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The best movies on Disney+ right now (April 2024)

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow with Orlando Bloom's Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
Walt Disney Pictures

Disney+ is among the most accessible platforms to stream the best movies. There’s plenty of variety available even outside of Disney’s trademark animated offerings. Fans can find dozens of hours worth of exciting features, including Marvel Studios’ superhero adventures, Lucasfilm’s Star Wars epics, and inspiring National Geographic documentaries.

Even so, the service’s dense catalog can make it overwhelming to choose from. There’s a movie for everyone, however, and this monthly updated guide will help you pick out some of the best movies on Disney+ to watch right now.

If you haven’t considered it already, the Disney Bundle is worth your money. This package deal gives customers access to Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu’s ad-supported plan for just $13 a month. It’s a great overall value.

If you want to expand your search, we’ve also rounded up the best shows on Disney+, as well as the best movies on Netflix, the best movies on Amazon Prime, and the best movies on Hulu.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Genre Adventure, Fantasy, Action
Stars Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley
Directed by Gore Verbinski

The Pirates of the Caribbean movies are still the studio’s most lucrative attempts at adapting iconic Disney park rides. Directed by Gore Verbinski, The Curse of the Black Pearl sees eccentric 18th-century pirate Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) set off to rescue Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), the daughter of Port Royal’s governor.

Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and his crew aboard the Black Pearl kidnap her as they attempt to undo a curse placed on them after stealing an Aztec treasure. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl stands as the series’ best, taking advantage of the novelty behind building an engaging story around a theme park ride. The movie was well-received for its swashbuckling tone and spirited performances by the main cast.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

The Amazing Spider-Man
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans
Directed by Marc Webb

Though Sony’s post-Sam Raimi reboot didn’t pan out as hoped, Marc Webb’s first take in The Amazing Spider-Man was a promising start. Led by Andrew Garfield as the titular hero, it follows Peter Parker’s struggles to balance his new dual life while attempting to uncover a conspiracy surrounding his parents’ disappearances,. This leads to a violent clash against Dr. Curt Connors’ (Rhys Ifans) beastly persona the Lizard. Peter’s love interest Gwen Stacy (Poor Things‘ Emma Stone) also gets caught in the crossfire.

The Amazing Spider-Man features a passionate performance by Garfield, as he carries a convincing coming-of-age story amid the action. Similarly, Stone’s casting as Gwen Stacy is pitch-perfect. She’s convincing character on her own merits while maintaining an electric chemistry with Garfield’s Peter.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon’s The Avengers was always going to be a tough act to follow, but Age of Ultron was still a respectable sophomore entry. Now with more teamwork experience under their belts, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) tackle a new breed of villain.

A beast of Tony Stark’s making, the A.I. Ultron goes rogue and aims to incite a mass extinction event. While not as convincing as its predecessor, partly due to a less interesting villain, Avengers: Age of Ultron is entertaining thanks to the team’s growing dynamics. Dramatic special effects and Elizabeth Olsen’s introduction as Wanda Maximoff also helped the movie feel like a milestone event in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Toy Story 2 (1999)

Toy Story 2
Genre Animation, Comedy, Family
Stars Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack
Directed by John Lasseter

Even with the first Toy Story‘s acclaim, the sequel more than lived up to its expectations. Directed by John Lasseter, the movie follows Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the rest of the original crew’s attempt to rescue Woody (Tom Hanks) from an obsessive toy collector.

However, things get complicated when Woody considers staying in the collector’s glorified museum with his new friend Jessie (Joan Cusack). Toy Story 2 accomplishes the rare feat of surpassing its iconic predecessor. It continues the winning formula of exploring original cast’s relationships while introducing endearing new characters. Cusack’s Jessie is a particular highlight, as she seamlessly cements her place as one of the franchise’s most beloved characters.

The Space Race (2023) new

The Space Race
Genre Documentary
Stars Guion Bluford, Ed Dwight Jr., Charles Bolden
Directed by Lisa Cortés, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza

Co-directed by Diego Hurtado de Mendoza and Lisa Cortés, The Space Race is a standout documentary film from National Geographic. The movie tells the story of the first Black astronauts who broke through racial barriers during the early days of the Civil Rights movement to become key figures within the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, including Guion Bluford, Ed Dwight, and Charles Bolden.

It’s an enlightening and fascinating watch that revisits this story through a combination of decades’ worth of film archives and interview materials. The Space Race is a compelling documentary movie that covers a lesser-known aspect of American history.

X2 (2003) new

Genre Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
Stars Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen
Directed by Bryan Singer

The early 2000s continued to be kind to one of Marvel Comics’ most iconic superhero teams with X2: X-Men United. Bryan Singer returned to the director’s chair for this sequel, telling a thrilling story that forces Professor Charles Xavier’s gifted students to team up with Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants to put an end to Colonel William Stryker’s genocidal plans.

The villain leads an onslaught on Xavier and his school of mutants in an attempt to reprogram the Professor’s tracking computer, Cerebro, to assassinate every known mutant on the planet systematically. As with the first movie in this series, X2: X-Men United was critically praised for balancing a well-rounded ensemble cast bolstered by commendable performances. Its engaging plot and impressive action set pieces further complemented what was one of the best superhero sequels of that decade.

Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy (2004)

Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy
Genre Documentary
Stars Robert Clotworthy, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg
Directed by Kevin Burns, Edith Becker

With how wildly lucrative Lucasfilm’s Star Wars IP has continued to be nearly 50 years after the release of A New Hope, a documentary chronicling this success story was inevitable. Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy provides just that, going back in history to detail how the franchise was created, George Lucas’ involvement, and how the acclaim received by the Original Trilogy impacted pop culture for the decades to follow.

Co-directed by Edith Becker and Kevin Burns, this documentary will be an intriguing watch for any longtime Star Wars fan. Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy offers engaging interviews with Lucas and the iconic cast and the crew behind the scenes that helped make this trilogy happen.

Pete's Dragon (2016)

Pete's Dragon
71 %
Genre Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Stars Oakes Fegley, Bryce Dallas Howard, Wes Bentley
Directed by David Lowery

Though Disney remakes don’t always seem worth it compared to the originals, 2016’s Pete’s Dragon was an admirable effort. Directed by David Lowery, the movie revolves around the titular orphaned boy (played by Oakes Fegley) who befriends and lives with a dragon in the woods.

However, consequences arise when forest ranger Grace Meacham (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) and an 11-year-old girl named Natalie (played by Oona Laurence) investigate this relationship. The Pete’s Dragon remake was well-received for tastefully adapting the original story to a new format without losing the charm that made it so beloved to begin with.

X-Men (2000) new

Genre Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
Stars Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman
Directed by Bryan Singer

While fans are still waiting on the X-Men to make their proper MCU debut, the original 2000 live-action movie is still an entertaining watch. X-Men details how several of the iconic Marvel mutants joined Professor Charles Xavier (Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Patrick Stewart) and his titular team while focusing particularly on Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Rogue (Anna Paquin).

Xavier and his mutant allies find themselves in the middle of a violent conflict with the more extreme Brotherhood of Mutants, led by Magneto (played by Ian McKellen). Director Bryan Singer’s X-Men is a nostalgic watch in the modern age, filled with action and a packed ensemble cast. It contains just the right amount of early 2000s campiness to be an engaging story even today.

The Wolverine (2013)

The Wolverine
Genre Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima
Directed by James Mangold

Following up on the disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine, director James Mangold steps in to put the titular mutant hero’s story on the right track with The Wolverine. The movie sees Logan travel to modern-day Japan in the aftermath of X-Men: The Last Stand, where the hero has to deal with a dangerous nemesis without the benefit of his regenerative abilities, all while grappling with a sense of guilt over Jean Grey’s death.

While not the most compelling X-Men movie or Logan’s most engrossing solo story, The Wolverine was a solid and welcome return to form that leans into its dramatic action sequences. It does the character justice while boasting some striking production design.

Free Guy (2021)

Free Guy
Genre Comedy, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Joe Keery
Directed by Shawn Levy

Director Shawn Levy’s Free Guy was one of the more unexpected successes from 2021. The Ryan Reynolds-led movie sees a bank teller (played by Reynolds) discover that he’s a non-playable character in a massively multiplayer online video game, and he teams up with another player named Millie Rusk (played by Jodie Comer) to help her find the source code that a game company’s CEO stole.

Free Guy succeeds by leaning into its delightfully nonsensical premise. The movie plays well to its creative premise thanks to its colorful video game-themed world, and it featuresReynolds at his charmingly comedic best.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Zhang Meng'er
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton

Even though the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been growing steadily more stale in recent years, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings stands as a bright spot for many longtime fans. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, the movie tells a story of self-discovery for the titular hero (played by Simu Liu) as he comes into conflict with his father, Wenwu (played by Tony Leung), when he and his terrorist organization attempt to invade a mystical village.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was seen as a refreshing new perspective from which to view the MCU, using its hero to incorporate more Asian culture into this superhero world. Leung was widely praised for hisstandout performance in the movie, which is a welcome change considering the franchise’s issues of producing mostly bland villains. Likewise, its martial arts sequences and action set pieces were well-received.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) new

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Genre Adventure, Action
Stars Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen
Directed by James Mangold

The beloved Harrison Ford closes out his tenure as the adventurous archeologist in director James Mangold’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. In this final outing, Indy and his estranged goddaughter Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) team up in a race against time to find a dangerous ancient artifact.

Nazi scientist Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) intends to uncover this mysterious tool to change the outcome of World War II. Though the movie had a comparatively lukewarm reception when looking at more celebrated features like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dial of Destiny still shows why Ford succeeded in making the swashbuckling action hero a household name.

Timeless Heroes: Indiana Jones & Harrison Ford (2023) new

Timeless Heroes: Indiana Jones & Harrison Ford
Genre Documentary
Stars Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas
Directed by Laurent Bouzereau

For fans looking to examine the legacy of the Indiana Jones character, the Disney+ documentary film Timeless Heroes: Indiana Jones & Harrison Ford is the ideal watch. Directed by Laurent Bouzereau, this documentary recounts the actor’s beginnings and how he broke into the entertainment industry.

Of course, the movie then homes in on the impact and legacy the iconic swashbuckler left behind, along with some fascinating unseen footage. In addition to detailing when filmmaking legends Steven Spielberg and George Lucas created a team that led to this franchise, Timeless Heroes: Indiana Jones & Harrison Ford also shows never-before-seen interviews with Lucas, Spielberg, Ford, producer Kathleen Kennedy, Dial of Destiny director James Mangold, and more.

We Bought a Zoo (2011) new

We Bought a Zoo
Genre Drama, Comedy, Family
Stars Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church
Directed by Cameron Crowe

Adapted from author Benjamin Mee’s memoir of the same name, director Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo follows a family as they take on a massive project. Widowed father Benjamin Mee (played by Matt Damon) and his family move into a new home for a fresh start as they struggle to cope with his wife’s passing.

However, they’re only allowed to buy the new house if they buy the dilapidated zoo that’s also on the property. Head zookeeper Kelly Foster (played by Asteroid City‘s Scarlett Johansson) helps lead the renovation efforts in hopes that they will be able to reopen to the public. We Bought a Zoo is a rather predictable story, but its charming lead and feel-good tone make this a delightful comedy-drama for the family.

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron Man 3
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle
Directed by Shane Black

Alongside director James Gunn’s fairly recent Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, Iron Man 3 can still justify its place as a Christmas-themed Marvel movie. Director Shane Black’s installment of the Robert Downey Jr.-led trilogy has Tony Stark/Iron Man trying to find a way to cope with the aftermath of the Battle of New York that was waged in The Avengers.

Meanwhile, a grander conspiracy led by the shadowy Mandarin takes hold and threatens the U.S. Though it suffers somewhat from the MCU villain formula, Iron Man 3 is backed with thrilling action, an expectedly charismatic performance by Downey Jr., and meaningful growth for his character.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) new

Spider-Man: Far From Home
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal
Directed by Jon Watts

The streaming availability for Spider-Man movies isn’t always clear-cut due to the complicated licensing rights between Disney/Marvel Studios and Sony. However, Disney+ now adds director Jon Watts’ sophomore endeavor from his trilogy with Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his friends find themselves facing catastrophic supervillain threats while on a school trip across Europe, with the young man struggling to balance his life as a student with that of a hero with deadly serious responsibilities. Jake Gyllenhaal gives a spirited and connivingly entertaining performance as Mysterio, a disgruntled former Stark Industries employee looking to upend Peter’s life to tarnish Tony’s legacy.

Captain Marvel (2019)

Captain Marvel
64 %
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn
Directed by Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden

With Marvel Studios and director Nia DaCosta’s sequel The Marvels releasing in theaters, now is the best time to revisit the 2019 original. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s Captain Marvel chronicles the origin story of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and her road to becoming one of the most powerful figures in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Carol finds herself stuck in the middle of an intergalactic conflict while trying to recollect the memories of her life on Earth. Set against the backdrop of the ’90s, the movie puts an entertaining superhero spin on the Top Gun formula, tying together elements of this world’s past with the events that would eventually lead to Avengers: Endgame.

