Guardians Holiday Special Reviews: What Are Critics’ First Reactions?

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Updated:
Peter Quill, Chris Pratt, Disney+

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is just around the corner, and critics have shared their honest reactions to the new MCU show on Disney+.

The upcoming Marvel Studios' special presentation is set to explore a different kind of story for James Gunn's beloved Guardians of the Galaxy as Drax and Mantis head to Earth to find the perfect gift for Chris Pratt's Peter Quill

The first trailer revealed that the aforementioned gift will be none other than Kevin Bacon

The hype surrounding the Holiday Special has been high ever since it was announced, especially after Gunn teased that it will be "absolutely ridiculous."

Now, it seems that critics appear to agree with Gunn based on their initial reactions.

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Reviews

Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

The first reactions to The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special arrived online. 

Comicbook's Brandon Davis described the Holiday Special as a "silly mini-movie check-in with top-tier characters:"

"As far as Special Presentations go, I really enjoy the format for Marvel. I prefer it over series.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and Werewolf by Night are so, so different which is great. Guardians feels like a silly mini-movie check-in with top tier characters."

Comicbook's James Viscardi claimed that the special will "melt every 'No Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving' purists' heart:"

"The #GOTGHoliday special will melt every "No Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving" purist's heart. Such a feel good tale from James Gunn that shows everyone why Pom Klementieff and Dave Bautista are SO freaking good at what they do."

Collider's Steven Weintraub admitted that the Holiday Special "made [him] smile a lot:"

"The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special' is a lot of fun and made me smile a lot. Unlike everything Marvel it's not pushing the next MCU movie or show. It's exactly what the title is selling a holiday special. If you're a fan of Drax and Mantis you're going to love it."

Anthony from the Movie Podcast shared that director James Gunn "celebrates the value of family" in the MCU's Holiday Special

"#GuardiansOfTheGalaxy Holiday Special is a HO HO HO BUNCH OF FUN! James Gunn celebrates the value of family and how you’re never too old to believe in the magic of Christmas. Pom Klementieff & Dave Bautista are a JOY TO WATCH. Marvel Studios has gifted us another great special!"

Shahbaz from the Movie Podcast offered high praise to Pom Klementieff and Dave Bautista's performance, claiming that they are the "perfect pair:"

"CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE! #GOTGHolidaySpecial is a JOYOUS MIRACLE. Pom Klementieff & Dave Bautista are a perfect pair as we laugh, cry & sing along their adventure for the ultimate gift. James Gunn continues to tug the heartstrings. This ones on the nice list! #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy"

A blogger at Such Moving Pictures noted that "Mantis is truly one of the best characters in the MCU" after watching the Holiday Special:

"THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY HOLIDAY SPECIAL is so much fun!! Happy to have these fucking weirdos back front-and-center after their barely-there cameo in LOVE AND THUNDER. Mantis is truly one of the best characters in the MCU."

The Wrap's Andy Ortiz praised Kevin Bacon's performance in the Holiday Special, teasing that he's excited to see where the character goes from here: 

"The #GotGHolidaySpecial is just so much fun. Not nearly enough Nebula, but that's an evergreen feeling for me. Lots of laughs and joy. And honestly, hard to imagine a better kick-off to a career for Kevin Bacon, really excited to see where he goes from here."

Content Creator Deo described the Holiday Special as "very charming:"

"The guardians of the galaxy holiday special was very charming. It’s filled with heart, action, and laughs. The ending hits VERY hard. Groot being practical was dope. The music was amazing too 10/10"

Yahoo!'s Kevin Polowy proclaimed that Holiday Special is "Dave Bautista & Pom Klementieff's show:"

"The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is really enjoyable. Here for anything that celebrates the legend of The Legendary Kevin Bacon, but this is Dave Bautista & Pom Klementieff's show, aka Drax & Mantis Go to Hollywood, and they are a total riot. Especially while drunk."

Drax & Mantis Take the Spotlight in Guardians' Disney+ Debut

Based on the early reactions, it seems that Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn once again delivered a funny yet heartfelt tale about the ragtag group of heroes from the cosmos. 

The high praise toward Drax and Mantis suggests that they are at the core of the upcoming Christmas story, which is unexpected considering that the special marks the first time that they are celebrating the holiday. 

The special presentation appears to flesh out Drax and Mantis' dynamic even more before the emotional outing of the team in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Meanwhile, the high praise directed to Kevin Bacon means that his role will likely be more than a cameo. Instead, the veteran actor appears to have a significant role that will drive the plot forward.

In all, the Holiday Special seems poised to be a heartwarming adventure for the Guardians that could raise the stakes for the team as they approach their final adventure in Vol. 3

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is set to premiere on Disney+ on Friday, November 25. 

- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.