A decent offering from Marvel, and another of their “Special Presentations”, the first being October’s Werewolf by Night. This is the conclusion to Phase 4, but feels more like an add-on than anything else. There’s nothing MCU-shattering here, but it’s an enjoyable enough romp.
After they find out how Yondu ruined Christmas, Mantis decides to take matters in her own hands, and Drax’s, and convinces him to get the perfect Christmas present for Quill – his childhood hero, Kevin Bacon. It’s a fun premise, and we get some enjoyable moments in this, along with a proper introduction of Cosmo. Parts of this feel like they’re setting up for Volume 3, so if you’re planning on watching that, this one might be worth checking out.
Quill’s role is reduced in this – not a bad thing, as it means we can focus on some of the more interesting characters in the Guardians’ universe. Mantis and Drax are usually an entertainable duo, and we see them bouncing off each other well here as they try and track down Kevin Bacon. The joke, however, does kind of run its course, as we constantly get Drax misunderstanding everything Mantis asks. Still, there’s a few funny moments.
The problem is, Guardians works best because of the cast – including Rocket, Groot, and Gamora. Nebula, Rocket and Groot are really underused in this, with the majority of the time spent with Mantis and Drax, and we get glimpses of Cosmo but only a small amount. The ending is really sweet, but it feels like Mantis and Drax are the kind of comic relief you want to spend time with in short bursts, their arguments growing a little stale before we even get to Bacon.
There are parts of this I did really like, and a few delightful moments, especially with the characters misunderstanding different elements of Quill’s ‘home’ culture, including Christmas. The soundtrack started off really well, but unfortunately the songs felt so close together they became distracting. “I Don’t Know What Christmas Is (But Christmastime Is Here)” by Old 97’s is a great one though, as is “Here It Is Christmastime” – two songs composed for the feature.
The Holiday Special doesn’t set out to do anything hugely major, and is more focused on giving viewers a fun time with the characters, and more of a glimpse at non-human cultures. It’s funny and sweet, despite some of the drawbacks, and perfectly for a Christmas-themed offering, the end does leave you feeling that cheesy, Christmassy warmth.