Deadpool (2016)

65 %
Genre Action, Adventure, Comedy
Stars Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein
Directed by Tim Miller

A spinoff X-Men movie from the Fox era of the franchise, director Tim Miller’s Deadpool was a surprise hit for the superhero genre. Led by the funny and charismatic Ryan Reynolds as the titular antihero, the movie follows the tragic origins of Wade Wilson and his relentless hunt for the man who ruined his life.

As tragic as his origins are, Deadpool seamlessly weaves in the character’s signature raunchy comedic edge from the comic book source material. The movie’s success further popularized the idea of R-rated superhero productions, with Reynolds’ casting proving to be a match made in heaven.

Deadpool 2 (2018)

Deadpool 2
66 %
Genre Action, Comedy, Adventure
Stars Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin
Directed by David Leitch

Director David Leitch takes the reins for Deadpool 2, which sees the beloved Merc With a Mouth take on a wider array of threats from the X-Men universe. Wade forces the X-Force superhero team to help save a young mutant boy from a ruthless time-traveling soldier named Cable (Josh Brolin).

Overall, Deadpool 2 doubles down on the action and comedic elements that made the original such a hit, and it largely pays off. Reynolds’ performance as the foul-mouthed mercenary with a heart of gold is as charismatic as fans would hope, and his chemistry with Brolin’s Cable is effortlessly entertaining.

Logan (2017)

77 %
Genre Action, Drama, Science Fiction
Stars Hugh Jackman, Dafne Keen, Patrick Stewart
Directed by James Mangold

Perhaps one of the best superhero movies in general, director James Mangold brought to screen Wolverine’s best theatrical outing in Logan. Set in an alternate canon separate from the mainline X-Men movies, this gritty tale sees a punished and battered Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) in a post-apocalyptic countryside where mutants are vehemently persecuted, killed, and experimented on for nefarious purposes.

Along the way, the aged pair ends up defending a young mutant girl named Laura from the mutant-hunting Reavers. A masterful blend of the superhero, neo-noir, and Western film genres and bolstered by Oscar-worthy performances from Jackman and Stewart, Logan is one of the most impactful comic book movies since The Dark Knight.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man: Homecoming
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction, Drama
Stars Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr.
Directed by Jon Watts

As the most lucrative singular superhero in pop culture, it was only a matter of time before Spider-Man was rebooted into Marvel Studios’ MCU. Tom Holland’s iteration of the Wall-Crawler came in Captain America: Civil War, but Spider-Man: Homecoming is the hero’s first solo outing.

Directed by Jon Watts, Peter finds himself grappling with the burden of being a responsible hero who still has to balance his day-to-day life as a high schooler, and he’s faced with Michael Keaton’s imposing Vulture as the villain leads crime sprees powered by alien technology. Spider-Man: Homecoming was a solid debut for the MCU’s rendition of this young hero, with Keaton’s villainous performance being a highlight.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023) new

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Genre Science Fiction, Adventure, Action
Stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista
Directed by James Gunn

After an extended delay, James Gunn finally came back to put his finishing touch on the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy with Vol. 3. Set after the events of Avengers: Infinite War and Endgame, Quill and the rest of the misfit superhero crew are still dealing with the death of their timeline’s Gamora.

