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The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Review: Perfect Marvel Treat

By MAYUR SANAP
November 28, 2022 16:24 IST
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The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is a goofy buddy comedy, cheers Mayur Sanap.

If like me, you have been wondering what Marvel has been working on lately, well, this may just be the brief respite.

Instead of stretching forth stories over many episodes, why not repeat the Werewolf by Night formula and create a show lasting just well under an hour and leave the viewer wanting for more?

The latest Marvel production -- The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, arriving a month before Christmas -- takes this refreshing route amidst its never-ending content galore.

 

Building upon its continued association with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Writer-Director James Gunn brings back the beloved Guardians characters on screen in Marvel's first Christmas special.

This 'special presentation' goes for something fresh with Gunn's signature style and packs Christmas cheer, sentiment, peppy musical numbers, and laugh-out-loud moments in a brisk 42-minutes runtime.

The story picks up when Kraglin (Sean Gunn) tells his fellow Guardians about how Yondu (Michael Rooker, in an animated avatar) ruined Christmas for Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) when he was a kid.

Upon hearing the story, Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Dave Bautista) try to give Peter a memorable Christmas, despite the fact that they don't fully grasp anything about the holiday in the first place. This involves a ridiculous trip to Earth to find Peter's human hero: Kevin Bacon (playing himself).

In sync with its goofy entertainment template, the holiday special plays out like a buddy comedy with Drax and Mantis taking centerstage, while serving as a heartwarming reminder of how much we enjoy this wacky group of characters.

At the same time, with Gunn at the helm, it fits well within the Guardians of the Galaxy mini-franchise of the MCU.

Though the premise is rather silly, Gunn infuses the story with heartfelt themes of friendship, family, and acceptance to great effect. And being a Guardians film, it also has a great soundtrack with a handful of well-placed songs.

But the special really is Mantis' show all the way, and Pom Klementieff delivers an endearing performance. The film explores her character way more thoroughly than all her previous appearances put together.

Her camaraderie with Bautista's Drax sets the narrative with delicious verbal and visual comedy.

While Klementieff brings the heart and clumsy charm to the proceedings, Bautista is the stoic one with some solid dry wit to balance it out. Their chemistry is a treat to watch.

In a minor role, Chris Pratt absolutely chews the scenery with just enough usual swagger, and veteran Kevin Bacon fits in well, fully embracing the madcap energy of the franchise.

The other Guardians have very little to do, but it is fun to see Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) in brief appearances. We even get our first real affix to Cosmo the Russian space dog, voiced by Maria Bakalova.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is a shot of festive cheer that fans can relish, while also being a Marvel property that serves as a roadmap for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3.

If that's all they wanted to deliver from this, they succeeded with flying colours.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special streams on Disney+ Hotstar.

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MAYUR SANAP