top of page

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special’ - a festive surprise

Courtesy of IMDb

By Jack McLaughlin

Staff Writer

“The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special” is James Gunn’s continuation of the titular characters he turned into household names following their introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in 2014.

The special centers around the intergalactic heroes who now reside on the planet Knowhere. Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) take it upon themselves to get the perfect Christmas present for Star Lord (Chris Pratt), who is not interested in partaking in the festivities of his home planet.

It is decided the best present for Star Lord is the actor Kevin Bacon, and a plan to go to Earth and kidnap him is agreed to be the best option to go about this.

After a series of comedic misfires from the MCU recently, it was relieving to find a lot of the humor on point, and in classic James Gunn fashion the writing perfectly blends these funny scenes with strong emotional beats.

It was great to finally be reunited with these characters in their own story. The Guardians have primarily been used as side characters for the last few appearances they’ve had, which worked in big ensembles like “Avengers: Infinity War,” but felt forced in this year’s “Thor: Love and Thunder.”

Drax and Mantis get the most screen time here, being the duo that travel to Earth to find Kevin Bacon. Their dynamic is incredibly fun to watch, especially the sequence in which they break into Bacon’s home.

Kevin Bacon is a lot of fun in this as well. His interactions with everyone, particularly once he’s away from Earth and presented to Star Lord, are the funniest bits.

The other Guardians don’t get nearly as much attention as they probably should, which is disappointing given how fun it is to watch all of them on-screen together. Viewers will get plenty more time with them with a sequel a few months away, and given how short this is, it’s something that can be forgiven.

Another aspect that I think will be looked at favorably is the special isn’t trying to set up future installments, and is instead a self-contained story that trickles in new characters and ideas that will likely be explored more in upcoming releases.

This comes to the best aspect of this special - the directing.

James Gunn’s style is all over this. From his unique camera shots craning over a large setting of characters or the perfect use of music, his style has come to be strongly appreciated and was a delight to see once again.

His ability to make strong emotional moments makes for a touching ending that will fill the viewer with a warm feeling you would come to expect from a holiday special.

Gunn also wrote the script for this special. It has the same humor and charm viewers will come to expect from his other MCU entries, but it’s a bit weaker than his other films.

The humor is reminiscent of the previous “Guardians” movies, so fans of the first two installments will find a lot of joy in that aspect, although it is not nearly as funny as the films are.

I think what makes the script a bit weaker than the films is how short the special is.

The 42-minute runtime is what hurts it the most, which is not nearly enough time for these characters. The biggest letdown of the MCU specials thus far has been their runtimes, as this was also an issue with “Werewolf By Night.”

The lack of time requires the story to move at a break-neck pace, which could sometimes work. However, traditional holiday specials work best when they are at a slightly slower pace that allows for more character growth.

Although it doesn’t have the same amount of polish as the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, this holiday special is enough to satisfy fans of these characters as the May release of Vol. 3 draws closer.

B+: A delightful present to MCU fans



Commenting has been turned off.
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
bottom of page