Now joined by an alternate version of Gamora introduced in Endgame, the Guardians take off on a mission to rescue Rocket Raccoon from the High Evolutionary (played by Chukwudi Iwuji), an alien cyborg scientist who seeks to create his twisted idea of a perfect society. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has been praised for its relentlessly emotional approach and sendoff for this beloved team of underdog superheroes.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Genre Science Fiction, Adventure, Action
Stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista
Directed by James Gunn
Following up on the immense critical and commercial success of the original installment, James Gunn returns to the directing chair for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The movie takes place not long after the events of the first outing, with the dynamic main cast members (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel) reprising their roles as an unlikely collection of superheroes. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 sees the titular spacefaring team get involved in helping Peter Quill uncover the mystery of his parentage. This sophomore venture was well-received for building on the endearing relationships between the ragtag bunch of heroes and doubling down on the underlying emotional theme of the found family.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy
Genre Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista
Directed by James Gunn
James Gunn and co. have wrapped up their beloved trilogy of movies, and the original Guardians of the Galaxy still holds up well today. Released in 2014 not long after the hype of The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy successfully raised the bar at the time for how creative superhero team-up movies can be. Starring Chris Pratt, Zoë Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel, this MCU caper follows an unlikely group of antiheroes-turned-heroes who find themselves on the run when they steal one of the most important artifacts in the universe. What spawned into some of the strongest movies in Marvel Studios’ catalog, James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy managed to turn a ragtag group of characters into household names.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
68 %
Genre Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
Stars Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman
Directed by George Lucas
While George Lucas’ Star Wars Prequel Trilogy was largely seen as uneven, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith ended it on a strong note. Set during the waning days of the Clone Wars with the Republic fighting off the Separatists, Anakin Skywalker (played by Hayden Christensen) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Ewan McGregor) deal with a myriad of grim revelations threatening the stability and well-being of the galaxy. Between General Grievous wreaking mayhem as General of the Separatist army; Palpatine being outed as the Sith’s shadow puppet master; and two brothers-in-arms being turned cruelly against each other, this sci-fi epic is filled with dramatic spectacle. Revenge of the Sith lives up to the space opera atmosphere of the franchise and is packed with emotional weight to transition seamlessly into A New Hope.

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) new

Avatar: The Way of Water
Genre Science Fiction, Adventure, Action
Stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver
Directed by James Cameron
It was over a decade in the making, but director James Cameron finally followed up on 2009’s Avatar with The Way of Water. The movie was released to resounding commercial success, once again pushing the boundaries of visual effects in filmmaking. Avatar: The Way of Water sees Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña return as the Na’vi duo faces a renewed threat of human invasion. The two seek refuge among the aquatic Metkayina clan, expanding upon this still-budding universe’s expansive worldbuilding. The Way of Water managing to up the visual flair from its predecessor is quite the feat, considering the 2009 film’s effects still hold up fairly well.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) new

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Genre Adventure, Action
Stars Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman
Directed by Steven Spielberg

In preparation for Harrison Ford’s last hurrah as Indiana Jones, Disney+ is adding the series’ beloved classics. Directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the Lost Ark marks the debut of the fan-favorite adventurer trying to stop Nazi forces from securing a dangerous treasure.

The movie was revolutionary for its time, pushing the boundaries for action set pieces and the evolution of the pulpy adventure genre. Indiana Jones is still an iconic character, with the swashbuckling archeologist’s first theatrical outing holding up well even today.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) new

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Genre Adventure, Action
Stars Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Ke Huy Quan
Directed by Steven Spielberg

Director Steven Spielberg followed up on the blockbuster hit that was Raiders with the solid Temple of Doom. The plot follows Harrison Ford’s treasure-hunting adventurer arriving in India to retrieve a mystical stone and stop a bloodthirsty cult. The local villagers are desperate for Indy’s help, as the Thugee cult indulges in ritual sacrifices, sacrifices, and blood magic.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was well-received for its intense new story and darker approach, though, it was more controversial in the ’80s for its comparatively bleak atmosphere to Raiders.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) new

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Genre Adventure, Action
Stars Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott
Directed by Steven Spielberg

Once again helmed by Spielberg, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was a strong finish to the original three movies. While Temple of Doom was technically a prequel to Raiders, Last Crusade moves the timeline forward as Indy travels around the world to rescue his missing father Henry Jones (played by Sean Connery).

Jones Sr. went missing on a hunt for the Holy Grail and was held hostage by Nazis. Temple of Doom retroactively received the positive reception it deserved, but Last Crusade does well to reintegrate the lighter, swashbuckling atmosphere of the first movie.

Spider-Man 2 (2004) new

Spider-Man 2
Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco
Directed by Sam Raimi
Disney+’s Spider-Man catalog continues to grow, including Sam Raimi’s sophomore effort. Now with two years under his belt as New York City’s neighborhood hero, Spider-Man 2 has the character go up against the infamous Doctor Octopus. In the wake of the tragic death of Otto Octavius’ wife, he dons this villainous persona to recreate the unstable experiment that killed her. It’s tough for any movie to follow up on the praise of its predecessor, but Spider-Man 2 was widely acclaimed as the best in Raimi’s trilogy. The story is an emotionally powerful continuation of Peter’s character arc, filled with tragedy, redemption, and triumphant perseverance.

Spider-Man (2002)

Genre Fantasy, Action
Stars Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst
Directed by Sam Raimi

Spider-Man distribution rights are something of a tussle between Sony and Disney, but Disney+ now hosts some excellent legacy movies. Sam Raimi made his mark on the beloved character’s history with the Tobey Maguire-led Spider-Man.

