A Christmas movie full of charm and hilarity

Why are superheroes Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) holiday shopping? Marvel photo

By Wendell Gaa

Christmas is always peak season for films and TV specials.

From the classic “It’s A Wonderful Life” with the late great Jimmy Stewart to the comedic “Home Alone” films of Macauley Culkin, holiday movies   have warmed our hearts and drawn our families closer together this time of the year.

Now available for streaming on Disney+ is the “Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special” by the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which is one unique superhero take on the holiday spirit which co-stars our very own FilAm actor Dave Bautista.

Written and directed by James Gunn, this mini-movie featurette is similar in storytelling format to the nostalgic animated holiday specials which I would watch on TV as a kid, such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”  This movie has an added flavor of quirky, eccentric and adoring humor, a signature directorial trademark of Gunn.

Those who have watched the previous installments of “The Guardians of the Galaxy” films as well as the “Avengers” and “Thor” movies know very well that the titular superhero characters are a ragtag band of peculiar alien personalities led by human Peter Quill/Starlord (Chris Pratt) and include Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), his loyal sidekick the tree-being Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), the blue-skinned Nebula (Karen Gillan), the bug-like Mantis (Pom Klementieff) with emphatic powers and of course Dave Bautista’s Drax the Destroyer, a rough alien warrior with a heart of gold.

The simple basic story premise here concerns Peter Quill’s lack of love for the holidays given an incident from his past.  With this observation, Drax and Mantis then go off on a mission to find the ideal Christmas present to bring more cheer into Quill’s life.  Given that Earth is Peter’s home, the two decide to travel there to bring him a most perfect gift, his childhood hero Kevin Bacon!  What then ensures is an adventure filled with antics and hilarity. 

I did not have huge expectations for this special at first, but after watching it I can say that I consider this a highly entertaining and endearing superhero movie which will charm and warm the hearts of viewers of all ages. Given time, I feel it may even one day reach the status of a Christmas cult classic along the lines of other holiday favorites such as 1983’s “A Christmas Story” and 2003’s “Elf.”

It is especially refreshing to see Drax and Mantis team up and interact closely with one another. But here in this Holiday Special, the two get to really shine and show off more of the “human” aspects of their personalities.  Dave Bautista here continues to prove how he is the perfect man for the role of Drax, and his background as a former WWE professional wrestler is surely an asset to the physical demands of the role.  Although it would be great to see him expand his career and perhaps become as mainstream huge as fellow wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, I wouldn’t mind fans forever associating him with Drax the Destroyer. 

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