Guardians that maybe he can be more than just a criminal, and that he can use his skills for something greater than himself. A large part of that is tied to Groot being willing to sacrifice himself to save the Guardians, and help stop Ronan. That being said, at the end of Vol. 1 he definitely had more work to accomplish in the journey to becoming a better person.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 helped expand on this greatly, with Rocket realizing that this family he’s created with the Guardians can be something more. But Rocket isn’t used to having people around who care about him. He’s someone who has always been used and abused by everyone he surrounds himself with, and his life has constantly been filled with trauma. Quill tries to question Rocket’s motives and why he’s so hostile to the Guardians, but it isn’t until Rocket begins to connect with Yondu that he sees what he truly is, and understands that he has to be better.
Despite Quill being the one who consistently butts heads with Rocket throughout the film, having Quill reinforce to Rocket at the end of Vol. 2 that they’re still a family is important. Quill knows Yondu, he knows the hell Yondu went through, and has likely heard plenty of stories of his tortured past. Quill knows Rocket, and knows that Rocket has a tortured past as well. Quill may be a bit of a jerk at times, but he gets what Rocket is dealing with, and doesn’t want him to be like this. Quill helps Rocket understand at the end that the people you love will stand by you, even if you’re a mess.
Infinity War and Endgame
By the time we return to Rocket in Infinity War he’s started to grow as a person (or raccoon). While he fought with what exactly it meant to have this family in Guardians Vol 1 & 2, he literally says when talking to Thor that he could lose a lot by fighting Thanos. All Rocket truly has at this point is this family, and that clearly means something to him. Even if he does still enjoy messing with Quill. We see this growth in character continue as he continues to push Thor through Infinity War and Endgame.
Rocket realizes that sometimes people are assholes or aren’t able to step up to the plate because of their trauma but he knows that Thor can overcome this just as he did. He tries to speak to Thor in ways that he understands, even if it isn’t the most gentle, because he does care. Rocket also is a much more understanding person in his moments with others throughout the film. He may make snide remarks still, but he is willing to admit when he oversteps. This is without a doubt a change for Rocket- who has always been unapologetic, but the biggest indication of his change is in the final act.
When everyone returns for the battle against Thanos, there’s a moment where Groot is knocked down and almost shot at. Rocket immediately yells no and jumps on Groot to try to keep him safe. Rocket has always been close to Groot. But he has never once done something where he could legitimately sacrifice his life for Groot or anyone else. This is a major turn for the character, but one that has been well serviced and well deserved. Rocket has finally become someone who is willing to sacrifice everything for those he loves, it makes him a stronger person and a bigger hero than he’s ever been in previous films.
Rocket will return next in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is expected to be released in 2021. Where his character goes from here is unclear. But it’s definitely likely that we’ll see a new side to Rocket that we haven’t seen before. No matter what, it’s just good to have him still around post Thanos.
You can see Rocket Racoon as part of Avengers: Endgame, in theaters now. Be sure to check out our previous Avengers Endgame articles at the links below.