The Guardians of The Galaxy Holiday Special: An MCU Christmas Treat


Benedicto Campo, Media Critic

“The Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special” is a Christmas special set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the second Marvel special presentation after “Werewolf by Night”. The special involves The Guardians of The Galaxy participating in holiday shenanigans. It stars Chris Pratt as Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord,) Dave Bautista as Drax, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Michael Rooker as Yondu, Maria Bakalova as Cosmo, The Old 97’s as an alien band, and Kevin Bacon as himself. James Gunn, who has directed the last two “Guardians of The Galaxy” films and also directed the DC projects “The Suicide Squad” and “Peacemaker” directs the film. Both this special and “Guardians of The Galaxy Volume 3” serve as Gunn’s final projects at Marvel before officially leaving to be the head of DC Studios with Peter Safran.

The Guardians of The Galaxy are getting ready to celebrate the holidays on the planet Knowhere. However, Peter Quill is feeling sad because of the loss of Gamora during the events of “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Endgame”. Drax and Mantis notice this and decide to give Peter the best Christmas gift in the world: “Footloose” actor Kevin Bacon. Mantis and Drax travel to Earth to find Kevin Bacon and deliver him to Quill as a Christmas present. However, things don’t go as planned, which leads to a chaotic and hilarious Christmas adventure.

This special was great because of the funny moments, comedic performances, and heartwarming story. Gunn continues his streak of making good “Guardians of The Galaxy” projects by putting the Guardians in a Christmas setting and using it to tell a simple story anyone can enjoy: the whole special simply focuses on the Guardians celebrating Christmas and doesn’t have dark or complex themes. 

I enjoyed the performances of Dave Bautista and Pom Klementieff as Drax and Mantis. Both actors play off each other very well with their hilarious dialogue and jokes which makes them come off as two best friends who are always chaotic around one another. I also enjoyed Kevin Bacon’s cameo in the special, as it was a great callback to the previous “Guardians of The Galaxy” films, where it was mentioned that Peter Quill is a big fan of Kevin Bacon in “Footloose.” His appearance brings this reference full circle perfectly. 

Another thing I loved about the special was the soundtrack, which mostly consisted of old Christmas songs. However, there is one original song made for the special that is performed by Kevin Bacon and The Old 97’s. The song is called “Here It Is Christmastime,” and focuses on the spirit of Christmas. Another highlight was the Christmas vibes and aesthetic. The special had several Christmas visuals like candy canes, lights, presents, and trees that were fun to look at and helped accentuate the Christmas nature of the special.

Although the special was fun for the most part, there is one criticism I had: I wished that the other Guardians had more screen time, as Drax and Mantis are the protagonists and center of nearly the entire special. The other guardians like Star-Lord, Nebula, Rocket, and Groot are only in it for a few scenes. I also wish there was more screen time for Cosmo the Space dog, a new member of the Guardian’s team. Hopefully, this is something that will change for “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3”.

Overall, this is a fun Christmas treat for MCU fans from Gunn, who takes everything fans know and love about the “Guardians of The Galaxy” films and places them in a fun, simple Christmas adventure. The Christmas theme helps with the story because we see the Guardians spending bonding time instead of saving the world from evil threats. I believe this was a smart move because the Guardians need to have fun before their last adventure in “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3.”

The performances, especially by Bautista and Klementieff, carry the special with their comedic banter and hilarious dialogue. The soundtrack is great because they are old songs set against the backdrop of Christmas, but the original song with The Old 97’s and Kevin Bacon put the icing on top of the cake in terms of the soundtrack. Although the special didn’t give the other Guardians enough screen time, it is made up for because they are still involved in the special and will hopefully get more screen time in the third movie. This is a fun superhero Christmas special that anyone can enjoy during the holiday season.