TL;DR – A absolute delight that understands how not to outstay its welcome through charm and joy.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this film.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Review –
When you hear the word ‘Holiday Special’, there can be a certain dread. That is because history is littered with failed examples, sometimes infamously failed. In my experience, they are, at best okay. However, today we have a model that might buck that trend.
So to set the scene, back in the past, we find a young Peter Quill (Luke Klein) and Kraglin (Sean Gunn) setting up their own little Christmas tree on the Ravanger spaceship when Yondu (Michael Rooker) walks in and trashes it because it shows weakness. Back in the post-Endgame, post-ditching Thor present. The Guardians of the Galaxy have bought Nowhere and have started bringing it back to its former prime. However, the gang feels that Peter (Chris Pratt) is still sad about losing the love of his life. Well, it is Christmas time, and Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) have a plan, let’s kidnap Kevin Bacon (Kevin Bacon).
The first strength of this special is finally nailing the Mantis/Drax comedy duo hinted at in Guardians 2, but here it has come to complete revelation. Part of this comes from both of them getting to be fish-out-of-water characters on the streets of Los Angeles. But also, unlike past films, there is a lot more balance to their relationship and it losses its shades of punching down that happened in past films. Pom Klementieff gets to have a riot of fun here, and it is a joy to watch. I am also glad that they put Dave Bautista in a shirt, which must cut down on the time in make-up each day.
It also helps that this is a nice tight 40-odd minutes, so it moves at a decent clip. Before you know it, they are romping through Los Angeles and having strong opinions about actors. While the focus is mainly on Mantis, Drax, and Peter, everyone gets a moment to shine, including Cosmo (Maria Bakalova), which was an excellent addition after previous cameos. Thankfully, even though it moves quickly, that does not mean the film is without substance. There are some big character moments outside of “what the hell is that? Wait, is that Groot (Vin Diesel)? Oh, it is!”. I’m not 100% convinced they didn’t put Vin Diesel under that costume. Also, when the emotion hits, it hits hard.
Regarding aspects of the film, I did not like. The first has to be the small animation sections. Thankfully these are just a small part of the overall presentation, and I understand why they had them. However, the odd rotoscoping choice didn’t gel as well as I would have liked. Also, there is a joke around police shooting their weapons, which was a choice, but it was a big miss for me. There always seems to be one joke in every Guardians film that falls like a thud, and here is no exception.
In the end, do we recommend The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special? Absolutely. I honestly had a blast from start to finish, and after Werewolf by Night, it looks like the MCU is on a roll with their special presentations.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Directed by – James Gunn
Written by – James Gunn
Based on – Guardians of the Galaxy by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Music by – John Murphy
Cinematography by – Henry Braham
Edited by – Greg D’Auria & Gregg Featherman
Production/Distribution Companies – Marvel Studios, Disney & Disney+
Starring – Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Kevin Bacon, Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Luke Klein, Michael Rooker, Maria Bakalova, Kyra Sedgwick, Rhett Miller, Murry Hammond, Ken Bethea, Philip Peeples, Flula Borg & Tinashe Kajese
Rating – Australia: PG;