So, you’ve seen Civil War two or three times, you liked X-Men: Apocalypse more than is cool, and you definitely had an opinion on Batman v Superman. Perhaps, if you’re a hardcore superhero fanboy, you even went to see the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ( ).
But now there’s nothing until Suicide Squad, and the rest of 2016 is looking a little grim. Netflix has your back. Check out these five superhero movies and shows currently available to watch on the streaming service, plus one from Amazon Prime and a bonus for international Netflix subscribers.
It’s hard to put a comic book on the screen. Most superhero movies are action flicks that happen to feature superheroes, paying homage to the comics they draw from without visually adapting them. Sin City is nothing like your standard comic book movie, and not much like any other movie you’ve ever seen (except for Sin City 2, and we don’t talk about that).
A truly killer ensemble cast including Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson and Benicio del Toro preside over a ton of gore, beautifully rendered in black and white with splashes of red used to highlight murder and bloodshed. And there’s a lot of it. Legendary comic book author Frank Miller and genre master Robert Rodriguez come together behind the camera to make Sin City a visual experience to die for.
The first X-Men flick is often credited with being the film to make serious business out of modern superhero movies, but 11 years prior to that, Tim Burton’s deliciously dark Batman did a truly superb job of capturing the sleaze of Gotham City. It works because amid the darkness and grit is a certain camp and a sense of how ridiculous this world and the freaks who inhabit it are.
And Batman really is a freakshow. While Michael Keaton makes a fine Caped Crusader, it’s Jack Nicholson as the Joker who really steals the show. This Clown Prince is more of a psycho-goofball than Heather Ledger’s later, darker incarnation, while other favorites from the Batman comics like Harvey Dent, Jim Gordon and Vicki Vale pop up to flesh out Burton’s beautifully hideous Gotham.
Not the best Batman movie, but one everybody needs to see at least once.
Hellboy may not be the best known superhero, but it’s impossible to argue with any movie that begins with an alien demon entering Scotland via a portal from deep space built by occult Nazis. The demon in question goes on to be nurtured and raised as Hellboy, a red-skinned superhero built like a beast.
Its story may be far more adventurous than the superhero squad movies currently impossible to escape, but more impressive still is director Guillermo del Toro’s eye for gorgeous visuals. Hellboy is a left-of-field delight.
Although Daredevil‘s second season is more recent, the first season of Jessica Jones remains Netflix’s best original superhero series to date – although describing it as a superhero series feels like a mislabelling, seeing as Jessica rarely uses her powers.
Jones put down her (metaphorical) cape after a traumatic event in her past, which comes back to haunt her in the present when the villainous Kilgrave turns up in Hell’s Kitchen, the NYC neighborhood where Jessica spends her time investigating mundane mysteries for rich clients and drinking herself stupid.
Jessica Jones explores difficult themes like mental and sexual abuse without ever feeling preachy. The final third of the season is wall-to-wall brilliance made for a good binge-watch, and Krysten Ritter deserves serious recognition for her portrayal of the damaged and down-but-not-out heroine.
“Why would I watch Catwoman, the purring butt of all superhero movie jokes?,” I hear you ask. Let’s rephrase that question: why wouldn’t you watch Catwoman? How many other movies star Halle Berry as a woman killed, revived as an Egyptian Mau cat and self-assigned a mission to investigate the evil boss of a cosmetics company?
Beyond its leading lady and Sharon Stone, the careers of pretty much every single person involved in this movie promptly died when it hit theaters, made a pathetic amount of money and won all the Razzies. Even the director, some guy you’ve never heard of, fell into obscurity. The omens were there as soon as Catwoman herself was renamed Patience Phillips, essentially erasing decades of DC Comics history.
Still, there are several amazing drinking games to be enjoyed while watching Berry and Stone strut, purr and chew the scenery. Crack a bottle (nothing too expensive), and by the time the credits roll you’ll be feline good.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Amazon Prime)
If you’re not part of Team Netflix, but rather of the Amazon Prime persuasion, the selection of superhero flicks available to you is pretty limited, but you could do worse than 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Jonathan Liebesman directs this reboot of the classic story in which four crime-fighting anthropomorphic turtles team up with a news reporter to fight crime in New York, and to his credit he makes a much more entertaining adventure out of it than you might expect. Megan Fox is also (whisper it) quite good as April O’Neil, despite winning a Razzie for it.
Guardians of the Galaxy (European Netflix)
I’m afraid you’re bang out of luck if you live Stateside, but Netflix subscribers in most European territories are able to bask in the cosmic glory of possibly Marvel’s best movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, as of this month.
James Gunn directs the tale of a band of space explorers brought together and forced to survive in a sleazy, colorful world populated by pirates, bounty hunters and various other freaks. What’s amazing about Guardians is how it captures the sheer sense of fun of the original Star Wars trilogy, thanks to a stellar cast, an ’80s soundtrack to die for and a story that bops along merrily until its superb climax. Even Vin Diesel, voicing a humanoid tree, is excellent.
Presiding above all of it is the threat of Thanos, the Titan looking to complete his gauntlet of six Infinity Stones in order to gain complete control of the universe. Standard.
You are the Princess Shireen of the House Baratheon, and you are my daughter.