The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special finds Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Dave Bautista) working to make sure Peter has a good Christmas. Their specific mission begins after hearing a story about how Yondu (Michael Rooker) ruined Peter’s Christmas and forbid him to celebrate it as a child. Peter (Chris Pratt) is down and missing Gamora, so Mantis and Drax cook up the perfect Christmas present- Kevin Bacon. In a series of funny incidents, the duo successfully kidnaps Kevin Bacon and presents him to Peter only to find out that Kevin Bacon really likes Christmas and singing, but doesn’t take too kindly to being kidnapped.
Coupled with a fun soundtrack The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is a fun short but doesn’t quite move any of Phase 4 Marvel Cinematic Universe stories forward. For fans of Guardians, this isn’t a bad thing and it feels like this special is a chance to check in on some old friends.
Phase 4 has also given us Werewolf by Night so it feels like Disney is experimenting with these specials on Disney Plus rather than releasing them as attachments to MCU movies in the theaters. So far, this special, I AM GROOT, and Werewolf by Night have been excellent additions to the MCU and this Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special fits right in. These specials balance humor and action really well which is what makes them successful on Disney’s streaming service.
In the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, we get cameos from a teenage Groot, an annoyed Nebula, and Rocket and at 40ish minutes, this particular special is a nice break from the fight scenes and chaos of the movies. With the focus on Mantis and Drax (hands down one of the funniest friendships in the MCU) viewers get lots of hilarious moments. Drax howls with laughter at the most inappropriate times and Mantis is nervous about sharing a secret with Peter. Surprisingly, even Kevin Bacon works well as himself, who is clearly enjoying being in this short film.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special has a few musical numbers and a few heartfelt moments but it doesn’t feel overly sentimental. Because it doesn’t give any more hints about the future direction of the MCU, this special should resonate more with Guardians fans who enjoy the characters rather than the specific Phase 4 plotlines.