Certainly a holiday special.

I briefly considered whether I wanted to write up something about the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, and then figured it’s not like I have a backlog of reviews to publish. Certainly a lot of things I should probably be prioritizing watching, but that’s a story for another day.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is a 45 minute almost made-for-TV…uh, special. Directed and written by James Gunn of course, the special brings back most of the characters you love from Guardians of the Galaxy and sets them on a bit of a side story. The Guardians have purchased Nowhere from the Collector and are set on rebuilding it back to its former glory. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is feeling down in the dumps, and so Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Dave Bautista) decide to cheer him up in the only way they know. Something stupid. Their idea is to go to Earth and kidnap Kevin Bacon.

As always the special introduces some new faces that will no doubt be in the MCU going forward. Foremost is fan favorite Cosmo the space dog. I had a feeling Cosmo’s voice sounded oddly familiar, and a quick Google search shows that Cosmo is voiced by none other than Maria Bakalova who played Borat’s daughter in the latest Borat movie. I still need to see her in 2022’s The Bubble and Bodies Bodies Bodies. Damn I am behind on movies this year. Cosmo has technically been in previous MCU movies, but this is the first time I believe the character has actually had a voice and real involvement in the plot instead of being an “I clapped because I understood the reference” prop. Cosmo should have more presence in Guardians 3.

It was nice to see Mantis and Drax take on more of a central role in a Guardians thing, since the two are generally relegated to one-liners. I genuinely forgot that Yandu died in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which shows just how much the MCU has remained in my brain these last few years. There’s also a cameo by Mark Hamill who looks just unlike himself enough to make you ask “was that Mark Hamill?” He’s like the Tony Hawk cameo in Jackass 4.

Overall there’s not much I can say about this special. It is uncharacteristically nice for the MCU to have something that doesn’t feel like it solely exists to showcase the next movie. I’m sure YouTubers are creaming their pants right now going over all 45 minutes frame by frame to find a reference to the socks Green Goblin wore in the 1967 Amazing Spider-Man #69 issue to theorize about what that could mean for Phase 7, but whatever. You do you.

Extra points for Nebula (Karen Gillan) saying “all actors really are pieces of shit.”

Rating: A