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Disney+ Review: The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

November 23, 2022

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Following in the footsteps of the Halloween special Werewolf by Night, Marvel Studios now switches their focus to Christmas with The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.

Written and directed by James Gunn, the special is designed as a loving homage to the infamous Star Wars Christmas Special, and it’s quite simply one of the most purely delightful things that Marvel has ever done.

The special features the return of the Guardians of the Galaxy gang. After learning about Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) having his Christmas ruined as a child after he left Earth, Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Dave Bautista) decide to give him the holiday he deserves up in space. The only problem is that their plan involves going to Earth to kidnap legendary “hero” Kevin Bacon, to bring him back as a present for the lonely Peter.

Right from the opening strains of The Pogues’ “Fairy Tale of New York” that play over the Marvel Studios logo at the beginning, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special had me smiling. Like Gunn’s two Guardians of the Galaxy films, the special manages to strike that balance between being a little goofy and very funny (Drax and Mantis are a delightful duo) but with a lot of heart. While this could have easily been overly crass or even mean-spirited, there’s an inherent sweetness to the special that feels sincere.

Hovering just over forty minutes, including end credits and stinger, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special gets by on being short and sweet. The entire cast has fun with it, including Bacon, who gamely plays a version of himself. The whole thing is set to an excellent soundtrack of counter-cultural Christmas songs (you would expect nothing less from the series that gave us not one but two Awesome Mixes). It all adds up to an incredibly enjoyable Christmas special that nicely compliments the two Guardians films, while really embracing the feel-good festive spirit.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special will be available to stream exclusively on Disney+ as of November 25th.

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