This holiday season, the perfect present is a galaxy away.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is a 2022 superhero Christmas television special directed by James Gunn, written by James Gunn, produced by Marvel Studios, and distributed by Disney Platform Distribution. It is based off of various Guardians of the Galaxy comics by Marvel Comics. The special stars Pom Klementieff and Dave Bautista. It is the fortieth entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, being the seventeenth project in the Multiverse Saga, second television special and the seventeenth and final project in Phase Four. It acts as a sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, Thor: Love and Thunder, Werewolf by Night, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. It will be followed by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Secret Invasion, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
"We're looking for the legendary Kevin Bacon." - Mantis
When the Guardians of the Galaxy learn that it's Christmastime, Mantis and Drax set off on an adventure to Earth to find the perfect present for Star-Lord.
My favorite part of The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is the super random, super funny story that James Gunn chose. This special is about Mantis and Drax trying to find a perfect Christmas present for Star-Lord...and they choose Kevin Bacon. It's so Guardians of the Galaxy. It's so weird. It shouldn't work at all. But it absolutely does. It's such a funny story executed with such a funny nature.
This special is also ridiculous. But in the best of ways. And, because of how ridiculous it is, it's really funny. Mantis and Drax are two extremely funny characters when used correctly, and they are used very well here. Beyond that, there are just tons of moments of humor sprinkled throughout. Star-Lord gets his moments. Rocket gets his moments. Groot gets his moments. And Nebula gets her moments. Not all of the comedy lands, but there are plenty of jokes that will have you laughing out loud.
Mantis and Drax are the leads of the special, and they are fantastic. I've always loved Drax, but I've never really cared for Mantis...until now. Mantis is a little more of a lead than Drax, and she just gets a ton to do here. She's extremely funny, but she also gets a surprising amount of character development. I liked her significantly more after this special. And Drax...he's Drax. He's fantastic.
And the MCU's newest character is also amazing: Kevin Bacon. The way they use him here is hilarious. It's such a random, dumb storyline, but it's done so well, and part of that is Kevin Bacon's willingness to go all in on the ridiculous Guardians of the Galaxy antics. He doesn't need to do much, because he's just playing himself, but he's still really funny.
James Gunn is really good at directing super odd stories with wonky characters. That's why he's done such a good job with the Guardians. That's why he did such a good job with The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker. He continues that hot streak here. He just knows how to make super weird things be funny and heartfelt at the same time. And he injects all of that ability into The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.
And, as I just said, James Gunn knows how to make things heartfelt. He does a fantastic job of making use of this forty-five minute special to give you a wide range of emotions. Once again, it's really funny, but it's also very sweet. The story is about Mantis and Drax trying to cheer Star-Lord up by getting him a Christmas present. That's so wholesome. And, as you move into the final five-ish minutes, there are some really emotionally resonant moments that will stick with you.
I don't have much negative to say about this one, except for the fact that it drops a major, significant plot point on us out of nowhere. At the very beginning of the special, they reveal something HUGE...and they kind of treat it as insignificant. Now, they do bring up repeatedly throughout the special, but the reveal of this plot point was so strange. It's just brought up in a random line of dialogue in the middle of a conversation and you're like "Huh?". It's not a huge deal, but it was a very strange choice.
Final Thoughts and Score
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is another great special from Marvel Studios that takes our Guardians and gives them a wholesome, fun, funny adventure that closes out Phase Four on a great note.
I will go Sweet here. Age range is 6+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad)
"The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special"
Fun Factor: 9/10
Directed by James Gunn
Rated TV-14 for language
Released on November 25, 2022
Pom Klementieff as Mantis
Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer
Kevin Bacon as Kevin Bacon
Chris Pratt as Peter Quill / Star-Lord
Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon
Karen Gillan as Nebula
Sean Gunn as Kraglin Obfonteri
Vin Diesel as Groot
Maria Bakalova as Cosmo the Spacedog
Rhett Miller as Bzermikitokolok
Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta