Tom Welling as Clark Kent and Kirsten Kreuk as Lana Lang in Smallville's "Lexmas." Photo courtesy the WB
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The Planet’s top 12 holiday hero movies & shows

The holiday season is a time of cheer, compassion and joy for many. Traditions usually revolve around good food, generous gift giving and time spent with loved ones. Some sit around a fireplace, others at the base of a tree and some relax while watching their favorite holiday-themed movie or show.

Superheroes aren’t typically recognized during the holiday season because they generally don’t fit the theme. However, there are many comic book TV shows and movies out there that take place during the season. Here are our top 12 binge worthy holiday hero movies and shows.

Movies


Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

Batman Returns

The perilous Penguin (Danny Devito), who grew up in the sewers of Gotham City, joins forces with megalomaniac mogul Max Schreck (Christopher Walken) in an attempt to destroy Batman (Michael Keaton) forever. In an unexpected – yet totally expected – twist, Schreck’s timid assistant, Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer), uncovers the plot and is nearly killed. She is mysteriously transformed into Catwoman. This movie is a cult classic that takes place during the Christmas season in the infamous Gotham City. Dark, ominous, overshadowing gothic architecture is adorned with snow and holiday decor while a mad scramble of chaos erupts in the streets. Ironically, it’s a colorfully entertaining ride that’s often unpredictable for first time viewers.

Release date: June 16, 1992
Director: Tim Burton
Box office: $282.8 million

Available to stream on


Photo courtesy Marvel

Iron Man 3

Plagued with worry and insomnia since saving New York from destruction, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), becomes more dependent on his Iron Man super suits. Every aspect of his life is affected, including his relationship with Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow). After a malevolent enemy known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) reduces his personal world to rubble, Tony must rely solely on instinct and ingenuity to avenge his losses and protect the people he loves. This movie takes place during the Christmas season but there isn’t an overwhelming presence of the holiday.

Release date: May 3, 2013
Director: Shane Black
Box office: $1.215 billion

Available to stream on


Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

Shazam

We all have a superhero inside us. It just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) case, his inner hero is revealed simply by shouting out one word — SHAZAM! — this 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Zachary Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. This family friendly super flick is definitely a Christmas classic. Still a kid at heart — inside a ripped, godlike body — Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child with his friend Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer). Billy soon learns that power isn’t the only thing he’ll need to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong). The story exemplifies the importance of family but stresses the fact that the definition does not solely rely on genetics in common. Family can be any loved one.

Release date: March 15, 2019
Director: David F. Sandberg
Box office: $366 million

Available to stream on

TV


Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor and Kirsten Kreuk as Lana Lang in “Lexmas.” Photo courtesy the WB

Smallville –– Lexmas

On a seemingly gloomy Christmas Eve, Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) is shot after a shady business dealing involving his run for senate. While on the operating table, Lex dreams of a possible future life full of love and compassion with Lana Lang (Kirsten Kreuk), all he has to do is turn his life around before it’s too late. However, in his vision, tragedy strikes and Lex faces an ultimatum like none other. Meanwhile, Clark (Tom Welling) delivers gifts to the children of Metropolis and experiences a chance encounter with a down on his luck Santa. This episode is definitely a Christmas classic that always comes to mind when I think of the genre. It’s a classic “Christmas Story” that teaches the importance of kindness, even in the face of tragedy.

Air date: December 15, 2005
Season: 5
Episode: 9

Available to stream on


The famed Justice League. Photo courtesy the WB

Justice League –– Comfort and Joy

On an alien planet, the Justice League works together to assemble a machine that will prevent it from colliding with another, thus saving its population. Their mission is a success and the League looks forward to the Christmas season –– except perhaps J’onn J’onzz and Hawkgirl, who are unfamiliar with Earth’s holidays. This quirky take provides an insightful new look at earths greatest heroes. This episode teaches how important our differences in tradition truly are. Starring the voice talents of Maria Canals-Barrera, Phil LaMarr, Carl Lumbly and George Newbern.

