The Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas Special2022.
James Gunn directs.
Starring Chris Pratt, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, Kevin Bacon, Michael Rooker and Vin Diesel.
Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), misses Christmas while he’s in space, so teammates Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) try to cheer him up with the ultimate gift: Peter’s beloved 80’s years movie star Kevin Speck.
One of two parting gifts before James Gunn heads to DC to try to infuse her grim issue with the same kind of magic that made Peter Quill and company the beating heart of the MCU. The Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas Special acts as a precursor for the next summer Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Does that make this festive madness an unmissable sight? Well, aside from a heartwarming exchange between two key characters that wraps the little story into a neat little Christmas arc, or the fact that Groot is in the hench phase of its life cycle, this is more disposable than anything the MCU has offered up to now.
If you were hoping for more from GOTG follow her one line reading cameos from Thor: Love and Thunder then you will be disappointed. Essentially a two-handed adventure for Dave Bautista’s Drax and Pom Klementieff’s Mantis, who travel to Earth to kidnap Kevin Bacon as a Christmas present for Chris Pratt’s Gamora-mourning Star-Lord, the entire endeavor feels like a big-budget SNL skit , or the episode where friends went to London, which means the comedy is scattered, but when it lands you’ll be laughing just like Drax at the destruction of a Christmas tree.
If you ever try to do something like this and it works, then Gunn’s Guardians really are the perfect characters to tell a heartfelt Christmas story. Volumes 1 and 2 of their MCU entries are peppered with some of the series’ most touching moments. Think of Quill’s mother Guardians of the Galaxy, or Yondu’s funeral and Rocket’s tears of succession. Over the course of two films, aside from the gags and the glare, it was the relationships between the crew of The Milano that left a more indelible mark than most of the other 28 contributions.
That means we immediately have our George Bailey in Pratt’s downtrodden hero, our Ebenezer Scrooge in Karen Gillan’s gloriously straight-forward Nebula – “We don’t have time for trivia like Christmas” – and our Steve Martin and John Candy in the form of the intergalactic road-trip duo Drax and Mantis.
Since the latter pairing is the prize in this MCU holiday cracker, they get the most laughs. Their arrival outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater is particularly pleasant as they run into some familiar copyright violating faces, leading to Drax hilariously beating up a GoBot. Then, after a drunken night, they kidnap Keven Bacon, and while it feels a bit like an extension of the actors’ long-standing cell phone endorsement, he sends himself up with such enthusiasm that it immediately fits the tone of his new intergalactic friends . His exchanges with Bautista’s ever-sociable Drax get the biggest laughs, with one Flashdance Conversation that led him to ask Bacon, “What was it like when you had to save a small town by dancing like an idiot?”
The Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas Special is a marked improvement over the last high-profile space-based seasonal spin-off we’ve been exposed to, and while it feels like one of those gifts you got as a kid that sparkles all shiny and new before ending up in heaps of forgotten toys is thrown, your love for these characters and the world Gunn created can’t help but leave you feeling celebratory for forty minutes.
Flickering Myth Rating – Movie: ★★★ / Movie: ★★★
Matt Rodgers- Follow me on Twitter