The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022) is full of festive cheer… and Kevin Bacon

It’s nearly Christmas and you know what that means – it’s Holiday Special season. The latest troupe to get their own holiday special are the Guardians of the Galaxy. Join the crew as they engage in some spirited shenanigans to make this Christmas a particularly special one.

Written and directed by James Gunn, the latest Guardians of the Galaxy adventure does exactly what a holiday special should. It’s got a very lighthearted, upbeat tone and captures the joys of Christmas in a neatly-wrapped story. Sitting at roughly 40 minutes, it packs a decent number of big laughs and fun character hijinks from the whole crew, but especially Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff), who act as the two leads on this journey. If it were a mainline movie, the pairing of Drax and Mantis would be a bit too silly and comedic to carry an engaging story. However when it comes to this holiday special, they’re the perfect choice to lead. It’s very easy to embrace their dumb comedy and cheesy dialogue, resulting in some big laughs spread generously throughout the special.

I love that James Gunn hasn’t just taken the characters from Guardians and dropped them into a story that doesn’t fit within the MCU. This narrative feels rooted in Guardians canon, very clearly set post-Thor: Love and Thunder and pre-Guardians of the Galaxy 3. The world feels joyfully familiar, with a collection of side-characters popping in here and there to join in on the fun. As well as being a fun outing, it’s also like a bit of a primer for the Guardians’ next adventure – we get to see what the likes of Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) are up to, for instance. Basically what I’m saying is that it’s clear lots of care and attention went into this, resulting in something that’s more than just a Christmas cash grab.

This premise hinges around a memorable Guardians of the Galaxy running joke – the man, the myth, the legend, Kevin Bacon. Honestly, there’s not another narrative idea out there more fitting than what James Gunn cooked up in here. The inclusion of Kevin is such a delight, and he’s an absolute blast to watch. This is the kind of project I could’ve seen Kevin just phone in a so-so performance, but he commits 110% to every joke and radiates this infectious positivity.

In the end, there’s not a tonne to say about this holiday special besides the fact that it’s a very entertaining watch. It’s jam-packed with Christmas cheer and spreads positive vibes all around. It’s a nice little standalone story with a charming message, and is led by a great comedic duo in Drax and Mantis. Whether you’re an MCU die-hard or just looking for some fun laughs this festive season, this will do the trick.

8.6/10

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