- Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Sean Gunn, and Kevin Bacon
- James Gunn
- Release date
- November 25, 2022
- Where to watch
Of course, hijinks ensue because neither Mantis, nor Drax, know much of anything about Christmas, or how to reasonably interact with other sentient beings. This is where the show could have easily become a genuinely heartwarming story about the meaning of Christmas but, instead, it turns into a fish-out-of-water cliche that relies on cheap and obvious jokes and slapstick to get easy laughs. Don’t get me wrong, it still works, mostly due to the reliably charming and charismatic performances of Mantis and Drax. Their on-screen chemistry can’t be denied, and it carries the special. However, it had the talent involved and the budget to be much more.
The show has no grand internal revelations, and Linus definitely never shows up to tell everyone the real meaning of Christmas. It’s a surface-level show that lovers of the Guardians franchise will enjoy, and small children should avoid.
The program is titled The Guardians of The Galaxy Holiday Special, but it is completely and singularly about Christmas, not the holiday season, not Kwanza, just plain old vanilla Christmas. The program is literally a metaphorical Christmas orgy. In the beginning, the Marvel logo is strung with Christmas lights while the animated prologue and epilogue center around Christmas time, a Christmas tree, and Christmas presents. A song about Santa clause takes up several minutes of the first act, and a Christmas decorations store is raided in order to decorate the Guardian’s home, Nowhere, so that they can make it look like a traditional North American Christmas for Peter. There is no subtlety or ambiguity that the show is about any other holiday, and the word “Christmas” must be said a hundred times throughout. So, just call it a Christmas special.
There’s a moment when Drax and Mantis see a manger scene and look at it, and one another, with confusion and skepticism.
Finally, I would argue that it is decidedly woke to actively court a young demographic and then insert completely unnecessary adult elements into your program (stripper-esque drag shows for children anyone?). There are two moments that make this show inappropriate for young children, and both could have easily been substituted or left out completely. The first is that, while on Earth, Mantis and Drax find themselves in a bar where they do shots, get fall down drunk, and Disney’s obligatory gay character hits on Drax. The second is a line containing the word “shit” delivered by Nebula for comedic effect. It’s perfectly delivered, totally lands, and is funny but it could have easily been omitted without diminishing the show an iota.
James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.