Classic holiday special vibes are perfectly captured
Fun shift to Drax and Mantis
Kevin Bacon is awesome
Script feels kinda clunky
No as intriguing as the Werewolf by Night special
Of the very many heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), none quite match the greatness of the one man who saved an entire people with just his dance moves. I am, of course, speaking of the great Kevin Bacon, he of the loose foot.
With Guardians of the Galaxy 2 having been rather lacklustre, and the events of Avengers: Infinity War still being partially blamed on Star-Lord, it was beginning to feel like there was no real place for the Guardians in this universe. Thankfully, the Holiday Special rectifies this, reminding MCU fans of the special place the Guardians hold in a reality already overrun with super-powered hero types.
The key element here, it seems, is the shift away from Peter Quill and allowing Mantis and Drax to anchor the events of the tale. And Kevin Bacon.
While the story is kept simple, and the script intentionally clunky, the episode captures perfectly the tone of the holiday specials of yesteryears, and conveys a tale far less painful than Star Wars’ attempt. James Gunn’s strength with soundtrack makes a comeback with The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, returning the crew to their roots.
The authentic holiday special vibes are especially pronounced thanks to the animated bookends of the short, featuring a different time in Peter’s life, as well as making room for missed characters.
It’s not entirely clear where in the general MCU timeline the Holiday Special occurs, but it is mostly standalone with any general familiarity of the two Guardians of the Galaxy films as well as Avengers: Infinity War being sufficient to understand and enjoy the ongoing shenanigans.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special debuts on Disney+ on 24th November, ushering in the festive season with a full month to spare, and thankfully without Mariah Carey’s involvement.