Just in time for the Christmas season, Disney+ released their latest Marvel installment, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. Holiday specials are a lot of fun but in a superhero world that is located in outer space, it seems like a lot could go wrong.
The Conservative Critic asks: Is it entertaining? Does it have intellectual/artistic value? Is it liberal propaganda?
The Conservative Critic Meter Check: The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Overall rating: Very very good
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (The Special) is up against a hefty amount of skepticism. While the beloved franchise characters have made appearances in many Marvel specials and other film franchises, the cast of characters haven’t stood on their own feet since 2017, and fans and critics have been a bit unsure if bringing them back for a Christmas short was the right move.
It was the right move. The Special takes all the best parts of the Guardians franchise including physical comedy, nostalgia, emotional chaos and artistry, and splashes some eggnog on it for good Christmassy fun. Without spoiling it, the special doesn’t reach too hard and provides a little bit of a Marvel universe plotline without trying to weave a whole narrative. It’s a lot of fun, a lot of heart, and definitely actually pretty conservative.
Is it entertaining?
Rating: Fun and heartwarming
The whole gang is back plus some familiar faces new to the MCU which in and of itself is a bolster to the impact. But the bulk of the special features Drax played by Dave Bautista and Mantis played by Pom Klementieff on a holiday adventure to save Christmas (essentially). The pair get up to ridiculous hijinx flocked in red and green before bringing it all home with a warm fuzzy Christmassy message of love and friendship. There’s twinkle lights. There’s candy canes. And there’s funny “alien experiencing earth for the first time” jokes that never seem to get old.
The Special is a perfect little Christmas cookie of a short. A treat for the whole Marvel franchise.
Does it have artistic/intellectual value?
Rating: Well made a touch too self-aware
Marvel spent money on the special which was wise. They got the whole original cast even if they only say two words. Details like the wholeness of the cast are what make or break the legitimacy of a short of this nature. The production was also high quality with all the same value as the normal franchise in terms of interspace travel, soundtrack, costumes and makeup, and all the bits and bobbles that make up and high production value piece of film. The main characters were deep in their roles and the special guest stars knew what they were there to do and did it quite well.
Unfortunately, almost unavoidably, the writers seem to have become a bit too self-aware. The popularity of Star Lord and the Guardians franchise is rooted in its ability to provide raucous and frankly juvenile comedy for a mass audience and then stab it in the heart with sentiment and nostalgia. The latter half being a fairly critical element of its success. But when sentiment is gained in an authentic plot-based journey it is sincere, it is crumbly, it is the warm breakfast muffin of pop film. But when sentiment is written for the sake of being sentimental, the sweetness can taste a little tinny. The Special was just a bit tinny with some of the sentimentality written for a reaction instead of written for a purpose. It would be wise for the franchise to add fresh eyes to their writing team to avoid this in future feature films. There is heart and there is schmaltz. The Special flirted with the line dangerously.
Is it liberal propaganda?
Rating: It’s a Right-Wing Christmas after all
The Special was very right-leaning. First of all, its star is one of the only conservative employees of the Disney corporation. Chris Pratt has long been rumored to bleed at least a little red.
But the plot also hits many conservative high points. First of all, while it’s a “holiday special” the only “holiday” mentioned is Christmas. There is no war on Christmas happening here. Second, there is a bit where the characters express how absolutely terrible Hollywood actors are and how they’re not really heroes. Very right-leaning point of view.
Overall the special definitely leans pretty far to the right, especially by Hollywood’s abysmal standard.