With both Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War Hulk-smashing box office records, the ability to draw large numbers of moviegoers into real, live cinemas might be the greatest super power today’s comic book heroes have in Hollywood—and they’re just getting started. Before the year is up, Deadpool and Ant-Man will both have sequels, Tom Hardy will get villainous in Venom, and Jason Momoa will get his Aquaman standalone. Fortunately, you won’t have to wait that long to plan your own comic book movie marathon. From The Crow to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, here are 11 of the best comic book movies you can currently find streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

[embedded content]

Given the immense popularity of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and the characters’ now exalted place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s easy to forget no one was really banking on this team of superhero misfits to storm the box office the way they did. Though Marvel had been teasing the idea as far back as 2009, it wasn’t until James Gunn was brought aboard in 2012 that Marvel’s powers-that-be—plus Joss Whedon, who was a consultant on the film—realized they had finally found the perfect match between moviemaker and material. That synergy continued with the film’s 2017 sequel, which offered more of the same type of space shenanigans, but dove deeper into the Guardians’ back stories, including the introduction of Ego (Kurt Russell), Peter Quill’s biological (and slightly unhinged) dad. Not to mention: Baby Groot.

Where to stream it: Netflix

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

[embedded content]

Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro used his talent for terror—and passion for Mike Mignola’s Hellboy character—to create a comic book movie that ably mixes horror, action, comedy, and the paranormal into one visually stunning feature with 2004’s Hellboy. He took that fervor one step further for its sequel, which finds Hellboy and his colleagues at the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense working to save humankind from Nuada Silverlance, an evil warrior elf who—in a fit of power-hungry madness—breaks an ancient pact to maintain harmony between humankind and their mystical counterparts. (Isn’t that the way it always goes?) As with the original film, it’s clear that Ron Perlman’s having a lot of fun playing the bright red demon, which makes it even more disappointing that a planned third outing was officially declared dead by del Toro in early 2017.

Where to stream it: Netflix

The Crow (1994)

[embedded content]

Though a reboot of The Crow starring Jason Momoa is set to arrive in theaters in 2019, no redux will be able to temper the morbid fascination that still surrounds the original film. In 1993, rising star Brandon Lee (son of Bruce Lee) was mortally wounded while filming a scene for the movie. One year later, audiences clamored to witness Lee’s on-screen resurrection—an experience that was made even more surreal by the fact that Eric Draven, his character in the film, is resurrected after being shot, stabbed, and thrown out of a window while attempting to fight off a gang of miscreants who were attacking his fiancée. But put all that real-life tragedy aside and The Crow remains a stellar vigilante story, with Alex Proyas’ dark and moody style proving a perfect fit for James O’Barr’s gritty comic book series.

Where to stream it: Amazon, Hulu

Sin City (2005)

[embedded content]

It’s probably the most faithful comic-to-film adaptation of all time—and it should be, as indie pioneer Robert Rodriguez enlisted Sin City creator Frank Miller as his co-director (with a little help from Quentin Tarantino for one scene). Rodriguez’s commitment to getting it right didn’t matter to the Directors Guild of America, which refused to sign off on Miller getting a directorial credit … so Rodriguez quit the DGA. The movie, which interweaves several plot lines—a thug attempting to figure out who murdered a beautiful prostitute, a cop with a heart condition trying to protect a stripper from becoming another victim—is all the better for it. The innovative film noir plays like a comic book panel come to life, with a one-of-a-kind style that literally changed the look of comic book movies. The technique is aided by a stellar cast that includes Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, and Jessica Alba. Come for the style, stay for the story.

Where to stream it: Netflix

Doctor Strange (2016)

[embedded content]

If there is such a thing as “prestige comic book movies,” Doctor Strange would be at the top of the list—not only for an amazing cast that includes Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role plus Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, and Michael Stuhlbarg, but also because it manages to fit perfectly within the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet float somewhere just outside of it simultaneously. Dr. Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is an impeccable-but-cocky neurosurgeon who has never met a medical challenge he doesn’t think he can conquer. But when a car accident leaves him with permanent damage to his hand that will make it impossible for him to operate, he goes searching for an experimental procedure to help regain control over his livelihood. Wanting to run before he can crawl, Dr. Strange teaches himself how to bend time and opens a Pandora’s Box of problems for his superhero cohorts, and his flesh-and-blood friends, leaving him to use his newfound powers to manipulate time to save the world (at least until the sequel arrives… if it ever arrives).

