THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY HOLIDAY SPECIAL (DISNEY+) (2022)
SYNOPSIS: This holiday season is going to be out of this world.
It’s ironic consider that a short 40 minutes Marvel feature can generates so much warmth, laughter and satisfaction than the two hours long Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder.
James Gunn who is recently named as one of the heads for DC Studios wrote and direct this holiday special that saw the return of the motley crew from Guardians of the Galaxy (GOTG). Set between the events of Thor: Love and Thunder and the upcoming GOTG3, the brief feature dwells on how Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Dave Bautisa) kidnaps Kevin Bacon from Earth in order to cheer up Star Lord (Chris Pratt) who is still mourning the death of Gamora during the holiday season.
Gunn shows he is still the man to be put in charge of the franchise he started way back in 2014. He knows his characters development, he knows his jokes (Taika Waitit kind of loses his mojo in his second Thor outing) and he knows how to create a Christmas movie. Put all three factors together and you get a perfect The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.
Finally, Gunn gets to address the long-running Kevin Bacon gag by getting the real Kevin Bacon onboard. Never mind Bacon actually appeared as a mutant in a non-MCU related X-Men: First Class years ago. What better way than getting the mind-controlling Mantis and fumbling Drax to kidnap Bacon in a hilarious home invasion sequence.
Gunn manages to shine the spotlight on Mantis and Drax this time for a change which generates lots of laugh-out-loud moments between the two. Their chemistry is undeniable dynamic but look deeper, there’s a heart-warming message behind Mantis’ purpose in cheering up Star Lord. The revelation however comes as a genuine surprise rather than a lame twist.
Because Gunn is so creative, generous and consistent with his outputs, he even throws in an touching animated prologue and epilogue featuring Yondu (Michael Rooker) and a young Star Lord as they discover the true meaning of Christmas. The special also indirectly introduces a new character, Cosmo the Spacedog which is voiced by Maria Bakalova from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.
With Gunn decamping to DC after his GOTG3 outing, his unique brand of writing and directing will be sorely missed by long-time Marvel fans. For now, let’s just rejoice and indulged in this heartening mad-cap special.
Review by Linus Tee