THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY HOLIDAY SPECIAL
Starring: Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Chris Pratt, Kevin Bacon, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Sean Gunn, Maria Bakalova, and Michael Rooker
Director: James Gunn
Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Dave Bautista) are the perfect focal point for The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special because their wide-eyed, childlike ridiculousness brings all the heart you need to overlook the light human-trafficking occurring on screen. Only James Gunn could write and direct a plot to kidnap Kevin Bacon (playing himself), and make you feel the Christmas spirit the whole way through. He’s a master at tugging heartstrings in the unlikeliest of situations, and here is no different. This Holiday Special is weird and whimsical, and it will surprise you in more ways than one.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special may overuse a few jokes here and there, but it’s still a rollicking good time, especially for fans of these characters. The story mostly revolves around Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Dave Bautista) attempting to kidnap Kevin Bacon (as himself), but it’s Klementieff who gets the acting spotlight for these 45 minutes. There are some pretty huge revelations that should maybe have been saved for one of the MCU’s feature films, but apart from that, this is a holiday special Disney can be proud of (sprinkled with a few fun cameos).
Just so you know, I’m not a huge Christmas guy. Like, I enjoy the gift-giving aspect of it, but I don’t get into the pomp and circumstance of decorating a tree and the forced Hallmark-ness of it all. It’s just not my thing. That said, the MCU’s first Christmas special is a charmingly goofy delight. Sure, it’s slight, but everything about it comes together really well, especially as they manage to balance the heartwarming aspects with director James Gunn’s typical comedic shenanigans. Also, from a broader MCU perspective, Mantis (Pom Klementieff) finally becomes a fully fleshed-out character, and who doesn’t want more Yondu (Michael Rooker)?
Ho! Ho! Ho! The Guardians of the Galaxy are back with a cheerful holiday special that is the most heartwarming MCU entry thus far. It’s the merriest special that feels like an immediate holiday classic. I truly had a blast, and I believe this gem could put any grinch in the Christmas spirit. There are a ton of delightful and hilarious moments, led by the dynamic duo of Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff), delivering us the perfect holiday gift…Kevin Bacon (as himself)!