Groot's Newest Powers In Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Explained

This article contains spoilers for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3."

One of the coolest parts of watching superhero movies is getting to see the superheroes themselves level up from movie to movie. They grow more comfortable with their abilities, learn new tricks, and become stronger. Iron Man gets new suits and more weapons in each movie, as does Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange gains new spells and the ability to do cool musical fights.

We don't really get that in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" movies. Most of the Guardians don't have super-powers and what you see is what you get, with one notable exception: Groot. We've seen Groot gain new abilities in each of the "Guardians" movies (and other movies too) as he grows up, following the death of the original Groot in the first film. In many ways, charting the growth of the talking tree has been one of the biggest joys of the entire franchise.

Before "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," Groot's powers included everything a plant can do, along with the ability to lengthen his limbs rather quickly and super-strength, with the bark that covers his body serving as super armor that is stronger than most other characters. Groot being a tree also allows him to grow limbs rather quickly and regenerate from almost every wound. Additionally, he can blossom flowers and vines and create bioluminescent spores. When caught in a big pickle, he can grow into a massive cocoon that protects whoever is inside from just about anything, even an exploding ship. And lest we forget, in the event that Groot dies, he can still spawn a little kid (i.e. a baby Groot).

In the third film, however, we get a different, much bulkier, and kind of terrifying Groot.

No country for Old Groot

After maturing from a baby to a teenager, we finally meet Adult Groot in the "Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" and he's a big, swole dude who hits the gym on the regular. By "Vol. 3," Groot has become a reliable asset to the team on missions, able to pass through any security checkpoint and hide all sorts of guns in his trunk — literally, the bark armor that covers his skin reveals little pockets all over his body to stash weapons. He can also turn into a giant Groot "kaiju" that is even stronger and more menacing.

It makes sense. Baby Groot was mostly there to be an adorable mascot, a creature so cute he could go up against Baby Yoda, but Teenage Groot was awkward and not too talkative. Besides, he only really appeared for a little while in two "Avengers" films with dozens of other characters. Now that we've gotten the final movie featuring the original "Guardians" team, James Gunn has brought out the (ahem) big guns with the return of Adult Groot. Kind of.

You see, he's not the same Groot who died. This Groot can also grow gliders-style wings like Swamp Thing in DC's New 52. He can even get decapitated and have his head more around like a very creepy spider. In a movie full of heartbreak, animal abuse, and squishy horror, Groot's weird new abilities make for a fun and exciting addition to the story. By the mid-credits scene, we finally see Groot achieve a new status as King Groot, which is closer to his original comic book appearance.

And who knows, maybe Old Man Groot will be able to clone himself or something if we see him again in another movie.

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" is currently playing in theaters.