Co-starring Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane, James Franco as Harry Osborne, and Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin, 2002’s Spider-Man is a soulful origin story with exhilarating action. It still holds up well over 20 years later and is a love letter to the iconic superhero’s comic book lore.

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers: Endgame
Genre Adventure, Science Fiction, Action
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

The Marvel Cinematic Universe built itself into a wildly lucrative property since 2008’s Iron Man. 11 years later, Avengers: Endgame was released to become a pop-culture phenomenon and the crossover event of the decade.

Reeling from the catastrophic events of Infinity War, the Avengers gather who remains to lead a final assault on the galactic conqueror Thanos. The Russo brothers managed to make Endgame a satisfying payoff to 11 years’ worth of mythos and cap off the Infinity Saga.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Avengers: Infinity War
Genre Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

One of the biggest comic book movie events in recent years, Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War is a jam-packed crossover event. The first in a two-part story with the sequel Endgame, Infinity War finally sees the cosmic threat Thanos — played menacingly by Josh Brolin — take his universe-wide fight to Earth and its mightiest heroes.

It delivers a long-awaited series of clashes and interactions between various heroes and villains, and is a major bright spot in the MCU’s catalog. Infinity War is constantly tense with action and revelations, setting the stage for this universe’s biggest narrative payoff.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain America: Civil War
Genre Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
Stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson
Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Marvel Studio’s Captain America trilogy raised the stakes with The Winter Soldier, often praised as being among the MCU’s best. Steve Roger’s trilogy closer, Civil War, was another solid follow-up this time functioning as a sort of mini Avengers film. In the aftermath of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the titular superhero team finds themselves starkly divided when pressures of international oversight mount over metahuman activity. Effectively divided into “Team Captain America” and “Team Iron Man,” Captain America: Civil War pits friends against friends in an explosive story.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira
Directed by Ryan Coogler

Since the tragic passing of actor Chadwick Boseman, the sequel to Black Panther was always going to have a somber atmosphere about it. However, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever succeeds in being a tasteful and touching tribute that advanced the story from this corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In the wake of King T’Challa’s death, the leaders of the nation need to rally together as Namor — the king of an ancient underwater civilization — leads an assault on Wakanda. Angela Bassett, in particular, leads the film with a commanding performance.

Finding Nemo (2003)

Finding Nemo
Genre Animation, Family
Stars Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould
Directed by Andrew Stanton

Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios can always be trusted to put together a memorable animated family movie. 2003’s Finding Nemo has since been regarded as a modern classic, transcending the decade it debuted in theaters.

Starring the likes of Ellen DeGeneres, Geoffrey  Rush, and Willem Dafoe, Finding Nemo tells the story of an overprotective clownfish named Marlin who goes on an ocean-wide quest with his forgetful friend Dory to find his lost son Nemo. The movie was released to critical acclaim for its charming brand of humor and heartfelt story that appeals to all audiences.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan
Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Widely considered to be one of the best movies to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an impressive sophomore entry in the titular hero’s film series. While most things in the mainline MCU aren’t particularly gritty, The Winter Soldier serves as an effective action-thriller with some conspiratorial intrigue. In this story, Captain America and Black Widow team up to uncover the seedy underbelly of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as the sudden reappearance of the ominous Winter Soldier. It’s a refreshing change of pace, injecting a welcome dose of dramatic grit into this vast cinematic world.

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Solo: A Star Wars Story
Genre Science Fiction, Adventure, Action
Stars Alden Ehrenreich, Joonas Suotamo, Woody Harrelson
Directed by Ron Howard
Though it underwhelmed at the box office, Lucasfilm’s Solo: A Star Wars Story managed to garner a moderately positive critical reception for its efforts. Solo sees the origin story of Han Solo played by Harrison Ford whom fans have long since come to know and love, with actor Alden Ehrenreich putting up an admirable performance as the young scoundrel on a series of high-octane space heists. From street kid to infamously talented bounty hunter, this Han is joined by a colorful and entertaining supporting cast, including Donald Glover’s take on a young Lando Calrissian and Game of Thrones alum Emilia Clarke’s portrayal of original character Qi’ra.

