Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special Review

NOTE: This article contains spoilers!

Well, there is absolutely no way I could have seen this as my finish line 11 months ago.

If you have been following my 2022 Month-By-Month Movie Log at all, you likely know my New Year’s Resolution was to watch 300 films by year’s end. I’ve been cataloging my journey there, and I have to admit, I was long curious as to what movie #300 would be.

Turns out, it was this: a not-even-fifty-minutes MCU Featurette on DisneyPlus. Does this even count as a “movie”? Who is to say?

(Me. I mean, I am to say. I am the arbiter of my list Also, Letterboxd is to say, and they have this listed as something I can log, so it seems fair to me!)

The 2022 Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special is a live-action mini-flick starring pretty much the entire cast of the popular MCU franchise. It’s a short offering–longer than a typical show episode, but shorter than even a brief movie–and it serves as little more than a bridge to show Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 3. It shows us what the characters are up to, and it gives us a potentially important reveal, as well.

I’m going to be honest! There’s not loads to discuss here. This is more stocking stuffer than big deal gift. It’s a treat; not a meal. The plot is that the Guardians hear from Kraglin about a time in Peter Quill’s youth when Yondu destroyed the spirit of Christmas for the boy. As the team feels bad for their friend, two of them–Drax and Mantis–decide to do something about it: give Peter his much-admired Kevin Bacon as a Christmas present.

So the pair travel to Earth, get involved in some whacky goings-on in Hollywood, find Bacon’s residence, and abduct him (with Mantis’ powers keeping him docile). They unveil their gift to a shocked Star-Lord who demands they return the celebrity from where they got him.

As he gets ready to return home, Kevin hears the story from Kraglin of why he was kidnapped, so the holiday spirit wins out, and he performs a song of his own free will for the inhabitants of Knowhere. After the festivities wrap up, Peter asks why they would do such a thing for him, and Mantis reveals she is his half-sister. Her fears that he would see her only as a reminder of his father killing his mother are unfounded; Peter declares it to be the best Christmas gift he could receive. Warm fuzzies.

And… yeah, that’s essentially it. There isn’t an abundance of meat here. Which isn’t always bad! Sometimes you just need heart-warming filler. But it makes writing an entire article hard, let me tell you!


+This is mostly a vehicle for Pom Klementieff and Dave Bautista to showcase their personalities, and as such, it works. Pom in particular is a force here. We’ve seen a lot of Drax across the first two Guardians films and the Infinity Saga. Mantis was less reveled in, so she was given the showcase here and ran with it. They have a lot of fun chemistry, and for forty-some minutes? They are a joy to follow around and let entertain us. This could have gotten tedious if it went closer to an hour, but James Gunn kept it tight and let these two stars shine.

+Cosmo is officially a Guardian! If you are a fan of the post-Annihilation GotG book, you know that the team featured there had quite a few members more than the cinematic one. And one of the teammates who hadn’t made the cut was Cosmo, the Russian space dog with mental powers. Cosmo seems to be a full-on member of the team here (she’d only had cameos until now), has dialogue, and shows off that she even has her powers from the comics. It’s silly, but it made me happy to see her on board. And voiced by Maria Baklava, apparently!

-The effects are… not great. The MCU has been taking some lashes for its visual effects work in the past year or so, and this will do nothing to resolve that. On the one hand, I get it: this is a nothing movie. It’s a piece of candy we got on our streaming service, and we were never promised anything earth-shattering in its place. So why bother dumping money into it? But aside from that: Cosmo doesn’t always look realistic emoting, and this is BY FAR the worst any form of Groot has ever looked. He’s distractingly bad, both in his effects and his weird, bulky new appearance. The denizens of Knowhere look like people in low-budget practical effects get-ups. So yeah… it looks bad, but I can forgive it for being cheap.

-The characters’ weird disdain for actors is unexplained and unnecessary. Drax and Mantis think Kevin Bacon is an actual hero of Earth, and when he tells them he just plays roles, they are truly sickened by him. And they know what an actor is; once they find out that’s what Bacon is, they just despise him. I don’t know… this was a part of the humor that didn’t land, and I think it was suppose to be a clever meta joke in how these characters–played by actors!–had to say terrible things about actors. James Gunn is capable of better. I laughed a few times throughout, but this running gag didn’t do it.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.


It’s cute. It’s funny. Klementieff and Batista do a stellar job carrying the short story and displaying their talents. It looks terrible, sure, but aside from that, nothing is direly wrong with it. It’s empty calories and a forty-minute time passer. Don’t go in expecting GotG1 or GotG2, and you’ll be fine.

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