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Friday, November 25, 2022

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special review: James Gunn's upbeat film is exactly what the MCU needed


 

Review of the Holiday Special for Guardians of the Galaxy:The film from James Gunn is diverting, but it is not revolutionary. It brings some innocent fun back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is getting more and more complicated.


The illustrious studio has chosen to conclude Phase Three with a 42-minute streaming spinoff that, at best, serves as a glorified DVD bonus feature and, at worst, the most arrogant flex against Martin Scorsese that the MCU could have ever thought of. In a move that sort of represents the scattershot quality of Phase Four, the illustrious studio has chosen to conclude Phase Three with one of the biggest films ever made.


The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special was first conceived of by director James Gunn several years ago. It was only filmed in 2021 under visible COVID restrictions while Gunn was working on his third and final GoTG film.Gunn has made some bold comparisons between the Guardians special and the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special from 1978, which is still one of the most infamous pieces of pop culture art created in all of history.


When the Star Wars Holiday Special premiered on television, it was met with such ridicule that neither it nor its home video release were ever made.Only bootlegs, which were recorded by curious viewers during the show's one-and-only broadcast and later uploaded to the internet, exist.


But Gunn hasn't just shown Chewbacca his respect by giving him a hat tip;He has decided to end the Guardians special with animated sequences that are meant to look like scenes from the Star Wars movie.Naturally, the filmmaker probably loves more than just the superficial aspects of the Star Wars special;It's likely that a lot of nostalgia is at play here.When I was a kid, it was probably just a new Star Wars story to watch over the holidays, not something to complain about for disrespecting the original.However, despite the unfavorable overlaps, Gunn's film does not undermine the main feed or imply a cash grab.In contrast, it serves as a delightful distraction from the MCU's larger schemes.


The film's main characters are Dave Bautista's Drax the Destroyer and Pom Klementieff's Mantis. Other characters include Chris Pratt's Peter Quill, Karen Gillan's Nebula, Vin Diesel's Groot, and Bradley Cooper's Rocket.Mantis and Drax make the decision to make things right and give Peter a Christmas present that will hopefully help him forget about the festival after Kraglin (Sean Gunn) tells the Guardians about how Yondu (Michael Rooker) "destroyed Christmas" when Peter was a boy.


Their selfless adventure takes them to Earth, where they are tasked with trying to kidnap Kevin Bacon, Peter's favorite actor, and bring him back to the planet Nowhere for Peter's amusement.As he combines the Guardians' good intentions with their inherent outlaw tendencies, this is precisely the kind of good-natured but naive plot that Gunn has become so adept at concocting.


Although Drax and Mantis have enough odd-couple chemistry to sustain a 20-minute stretch by themselves as they traipse across Beverly Hills in search of Bacon, the Earthbound scenes may feel a little too simple—like something filmed over the course of an afternoon on an iPhone.Despite the fact that everything is clearly set in a single courtyard-type location, the space sequences, on the other hand, are more in line with what fans of the series might anticipate.


The Guardians special features both musical performances by the band the Old 97s and popular Christmas-themed needle drops.Even if you've been following these characters for nearly a decade, there are a few spoiler-filled scenes toward the end that are truly moving.


Almost all of Marvel's projects are marked by a distinct stench of corporate interference.Even Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler:Wakanda Forever lacked the freedom to merely tell its story without having to foreground a subsequent character.The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, on the other hand, operates largely in a vacuum despite everything.The profound shift in mainstream Hollywood's storytelling sensibilities since the MCU took over is kind of remarkable.In the main films, background work that would have been limited to the appendices is being done to build the universe, and character-driven stories are being moved to the margins.Well, okay.


The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special stars Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Sean Gunn, and Maria Bakalova. It was directed by James Gunn.

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