Return of the Jedi (1983)

Return of the Jedi
Genre Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
Stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Directed by Richard Marquand
Even if it doesn’t quite hold up to the astronomically high standards set by A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi is still a deeply rewarding conclusion to one of the greatest movie trilogies. After the revelations and fallout of Empire‘s climactic events between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, the young Jedi sets out on a mission to destroy the Empire’s second Death Star and defeat them for good. The Ewoks may overstay their welcome, but Return of the Jedi is similarly climactic and a resounding finish to Luke’s hero’s journey.

Avatar (2009)

83 %
pg-13 162m
Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver
Directed by James Cameron
It’s been a few months since Disney+ pulled Avatar so that people would watch it again in theaters. But now that Avatar: The Way of Water is here, James Cameron’s beautifully realized vision has returned. Sam Worthington stars as Jake Sully, a disabled Marine who is given the chance to replace his late brother in the Avatar program on the alien world, Pandora. Under the orders of Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), Jake’s mind inhabits an alien body similar to the Na’vi, Pandora’s native race. It’s Jake’s job to win the trust of the Na’vi, but his growing love for the Na’vi girl, Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), makes him realize that he’s on the wrong side.

Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther
88 %
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o
Directed by Ryan Coogler
The original Black Panther movie was an unexpected cultural phenomenon in 2018, on its way toward becoming one of the most successful superhero films ever made. Credit for that in large part goes to director Ryan Coogler, the late Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther, and a terrific supporting cast. Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger also gave T’Challa an incredibly compelling villain whose own tragic backstory challenges the Black Panther’s worldview. When Killmonger threatens to take over Wakanda itself, T’Challa will have to find it within himself to become the hero and the king that his people need.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
65 %
pg-13 133m
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk
Directed by Gareth Edwards
With the release of the political sci-fi thriller series Andor, it’s a good time to revisit Rogue One, one of the very best Star Wars movies of the Disney era. Director Gareth Edwards delivered a beautiful stand-alone film that serves as a prequel to the original Star Wars. Felicity Jones headlines the cast as Jyn Erso, a rebellious thief who is recruited to locate a former associate in order to receive a message from her long-missing father, Galen (Mads Mikkelsen). But soon enough, Jyn, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), and a ragtag team are on a suicide mission to steal the Death Star plans from the Empire in a desperate bid to save the Rebel Alliance.

Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story
95 %
g 81m
Genre Animation, Adventure, Family, Comedy
Stars Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles
Directed by John Lasseter
Toy Story was a game changer in every sense of the word for Pixar, Disney, and the entire animation industry. Prior to 1995, hand-drawn 2D animation reigned supreme. As Disney and Pixar’s first full-length computer-animated film, Toy Story was a revelation at the time. And it is still a technical marvel nearly three decades later. Tom Hanks stars as the voice of Woody, a cowboy action figure who is the favorite toy of a boy named Andy. Or at least he was until space ranger Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) came along. Woody’s attempt to get rid of his rival puts both toys in danger. And they can only save each other by working together.

Frozen (2013)

75 %
pg 102m
Genre Animation, Adventure, Family
Stars Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff
Directed by Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

How many times can you watch Frozen? Only your children know for sure. With the 10th anniversary of its release coming up soon, it has to be said that Frozen has earned its place in Disney history as perhaps the studio’s most popular film since the ‘90s. Idina Menzel stars as Elsa, the estranged Princess of Arendelle who is ostracized from the kingdom because of her incredible ability to bend ice and cold to her will. Kristen Bell also stars as Elsa’s sister, Anna. The sisters haven’t seen each other in years, but they will have to emotionally reconnect if they want to save the kingdom and each other.

Star Wars (1977)

Star Wars
90 %
pg 121m
Genre Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
Stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Directed by George Lucas

Forty -five years ago this week, the original Star Wars hit theaters and changed the movies forever. It was subsequently given the “Episode 4: A New Hope” name, but to the first generation of fans, it all starts here. In a desperate bid to keep Darth Vader (David Prowse with James Earl Jones as Vader’s voice) from retrieving the plans for a super weapon called the Death Star, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hides them with two droids. From there, destiny awaits a restless young man named Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), an exiled Jedi called Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), the Wookie Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), and the scoundrel known as Han Solo (Harrison Ford). Even after all of these years, it’s still a rousing space adventure.

