It’s been a long eight years since “Guardians of the Galaxy” took the world by storm. Seriously, who could have possibly predicted that a movie featuring a green lady, a tree, a raccoon, the guy from “Jurassic World” and Dave Bautista could do nothing but listen to 1980s music and still become a cultural phenomenon? I definitely didn’t. But it became a hit, and everybody liked it. The world was at peace.
Unfortunately, since that first movie, the series has started to go downhill ever since. The sequel, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” though still quite good, was nowhere near as strong as the original. The characters were strong in “Avengers: Infinity War,” though they did get split up several times. Most of them were barely in “Avengers: Endgame.” And now, “The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special” has been unleashed onto the world through Disney+.
Is it good? That depends. Looking at it on its own, it’s perfectly fine, but when comparing it to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe productions put out this year, it looks like the Mona Lisa.
The short 45-minute movie starts off with a cute animated sequence of Yondu (Michael Rooker) ruining Christmas for a young Star Lord (Chris Pratt). We then cut to live action for almost the entire rest of the segment. We see everybody decorating for Christmas, and we get a fun little musical number that features aliens singing about the holiday despite not knowing much about it:
“Santa is a furry freak with epic superpowers / He flies to every human home in under 14 hours / He’s a master burglar / A pro at picking locks / I don’t know what Christmas is, but Christmastime is here,” the aliens sing.
What follows is one joke stretched out for over half an hour—the name of that joke is Kevin Bacon. I’m not kidding. The film’s plot revolves around Drax (Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) trying to kidnap Kevin Bacon, who plays himself, as a callback to a moment from one of the earlier “Guardians” starring films. It’s kind of funny; it definitely made me exhale out of my nose, at the very least, but that does not mean it’s worth stretching out for an entire short.
The only joke this movie really has for the vast majority of its runtime is, “Haha look, it’s Kevin Bacon! AS Kevin Bacon! Aren’t we funny? Aren’t we witty?” It’s pretty amusing for a bit, but by the end, the novelty has completely worn off.
The worst part is most of the other Guardians are barely in this. Rocket (Bradley Cooper) has only one scene I remember, Groot (Vin Diesel) was only in the background, and I don’t even remember Nebula (Karen Gillan) being in it. They’re all part of the team, as far as I know, but you absolutely wouldn’t know it based on this special.
I’m sure it seems like this was some unholy, unwatchable disaster. It’s not. It’s just that there really could have been a lot more done with it than just one joke repeated ad nauseam for the entire runtime. This is a perfectly serviceable addition to the “Guardians” series, but it is not something that warrants more than one watch. It just has nothing unique. Hopefully, the third full-length installment, the trailer for which dropped while I was writing this review, will be better.
In brief, this is a perfectly inconsequential short. It’s good for one watch. Families will eat it up.