The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (Disney+)

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

This charming and daft special excels because it isn't typical Marvel.

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I'm one of what seems to be a large list of individuals who are feeling a bit of fatigue when it comes to the original productions that Disney has been serving up as of late. Between Marvel, Star Wars, and the sequels or remakes of older standalone films, I've been finding it increasingly challenging to enjoy the fresh content from the production powerhouse. But fortunately as of late, at least on the Marvel and Star Wars front, Disney has been taking some creative liberties and this has led to the unique She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Werewolf at Night, and the brilliant Andor, three projects that shine because they don't really feel like typical Marvel or Star Wars offerings.

Talking about Marvel, now that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in the books and all eyes are on Phase 5 when it kicks off in 2023, James Gunn is back with his penultimate outing leading the Guardians of the Galaxy, in the special production, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.


It should be said right off the bat that this isn't your typical Marvel project. There's no battle between good and evil, there's no antagonist, there's barely even a fight scene. If anything, this is just a charming and harmless way to sprinkle in some extra character development for a bunch of figures that have already been well fleshed out ever since they debuted almost a decade ago.

The story sees the Guardians looking for a way to cheer up Chris Pratt's Peter Quill, who is down in the dumps following the disappearance of Gamora (after the events of Avengers: Endgame). The crew, which is mostly led by Pom Klementieff's Mantis this time around, decide that throwing a Christmas party is a prime way to do such a thing, but need the ultimate closer, a gift unlike any other. This leads Mantis and Dave Bautista's Drax to head to Earth in an effort to convince Peter's hero Kevin Bacon to join them for the party, with this ultimately turning into a hilarious and daft kidnapping.

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Now granted, this isn't exactly a typical situation for a Christmas movie, and that is true, but the charm that is exuded throughout this tale offsets that completely. Because this special is absolutely overflowing with the humour and character that makes the Guardians such a fun troupe of individuals to follow. And the fact that this doesn't at all feel like a run-of-the-mill, predictable Marvel effort works wonders as well. It doesn't overstay its welcome, it's merry, it's funny, and it's another prime example that Marvel needs to try some new things if it wants to keep its fans engaged with such a crammed release schedule.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (Disney+)

I do hope that these 'holiday' efforts don't become the norm however, as they work best when they are unexpected and uncommon, but this is definitely one of the more interesting and unique Marvel outings throughout a year that has felt a little too repetitive if anything. Hopefully Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will give us something equally fun and unique when it debuts in May 2023.

07 Gamereactor UK
7 / 10
overall score
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