Air date: December 13, 2003
Season: 2
Episode: 23

Available to stream on


Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor and Erica Durance as Lois Lane in Smallville. Photo courtesy The CW

Smallville –– Gemini

It’s Christmas Eve at the Daily Planet and Lois Lane (Erica Durance) finds herself in the midst of a crisis. After receiving a call regarding a bomb threat involving her cousin, a man urges Lois to write his story to ensure Chloe’s safety. The story involves Lex Luthor’s (Michael Rosenbaum) illegal 33.1 experiments. Chaos ensues and Lois discovers the total extent of the situation when she’s forced to confront Lex with a gun. In true Smallville fashion, Clark (Tom Welling) comes to the rescue preventing the bomb from decimating the Planet. If you’re a fan of Christmas and Superman, this episode is the one for you.

Air date: December 13, 2007
Season: 7
Episode: 9

Available to stream on


Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash. Photo courtesy The CW

The Flash –– The Man in the Yellow Suit

During the holidays, the Flash (Grant Gustin) confronts the Reverse-Flash (Tom Cavanagh), the man who killed his mother. Preparing for the upcoming battle causes Barry to engage in some self reflection. He musters up the courage to tell his childhood crush, Iris (Candice Patton), his true feelings resulting in an unexpected (yet somewhat expected) reaction. It just leaves one with an overwhelming feeling of hope and optimism and I love it.

Air date: December 9, 2014
Season: 1
Episode: 9

Available to stream on


Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher as Lois and Clark. Photo courtesy Warner Entertainment

Lois & Clark –– Seasons Greedings

After inventor Mr. Schott is fired from his toy making job, he decides to get revenge and make bank by creating the holidays’ hottest toy –– Atomic Space Rats. The rats spray a substance that causes everyone to become greedy and turns functional adults, including Lois (Teri Hatcher) and Clark (Dean Cain), into child like like crazed citizens. It’s an adventure filled with hilarity and adventure that teaches the audience the true meaning of Christmas, selflessness.

Air date: December 4, 1994
Season: 2
Episode: 9

Available to stream on


A budding romance? Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn from “Holiday Knights.” Photo courtesy Warner Entertainment

The New Batman Adventures –– Holiday Knights

“Holiday Knights” is the premiere episode of The New Batman Adventures. Despite being originally aired in September, this episode contains three Christmas themed vignettes, all completely unrelated to one another. The first story stars Batman in pursuit of Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, the second tale follows Batgirl’s confrontation with Clayface and the final tells of the dynamic duos, Batman and Robin, pursuit of Joker. Each chapter is a fun-filled adventure the entire family can enjoy. The episode stars the voice talents of Kevin Conroy, Tara Charendoff, Mathew Valencia, Mark Hamill, Arleen Sorkin, Diane Pershing and more.

Air date: September 13, 1997
Season: 1
Episode: 1

Available to stream on


Howie Mandel as Mxyzptlk and Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane. Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

Lois & Clark –– ‘Twas the Night Before Mxymas

On Christmas eve, a mischievous elf (Howie Mandel), Mxyzptlk, casts a spell on time causing the night’s events to repeat over and over again, resulting in a major drain of the Christmas spirit. As Clark (Dean Cain) relives Christmas over and over again, he witnesses the loss and sorrow felt when the spirit is gone. It’s a cathartic journey of why the holiday season is so important.

Available to stream on


Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher as Lois and Clark. Photo courtesy Warner Entertainment

Lois & Clark –– Home Is Where the Hurt Is 

The new leader of Intergang, exposes Superman (Dean Cain) to a rare virus from the planet Krypton which renders the superhero powerless as Lois’ (Teri Hatcher) estranged parents visit for the holidays. Familial connections and powerful friendships prove to be one of the most important components of the holiday seasonal message of compassion and bravery.

Air date: December 17, 1995
Season: 3
Episode: 11

Available to stream on


The Joker hijacking Gotham City’s airwaves. Photo courtesy Warner Entertainment

Batman: The Animated Series –– Christmas with the Joker

There is no other hero holiday classic like Christmas with the Joker. In the super heroic special, the Joker (Mark Hamill) challenges Batman (Kevin Conroy) to find him and the three important citizens he’s kidnapped before midnight. The Caped Crusader suffers through a series of tests as he attempts to rescue the hostages in this Christmas story spruced up with a fantastic touch of Batman flare.

Air date: November 13, 1992
Season: 1
Episode: 38

Available to stream on

Zack Benz

Zack Benz has been a fan of the Daily Planet since he was eight years old. The Daily Planet has always been a beacon of hope for him and it’s his life’s mission to make it shine in a similar light to so many around the world. Zack graduated with a degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2019.

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