Now, to be fair, it’s at least a cheerful In addition to the MCU. The special clocks in under an hour and is basically a feel-good Christmas story with some sci-fi shenanigans thrown in. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt, doing his best in Super Mario) is understandably sad after losing Gamora (Zoe Saldaña), so his friends Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) decide to cheer him up with a little Christmas cheer. Problem is, they have little idea what on earth Christmas entails, so they think a good gift would be to kidnap Quill’s hero, Kevin Bacon, so the two can hang out.
What follows is the best description of Christmas as Drax and Mantis fumble their way through the kidnapping, at various points getting drunk, breaking in and out, taking selfies with tourists, and pining for inflatable holiday decorations. At some point, someone mistakes Drax for Kratos. Bautista and Klementieff have a charmingly bizarre chemistry, both clueless to human ways but largely doing the best they can. Bacon also seems to be having a blast playing a very confused version of himself. It all ends with the kind of intimate-yet silly finale you’d expect, and there’s, of course, plenty of good music.
But there is more to it than that. while Werewolf by night It was refreshing in large part because it stands on its own, the Guardians A special holiday goes in a different direction. It is stuffed with references not only to the previous two GotG movies but also other parts of the MCU. Some are gags, while others – like the history with Gamora – are integral to understanding exactly what’s going on. There’s even a reveal at the end that looks like it’s going to be a big deal in the future Guardians Stories.
So instead of a cute little Christmas adventure, the special feels like a holiday-themed prequel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (which will hit theaters next May). Perhaps this is expected. It’s the Marvel way, after all. But the studio has recently proven that these shorter pilot projects can be a blast when you don’t have to worry about all of the MCU’s many narrative threads. (The same applies to star Wars.) But the GotG Private cannot resist the temptation of canon and ends up being less private because of it.
Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Streaming on Disney Plus begins November 25th.
“Infuriatingly humble web fan. Writer. Alcohol geek. Passionate explorer. Evil problem solver. Incurable zombie expert.”