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The 10 best Christmas-themed superhero movies and shows you can stream right now

Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) are superheroes helping out during the holidays in “Hawkeye.” (Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios )
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Even a superhero can’t escape the holidays.

As masks, capes and interconnected universes have become more mainstream, so too have the number of superhero offerings that include Christmas tree decor and Santa Claus hats. Animation, network television, streaming and even the Marvel Cinematic Universe have all made room for the spirit of the winter season.

We may or may not decide to gather in large groups later this month, depending on the power of the latest variants (and not the kind that appear in “Loki”). So, whether you’re trying to escape an argument with that uncle who thinks there are too many comic-book movies or pass the time alone until you can spend three hours watching “Eternals” on Disney Plus, here is the best superhero holiday entertainment available across various streamers.

‘Hawkeye’ (2021)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s top archer, Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), is spending the holiday season in New York with his kids, hoping to be more of a father than a superhero. But he gets stuck on a new mission and reluctantly inherits a new sidekick, Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), plus the bad guys he’s tasked with investigating, the Tracksuit Mafia, can’t say a single phrase without the word “bro” attached to it. Despite her rookie status and annoying hero-worship of her mentor, Bishop is just as magical as he is with a bow and arrow and might become the next big Avenger — if she can help Hawkeye get home before his kids start opening presents. Many Christmas trees were harmed in the making of this series. (Disney Plus)

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‘Iron Man 3′ (2013)

The “Iron Man” trilogy’s jolliest moment comes six minutes into the film with the debut of Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) Mark 42 armor, as a jazzy remix of “Jingle Bells” by the Bombay Dub Orchestra, plays in the background on vinyl. Also here for this merry Marvel moment is Paul Bettany, who was not yet Vision of “WandaVision” fame, but instead just J.A.R.V.I.S., a computerized assistant. Downey’s dance moves during the assembling of his new suit are the gift that keeps on giving. (Disney Plus)

‘Batman Returns’ (1992)

The sequel to one of the biggest superhero movies of all time begins the only way a Tim Burton-directed tale could: very darkly. The Penguin (Danny DeVito) is abandoned as a young child during the holidays by his wealthy upper-class parents who can’t find the heart to deal with his disfigurations that make him look more animal than child. Later, as a crime boss, he uses the anger from that painful memory to torment Gotham City during Christmastime and make a naughty list of firstborn sons of the elite he can kidnap. Meanwhile, Batman (Michael Keaton) and Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) share a mistletoe kiss (or more of a feral lick) that leads to them discovering each other’s alter egos. (HBO Max)

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‘Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,’ Season 2, Episode 9 (1994)

What this show lacked in superhero special effects it made up for with its strong cast and guest appearances. The episode titled “Season’s Greedings,” written by Superman himself, Dean Cain, sees the children of Metropolis under the hypnotic spell of the Toyman and his kinder-hearted assistant (played by late television legends Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford of “The Jeffersons”). This campy version of the Man of Steel saves the day as always, but it’s the steamy “will they/won’t they” chemistry of Cain and Teri Hatcher’s Lois Lane that lights up this episode like a Christmas tree when they share a more-romantic-than-platonic holiday dinner together. (HBO Max)

‘Batman the Animated Series,’ Season 1, Episode 38 (1992)

The greatest Batman voice of all-time (Kevin Conroy) and the greatest Joker of all-time (Mark Hamill) go to battle in a horrifying television special called “Christmas With the Joker,” in which the Clown Prince of Crime is giving no one in Gotham City holiday cheer. Listening to Hamill sing “Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg” while the Joker hops on top of a Christmas tree that is actually a rocket ship to escape from prison is always a holiday treat. Batman manages to send the Joker back to jail, but the villain gets the last laugh from his cell, wishing everyone a merry Christmas. (HBO Max)

'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ (2018)

The Academy Award-winning film takes place during a holiday season that has been darkened by the death of Spider-Man in Miles Morales’s universe. Morales must adjust to his new spider-powers, and he teams up with Spider-men, women and pigs from other universes to save the world. The character’s debut big-screen adventure is capped off in the end credits by Chris Pine’s hilarious rendition of “Spidey-Bells (A Hero’s Lament)," a new Christmas classic. (Video on demand)

‘Shazam!’ (2019)

Not even Santa Claus can give you superpowers for Christmas. For that, you need an ancient wizard. “Shazam!” stars Asher Angel as young Billy Batson, who turns into the world’s mightiest mortal (played by Zachary Levi) whenever he says the name of the wizard (Djimon Hounsou) who bestowed these newfound powers. The holiday season in Philadelphia sets the scene for this film, in which Batson must learn that the most important relationships in his life are the ones that don’t involve his cape flapping into the wind. (HBO Max)

'Justice League’ series, Season 2, Episode 23 (2003)

This animated Christmas Eve tale titled “Comfort and Joy” starts with a superhero snowball fight between the Green Lantern and Hawkgirl. The Flash is running as fast as he can to find a popular rapping rubber-duck toy to give to kids at an orphanage. Superman hosts an all-alien get together when the Kryptonian invites the Martian Manhunter (voiced by “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s” Carl Lumbly) to meet his adoptive Earth parents for a holiday dinner in Smallville. (HBO Max)

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‘X-Men: The Animated Series,’ Season 4, Episode 14 (1995)

Nothing in the “Have Yourself a Morlock Little X-Mas” episode of Fox’s classic series tops Jean Grey getting into a telekinetic war of words in the kitchen with the X-Men’s resident Cajun, Gambit, after he accuses her holiday food of the biggest no-no, lack of seasoning. There’s also tree decorating, stressful last-minute mall shopping and Wolverine being an absolute grinch but saving the life of a young underground Morlock. (Disney Plus)

‘The Flash,’ Season 1, Episode 9 (2014)

“The Man in the Yellow Suit” is one of “The Flash’s” best episodes ever. In between gift exchanges, spiked eggnog jokes and heartfelt conversations between Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and his wrongfully imprisoned father (John Wesley Shipp) is the battle between the Flash and the killer of his mother, the Reverse Flash, a foe the Scarlett Speedster can’t seem to outrun and whose true identity is this episode’s biggest holiday horror. (Netflix)