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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: HOLIDAY SPECIAL (2022) 

l  Disney  |  November 25, 2022

Starring:  Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker, Zoe Saldaña 

Director: James Gunn

In the “The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special,” the Guardians, who are on a mission to make Christmas unforgettable for Quill, head to Earth in search of the perfect present.

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REVIEW BY: Darren Zakus

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special captures the infectious fun of the Guardians of the Galaxy with a heart warming and joyful yuletide adventure that is certain to warm the hearts of Marvel fans this holiday season. 

 

Just one year after Hawkeye debuted on Disney+, Marvel has delivered yet another holiday project, giving comic book fans another holiday project to add to their yearly watch list. Set between the events of Thor: Love and Thunder and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is set to open next year in May, the holiday special finds the Guardians on Knowhere. Peter is feeling down, missing the holiday season on Earth, which prompts Mantis and Drax to fly to Earth to bring the holiday season to Knowhere to cheer Peterl up. What ensues is a lot of holiday shenanigans as Mantis and Drax attempt to find the perfect gift for Peter, making this short holiday special an absolute delight from start to finish. 

 

The Guardians of the Galaxy have their signature, offbeat comedy that fans have fallen in love with over their five previous appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and James Gunn once again conjures up that comedic gold in this holiday special. Dave Bautista and Pom Klementieff continue to be one of the best comedic pairings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with their effortless banter that creates some truly hilarious moments during their characters’ misadventures. It’s a perfect misadventure for these two secondary characters that allow Bautista and Klementieff to have the leading role that they deserve, after playing supporting roles up to this point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe behind Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana. Joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Kevin Bacon as himself, who unknowingly becomes Drax and Mantis’s desired Christmas present for Peter. Bacon finds the perfect comedic footing to match Gunn’s comedy style and is a welcomed addition to the holiday special. 


Though, like the films, Gunn’s secret weapon is the heart at the centre of the story and the holiday spirit which is enough to make anyone’s heart grow three sizes. Closing out the special is a wonderful sequence which captures the themes of family that have been prevalent in the Guardians of the Galaxy films, with a holiday twist that is certain to make this special a staple for many fans every holiday season.

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The Guardians of the Galaxy films are best known for their soundtracks, and once again Gunn has curated another great soundtrack, this time featuring holiday hits from the rock genre. For the most part, the songs are not front and centre like they were in the films, but they add to the infectious holiday atmosphere of this special. The standout music moments are the opening and closing of the holiday special, which feature musical performances from the Old 97’s. They open the special with an original song written by Gunn, which is a comical misinterpretation of Earth’s Christmas traditions that is guaranteed to have audiences laughing, while their performance of their own song “Here It Is Christmastime” with Kevin Bacon brings all the warmth, joys and feelings that you could want from a Christmas special. 

 

While the holiday special is very much an isolated adventure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are some major elements introduced that will help set up the final Guardians of the Galaxy film. We get a sense of what the Guardians have been up to after parting ways with Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder, meet the newest addition to the team: Cosmo the Space Dog voiced by Maria Bakalova, as well as a few important developments that are guaranteed to play an important part in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. It’s a small part of the holiday special, as Gunn and his team keep the focus on the holiday spirit, but it helps set the stage for Phase 5 which is set to begin next year with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantummania. 

 

From start to finish, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is bursting with holiday spirit and cheer, once again showcasing James Gunn’s great ability to infuse a story with comedy and heart, that combined with the wonderful comedic pairing of Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff and Kevin Bacon, results in a new holiday classic that is certain to be enjoyed for years to come!

RATING: 4.5 out of 5