Where to stream it: Netflix

Watchmen (2009)

[embedded content]

Though it was largely panned when it was released in theaters, the negative campaign against the big-screen version of Watchmen began months before it was screened due to outcry from fans of the Alan Moore comic book series on which it is based. Moore, who is also the creative brain behind V for Vendetta and From Hell, has long made it known that his goal in creating groundbreaking works like Watchmen—which used a nine-panel grid layout and a nonlinear narrative that skipped through space and time to tell its story—was to illustrate the power of the comic book medium. Though director Zack Snyder remained faithful in his adaptation of Moore’s complex work, newcomers to the story ended up slightly confused, and many hardcore fans chose to ignore it altogether. But opinions on the film, which is smartly written, well acted, and impressively directed, have thankfully softened over time, with many moviegoers giving it a second chance, and discovering a whip-smart, visually stunning entry into the comic book genre.

Where to stream it: Amazon (a with Cinemax subscription)

Akira (1988)

[embedded content]

For many American moviegoers, Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s Akira was their introduction into the world of anime—and what a wild initiation it was. Based on Ôtomo’s own manga series, the film starts with a nuclear explosion that sets off World War III, and then fast-forwards 30 years into the future. In 2019, Tokyo (now known as Neo-Tokyo) has become a crime-ridden dystopia where gang violence, organ harvesting, terrorism, and the abuse of military power are everyday occurrences. But when teenage pals Kaneda and Tetsuo happen upon a secret government project, they might just be the city’s best bet for a brighter future.

Where to stream it: Hulu

V for Vendetta (2005)

[embedded content]

James McTeigue did the Wachowkis, his longtime mentors plus the writers and producers on this project, proud when he managed to successfully translate Alan Moore’s moody style to the big screen with V for Vendetta. Hugo Weaving plays V, an anarchist in a Guy Fawkes mask who is attempting to overthrow England’s new fascist-like regime with the help of Evey (Natalie Portman), a young woman whose commitment to the cause eventually overpowers her personal feelings of right versus wrong. Though Moore and his fans aren’t often enthusiastic about adaptations of his work, V for Vendetta struck a powerful enough chord with real-life freedom fighters that V’s mask has become an easily recognized symbol of protest.

Where to stream it: Netflix

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

[embedded content]

Like Hellboy, the Captain America franchise’s tendency to politicize its entries is one of the things that helps it stand out from its fellow comic book adaptations. Its most recent installment sees Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) facing off over the role—if any—government should play in determining which causes superheroes should defend. The disagreement becomes so heated the rest of the Avengers feel forced to pick sides … and nothing good ever comes from dividing a team of people who kick ass for a living.

Where to stream it: Netflix

Ghost World (2001)

[embedded content]

Before she was an Avenger, Scarlett Johansson played second fiddle to Thora Birch in Ghost World, Terry Zwigoff’s offbeat movie about two social outcasts who, upon graduating from high school, begin making plans to rent an apartment together. But as the summer unfolds, the longtime best friends find their lives heading in two different directions as Rebecca (Johansson) leans more into the mainstream after getting a job at a coffee shop and Enid (Birch) befriends a lonely restaurant manager (Steve Buscemi) who she initially tried to prank by responding to his lonely hearts ad. Birch and Johansson’s practiced deadpan plays in stark contrast to Buscemi’s self-deprecating-but-still-hopeful take on the world, but together they tell a masterful story about alienation and self-loathing that is as painfully funny as it is heartbreaking.

Where to stream it: Amazon (with a Starz subscription)

The Dark Knight (2008)

[embedded content]

With all due respect to Christian Bale—who looks great in a Batsuit, but sounds oddly like one of Austin Powers’ enemies as he growls his way around Gotham City—the success of Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the Batman franchise has always seemed to rest with its villains. Nowhere is this point more clearly made than in The Dark Knight. Heath Ledger, who died six months before the film’s release, posthumously won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as The Joker—and deservedly so, his performance is mesmerizing. And while Ledger plays his role with a perfect mix of insanity, intensity, and dark humor, his performance is perfectly balanced with the kind of gorgeous action scenes that have kept Nolan’s Batman movies at the top of everyone’s list.

Where to stream it: Amazon (with a Cinemax subscription)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here