Illustration by Mike Manalo
Day 10 of our 12 Days of Spoiler Free Reviews

I’m a huge comic book geek. I have been since birth. So as such I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least attempt to put some form of superhero Christmas movie on this list. And I frankly had a hard time choosing between BATMAN RETURNS, IRON MAN 3, and SHAZAM! BATMAN RETURNS is a classic and arguably my second favorite live-action Batman film. IRON MAN 3 is an underrated Shane Black gem, chock full of great action and snappy one-liners. However, ultimately, I decided to go with SHAZAM! And here’s why: of the 3 movies, this is the one that most embodies the Christmas spirit!

SHAZAM! at its core is about family. It’s a heartwarming story about discovering what the true spirit of family is, regardless of blood or background. It’s got equally as many laughs and charming moments as a HOME ALONE movie, if not more. And it genuinely is a fresh take on the superhero genre, opting to stay closer to BIG in terms of tone and concept, than your average doom-and-gloom DC Film. It’s bright, goofy, and optimistic. And best of all, it’s set during Christmas to help emphasize the emotional familial themes brought to the forefront of the movie. It speaks volumes that the superhero film least expected to make you feel something is actually one of the most tender. It immerses us in Billy Batson’s search for his real mother, and the tragic discovery of the truth it leads to, but the ultimate discovery of something(s) greater.

As you’ll see, probably soon in an upcoming review on this site, Christmas is a time to spend with the ones you love. And SHAZAM! is the quintessential Christmas superhero movie that not only understands that, but does the best job of any Christmas-themed superhero movie of delivering that notion to you.

Watch it with your family this Christmas on HBO Max.

Mike Manalo

Born a Slytherin. Baptized into Marvel. Bitten by a Radioactive DC fan. And raised a Jedi, Mike Manalo is a silent guardian, a watchful protector… a Dark Nerd!

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