Since everyone has their list of mandatory Christmas movies to watch each holiday season, it’s safe to assume that many of us comic book fans have added superhero Christmas films to that list. Yes, there are in fact superhero Christmas movies. With so many superheroes hitting the big screen over the years, it was pretty unavoidable. Blending battles against villains with festive holiday settings and themes leads to a surprisingly refreshing aesthetic. These genres don’t always come together, but it’s a lot of fun when they do. Here’s a list of the best superhero Christmas movies.
Wonder Woman 1984
Diana Prince may have taken on Maxwell Lord and the Cheetah during Christmas time, but it also captures many themes often seen in holiday classics. Wonder Woman 1984 is heavily focused on making wishes that come true, and most people are likely familiar with a “Christmas wish.”
Plus, the film is chock full of themes about being with the people you love, like Maxwell Lord and his son or Diana and Steve Trevor. What’s more festive than spending time with the ones you love during the holidays? The final scene when Diana meets the man Steve was possessing the whole time at that looks to be a snowy Christmas festival is one of the most Christmassy visuals imaginable.
Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 has the Scrooge known as Tony Stark learn a much-needed lesson in caring about other people and taking better care of himself. This is thanks to the help of a young boy he meets (that’s not Tiny Tim, but serves a similar purpose), along with those already in his life. The villain, Aldrich Killian, is someone from Tony’s past (who he met at a Christmas party twenty years ago) who has come back for vengeance, basically making him Tony’s Ghost of Christmas Past.
Sure, the pretty lights and decorations make it feel like Christmas, but Tony developing as a character and essentially learning the meaning of Christmas makes it feel like a true Christmas movie. Having his squadron of Iron Man armors serve as angels during the final act doesn’t hurt either. It’s A Christmas Carol with robotic armor and lasers. What more could you want?
In case you couldn’t tell from A Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton is a master at creating great gothic Christmas tales. His film Batman Returns is no different. Yes, there’s a lighting ceremony for Gotham City’s massive Christmas tree and a kissing-under-the-mistletoe scene, but this is a Christmas movie in many other ways as well.
It’s a story of those who are often forgotten around the holidays; those who don’t have families or many loved ones (Batman, Catwoman, and the Penguin). It’s a darker, yet realistic take on the holiday that many may not immediately think of. It’s still one of the few films to touch on it as well. We see how each of them fights to have what others have during the holidays, which, in an odd way, brings them all together. We also see how greed during the holidays leads to Max Schreck’s downfall, like the antagonists in many Christmas classics like in Frosty the Snowman.
Jingle All the Way
You’re probably thinking that Jingle All the Way is a Christmas movie, but isn’t actually a superhero movie. Well, try thinking that after Howard (as Turboman) flies over the city to battle Myron (as Dementor) and to save his son. This movie used the trope-filled final act of a modern superhero film roughly two decades earlier than the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The superhero armor, the sidekick, the supervillain, the evil minions, the high-stakes showdown, the cheesy special effects, the use of gadgets to mimic superpowers all make Jingle All the Way feel like an actual superhero movie.
There are also entertaining action scenes leading up to the suspenseful third act, like when Arnold Schwarzenegger takes on WWE’s The Big Show (who’s dressed as a buff Santa). If Die Hard can be considered a Christmas movie, then Jingle All the Way can certainly be seen as a superhero movie.
One of the key elements of most Christmas classics is the large amount of heart throughout it, and Shazam! is overflowing with it. The film, much like the source material, focuses a lot on a foster family. Sure, Billy wants to find his birth mom, but once he does so, he realizes that true family is more about love than blood.
Billy is a young boy who feels lost and abandoned until he bonds with and finds a place of belonging with his new family, which is what Christmas is all about. Opening on a scene that takes place on Christmas Eve 1974 and flashing forward to the current-day Christmas season, prominently featuring songs like “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” and having the final battle take place at a Christmas carnival all further solidifies Shazam! as a Christmas movie.
Are there any superhero flicks on your must-watch holiday list? If so, which ones? Again, superhero and Christmas subgenres blending together makes for a unique and especially fun aesthetic, so hopefully we see more of it in the future.