Iron Man (2008)

Iron Man
79 %
pg-13 126m
Genre Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges
Directed by Jon Favreau
Before Jon Favreau wowed Star Wars fans with The Mandalorian, he helped found the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man. Unlike many of its MCU brethren, this movie feels a lot more grounded as Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has an epiphany after getting kidnapped by terrorists in Afghanistan. Instead of selling weapons, Tony decides to create an armored suit unlike anything ever created before under the wary eyes of his employee, Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and his shady business partner, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). Iron Man set the template for almost every comic book movie that came after it. And it’s now available to stream in its IMAX-enhanced aspect ratio.

The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers
69 %
pg-13 143m
Genre Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by Joss Whedon
It’s not an exaggeration to say that The Avengers changed the game for superhero movies. Marvel Studios’ first-ever team-up film brought together Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) together under the watchful eye of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to take on Thor’s estranged brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston). The heroes’ frequent personality clashes are even more engaging than the fights. Regardless, the climactic Battle of New York features the heroes at their best as they take on an alien invasion. It’s almost a perfect superhero film, even though it was upstaged by its sequels.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
82 %
pg 124m
Genre Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure
Stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Widely considered the best installment of the entire sci-fi saga, The Empire Strikes Back is the chapter that featured the most dramatic character arcs of the original trilogy and established both their legacies and the tragic events that intertwined their destinies. Not only that, but it also introduced some of the franchise’s most popular supporting characters, Lando Calrissian and Boba Fett, and featured one of the trilogy’s most memorable battles, set on the frozen planet of Hoth. After the heroic events of A New HopeThe Empire Strikes Back offered a far more somber exploration of the gritty realities of war against an oppressive, formidable force led by a seemingly indestructible foe: Darth Vader.

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Guillermo Kurten
Freelance Writer, Entertainment

A University of Houston graduate in Print Media Journalism, Guillermo has covered sports entertainment and practically all forms of geek culture as a freelance writer.

His young career so far has seen him write about soccer through websites including Read Bundesliga and Bayern Strikes, specializing in FC Bayern Munich. From there he moved on to Comic Book Resources, Game Rant, The Gamer, and Screen Rant to indulge his inner nerd, with over 2 years and counting as a senior writer at the latter.

Guillermo's interests span video games, movies, TV series, comic books, anime, and manga -- and if you're not careful, will talk your ear off specifically about the last 40-plus years of Batman lore.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Guillermo studied at Lone Star College in Texas before ultimately completing his Bachelor's degree.

Blair Marnell

Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek Monthly, SYFY Wire, Superhero Hype, Collider, DC Universe, and the official sites for Star Trek and Marvel. He also lends his pop culture expertise to Digital Trends on a variety of TV, movie, and streaming features.

Rick Marshall

A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and emerging technology, Rick has been writing for Digital Trends since 2011.

Over the years, Rick has served as an editor for MTV News and Wizard Magazine, as well as a columnist for Time Inc.,, Fandango, and He is a member of Critics Choice Association and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic for films and television series. A voracious consumer of movies and TV series, as well as a lifetime fan of comic books, video games, and all manner of geekery, his work can also be found in Mental Floss,, and various other print and online outlets.

Dubbed a "Professional Geek," Rick has appeared on Spike TV, MTV, ABC, CBS, Fox Business, and NPR to offer commentary on entertainment and pop culture trends. He served as co-producer and host of WAMC Northeast Public Radio's "RetConned" podcast, interviewing a wide spectrum of pop-culture personalities and creators from 2016-2018.

A native of New York's Capital Region, Rick began his journalism career at the alternative newsweekly Metroland. He was named the New York Press Association's Writer of the Year while covering local, state, and national news around New York's capital city and surrounding region.

Rick attended college at SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY Albany, earning degrees in Computer Science, Environmental Science, and Journalism. He is a proud father of two great kids, husband to an endlessly patient partner who tolerates his love for "The Transformers: The Movie," and a big fan of good beer.

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When Disney+ launched in 2019, it was understood that the biggest attractions were the Star Wars and Marvel original series. Nearly five years later, the rollout of shows from those franchises has slowed down to a virtual crawl. However, heading into this year's Star Wars Day, there are actually two new shows on the horizon. But we can't guarantee anything else Star Wars-related will arrive on Disney+ in 2024.

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This week is a big one, as four streaming services add films. Netflix serves up the Kellogg/Post rivalry comedy Unfrosted, starring Jerry Seinfeld. Peacock adds recent hit The American Society of Magical Negroes. Prime Video adds the Anne Hathaway romance The Idea of You. And Max has remastered and re-released Jonathan Demme's seminal concert film Stop Making Sense.
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