In the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, director James Gunn introduces a new potential classic Christmas song, (potential spoiler) kidnaps Kevin Bacon, and largely delivers on the tone and humor that has made the Marvel franchise so popular.
Shot on set while filming the third Guardians movie, which releases next year, this 40-minute intergalactic ode to Christmas is a fun, harmless little piece of entertainment that of course is completely unnecessary but still worthwhile if you enjoy Marvel, and if you’re reading this review you most certainly do.
There’s not a lot to the plot: half-human Starlord (Chris Pratt), reminiscing on his childhood holiday celebration, inspires Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) to sneak away to earth and capture Kevin Bacon, star of Starlord’s favorite movie Footloose, as a Christmas present.
The holiday special may not be laugh-out-loud funny, but it adheres to the same irreverent humor that the franchise and Gunn are known for. The opening Christmas song is a blast, delivered as an interpretation of Christmas and Santa through hearsay on an alien planet–in short, they get a few things wrong. Bautista, Klementieff, and Bacon, who get the majority of the screen time, appear to have had fun filming–they stay true to character while also acknowledging they are in a dumb Christmas special. Also, is that Vin Diesel actually dressed up as Groot?
There’s nothing revolutionary here, but Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special will appeal to fans and get you in the festive mood, even if it takes kidnapping Kevin Bacon to do so.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.