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Welcome, World Travelers! The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is Pure Holiday Fun!

Welcome, World Travelers! The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is Pure Holiday Fun!

by James Coulter

Sigh, yes! I know, I know! I said I was going to get around to reviewing Disenchanted. But the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special premiered Thanksgiving weekend and I’mgoing on vacation this week. So given the choice between watching two full-length movies to review one movie properly or watching a less-than-an-hour-long holiday special based on my favorite Marvel franchise, that choice is a given! (I promise my next review will be Disenchanted!)

Did I mention that Guardians is my favorite Marvel franchise? Because it is! The only thing better than the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie is its sequel Vol. II. And you bet Cosmic Rewind has become my favorite attraction in Disney World, if not Epcot Center. (I even wrote a review on that ride!)

So, when I heard there was going to be a Guardians holiday special, you know I was looking forward to it. That special made its premiere this Thanksgiving weekend on Disney Plus. Now the question remains: is The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special the best, or is it the best?

As anyone who’s seen the Guardians movies know, Peter Quill was kidnapped by space pirates called Ravagers when he was a child. When he was initially captured, young Peter wanted to celebrate his earth holiday of Christmas, but the Ravager leader,Yondu, being opposed to any “sentiment”, did not approve. Since then, Peter has never celebrated the holiday.

Cut to present day, and, upon hearing that story, the Guardians want to cheer up Peter by giving him the best Christmas ever. They decide to do so by giving him the best present ever. And what do they consider getting him? His favorite Earth hero, the legendary Kevin Bacon. Will the Guardians succeed in their mission in finding Bacon for Peter’s Christmas gift?

This special is rather short and to the point. So, the review of it will be equally short and to the point. Essentially, the Guardians of the Galaxy go to Earth to find Kevin Bacon. Wacky hijinksensue!

What makes Marvel movies work so well is how character-driven they are. These are not films with characters in them. Rather, they are about characters who appear in movies. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is all about the characters—all of whom are so well-rounded, energetic, and animated that they work well in any scenario, even outside of their standard action-adventure superhero storylines.

This is the reason why the Avengers work equally-well fighting in action scenes as they do hanging out in a café eating shawarma at the end of The Avengers or chilling out in a cabin in the middle of the wilderness during Age of Ultron. These characters are so relatable that they work well simply bouncing off each other in casual settings. So, having Marvel superheroes starring in a Christmas special where they do nothing else other than try to make it through the holidays makes for great entertainment even without them engaging in high-octane action scenes.

The Guardians of the Galaxy work well for such a casual storyline, as these characters and their movies already had a healthy level of comedy to them. Because, well, they’re the Guardians of the Galaxy! Two of their main characters are a snarky gun-toting racoon and a talking tree that can only say its name. It would be weirder if these characters only took themselves seriously. So, of course a Christmas comedy special was right up their alley.

Again, there’s not much to this movie. The Guardians want to cheer up their leader, so they go to Earth to get him Kevin Bacon as his Christmas present. Again, wacky hijinks ensue. And of all the characters to go on this mission, Drax and Mantis are the most apropos. One is an alien whose species is biologically and culturally incapable of grasping metaphorical language, and the other is a telepathic bug person whose isolatedupbringing makes her socially naïve and awkward. So, of course, seeing these aliens without any grasp of Earth culture bumble their way through Hollywood in search of an actor they assume to be a legendary hero is pure comedic gold.

What makes their wacky antics even wackier is that, despite their sheer ineptitude, they are both insanely super-powered compared to the average earthling—excuse me, Terran! Believe me when I say that seeing these two plow through cops by Drax deflecting bullets with his bulletproof skin and Mantis subduing people by controlling their minds and placing them in trances legit made me feel intimidated by these two. No spoilers, but I legitimately felt worried and concerned for Bacon, who, despite being pursued and kidnapped by two space aliens, acted cool as a cucumber throughout the special.

I won’t go into too much detail with this review, as the special is rather short and saying any more about how it plays out would be giving too much away. Let’s just say that this special has as much heart as it does laughs—and let’s say the heart-warming moments truly are! Oh, and, of course, it has some real sweet tunes. What Guardians film would be complete without them?The opening song not only works as a real catchy earworm, but also a comedic riot as it’s written by an alien with a gross misunderstanding of Christmas and Earth culture.

In short, while The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special isn’t going to make the pantheon of great holiday classic specials like Rudolph or Grinch or Charlie Brown, it certainly is a special treat in and of itself and certainly worth the watch, especially if you’re a Marvel fan—and especially if you’re a Guardians fan! It’s not a Christmas feast, but it is a sweet piece of peppermint—short yet sweet and savory in its own small way!

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