This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special’ Review; ‘The Peripheral’ and ‘1899’, Overhyped or Worth it?

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley run through a lightning round of reviews for shows they’ve been watching. First up is The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which John Latchem reviewed for MPN. Charles shares his thoughts about it, as well as a quick recap of the Marvel Phase 4 set of movies and shows, as this special concludes that series. He also gives his predictions for what to expect in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, James Gunn’s final Marvel-directed movie before committing fully to leading the DC franchise at Warner Bros.

Afterward, Charlie updates listeners on his progress through the Amazon Prime series “The Peripheral” as well as the new cerebral Netflix drama “1899.” The former has proven to be a solid new sci-fi series, but, as for the latter, according to Charlie, it’s off to a rocky start.

At the box office, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever unsurprisingly still took the No. 1 spot over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery debuted on a limited number of screens but didn’t make a big splash. The hosts, who are both huge fans of the original, expect it to do extremely well on Netflix when it makes its streaming debut in late December. But looming on the box office horizon is the juggernaut Avatar: The Way of Water. It’s no question as to whether it will dominate ticket sales when it finally drops; the question is, exactly how much.

Lastly, the hosts cover an article announcing that Amazon has ordered a miniseries to cover the recent collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, to be produced by the Russo brothers. Charlie follows that particular tech sector closely and gives some context for the collapse, and the trend of studios to produce miniseries about similarly spectacular implosions of tech companies like Uber, WeWork and Theranos.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

STREAMING REVIEW:

Disney+;
Sci-Fi Comedy;
Not rated.
Stars Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, Kevin Bacon, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Maria Bakalova, Michael Rooker, The Old 97’s.

Checking in on the Guardians of the Galaxy’s adventures within the Marvel Cinematic Universe is usually a fun time, and their new Disney+ holiday special is no exception.

Written and directed by the Guardians guru himself, James Gunn, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special avoids the cheesy pitfalls of most Christmastime larks, while still managing to inject a dose of sweet sentimentality thanks to Gunn’s offbeat sense of humor and a story that stays true to the characters.

It also serves as a bit of a preview for next year’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, as it was made as a side project during production of the film. It quickly gets the audience up to speed on what the Guardians have been up to since their last appearance in Thor: Love and Thunder, as well as introduces Maria Bakalova as the voice of Cosmo the Spacedog, heretofore a background character but sure to be an audience favorite.

Just because the Guardians are the stars doesn’t mean the special isn’t packed with Christmas cheer. The focus is primarily on Mantis and Drax (Pom Klementieff and Dave Bautista), who decide that their leader, Peter “Star-Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt) needs some cheering up, as he is overwhelmed with work since the Guardians took over administration of Knowhere, the space colony inside a giant alien head as seen in the first “GOTG” film. Their plan is to travel to Earth to kidnap Kevin Bacon, one of Quill’s childhood idols, whom they believe is a true hero and not just a movie actor. Drax and Mantis are a good pairing within the group, and their misadventures on Earth as they search for Kevin Bacon (who plays himself) are hysterical.

Gunn has delivered one of the MCU’s better forays into television, complete with a hilarious new Christmas song (imagine the holiday as interpreted by weird aliens), and a soundtrack infused with solid holiday tunes.

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‘Avengers: Endgame’ Propels Marvel Movies Up Digital Retail Charts

The $1.2 billion global theatrical opening for Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame has unsurprisingly proved to be a boon for previous entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

On the Apple iTunes store movie sales chart on April 29, all 22 MCU movies were among the top 60 selling titles, with No. 1 being preorders for Endgame.

Including Endgame, Marvel movies comprised six of the top 10, with 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War at No. 3, 2012’s The Avengers at No. 4, 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger at No. 6, 2008’s Iron Man at No. 7, and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron at No. 8.

The MCU movies, which collectively have grossed nearly $20 billion worldwide, typically creep back up the charts when a new installment hits theaters, particularly when it’s a sequel to one of the specific character movies (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc.). Endgame, however, was positioned as a sequel to virtually every MCU movie that came before it, and the uptick in sales of previous movies was reflected in the anticipation to the latest chapter, which closes out several prominent storylines from the first 11 years of the MCU, which began in 2008 with the first Iron Man.

The effect is even apparent at the box office, where Captain Marvel, which was released in theaters in March, rose to No. 2 at the domestic box office behind Endgame

On iTunes, the weekend after Endgame hit theaters also saw 2016’s Captain America: Civil War at No. 14, 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier at No. 16, 2011’s Thor at No. 22, 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy at No. 23, 2016’s Doctor Strange at No. 27, 2010’s Iron Man 2 at No. 30, 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming at No. 31, 2013’s Iron Man 3 at No. 33, preorders for Captain Marvel at No. 35, 2015’s Ant-Man at No. 38, 2008’s The Incredible Hulk at No. 39, 2013’s Thor: The Dark World at No. 40, 2018’s Ant-Man at the Wasp at No. 47, 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 at No. 50, 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok at No. 51, and 2018’s Black Panther at No. 59.

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The websites of other digital retailers showed a similar effect.

The Microsoft Movies & TV store also had preorders for Endgame as its No. 1 seller on April 29. Infinity War was No. 7, the original Avengers was No. 9, Iron Man was No. 10, Age of Ultron was No. 11, Civil War was No. 12, Captain America: The First Avengers was No. 13, Winter Soldier was No. 14 and a “Captain America” trilogy collection was No. 18.

The Microsoft Top 50 also included 13 other MCU movies, plus preorders for an “Avengers” four-movie collection at No. 41.

Walmart’s Vudu had Infinity War listed first on its “Most Watched” page on April 29, while Age of Ultron and the original Avengers were listed as ninth and tenth, respectively.

On the Amazon.com Amazon Video on demand (rental) list for April 29, MCU movies comprised five of the top 10 and 10 of the top 25, led by Spider-Man: Homecoming at No. 1, Guardians of the Galaxy at No. 2 and Ant-Man at No. 3. The further titles include Captain America: The First Avenger at No. 5, Iron Man 3 at No. 6, Avengers: Age of Ultron at No. 12, Thor at No. 16, Civil War at No. 17, Winter Soldier at No. 24 and Infinity War at No. 25. (Note that Amazon’s website lists high-definition and standar-defintion sales for the same title separately).