There are superheroes everywhere. Every few months, a new movie is released featuring a new superhero or following up on the story of the ones we have already met. In fact, I think, for the coming decade at least, the schedule is pretty packed! But it’s not just the silver screen, our TV screens have been graced with the presence of all kinds of superheroes. There are just so many stories out there now that it seems an impossible task to catch up with all of them. It’s hard to keep track of so many things all at once. Netflix makes this task easier. It offers you a wide selection of movies and TV shows featuring the stories of superheroes. You can take your pick, spend two hours watching a film or dedicate the whole day to binge watch a show. The following is the list of the best superhero movies and shows that you can stream on Netflix:
19. Batman vs Superman (2016)
The title of this film was enough to bring all the comic book fans from all walks of life together in a theatre. Who wouldn’t want to watch the epic battle between the two most powerful superheroes, not only in DCEU but all the combined universes? All the filmmakers had to do was make sure that this film would be absolutely epic. Unfortunately, it failed to exceed expectations, barely meeting them. However, it wasn’t so bad a film. People just couldn’t get over how great Christopher Nolan’s Bat-verse was. Anyhow, ‘Batman vs Superman’ laid a foundation, even if a bit shaky, for DC’s universe, something that fans had been waiting for since a very long time.
18. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Alright, this wasn’t the best time in the world of Spider-man. For that matter, this series shouldn’t even have happened. Especially considering that ‘Iron Man’, and a couple of other MCU stuff’ had come out by then. Sony should have given up the rights long ago. But then, we wouldn’t have had Tom Holland as the web-slinging teenager in the present form. Anyway, let bygones be bygones. Andrew Garfield did try his best. This film was a reboot to the origin story of Peter Parker and how he got bit by a spider. It was darker, had more backstory for the superhero and his family, introducing some new, interesting villains for Spider-man. Overall, it was a rather good film, and immensely successful at the box-office.
17. The Umbrella Academy (2019- present)
One of Netflix’s latest offerings came in the form of a band of orphan superheroes who reunite after a long time to solve a mystery surrounding the man who raised them. In 1989, a strange thing happens. More than 40 women, who hadn’t been pregnant a day before, give birth to children, at the same time. A billionaire adopts a bunch of them and forms what is called, the Umbrella Academy. These children show all kinds of superpowers and live together, learning how to control them. However, they grow up, stuff happens, and soon, they part ways, from each other and their benefactor. Years later, the benefactor dies, leaving behind a mystery which these superheroes now need to solve, because the doomsday clock is silently ticking away somewhere.
16. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
By the time this film came out, the MCU had already established its world of the Avengers quite solidly. The standalone films, especially the ones with the origin stories, usually featured a single character, assisted by the sidekicks, and the whole film would be about their character development and how they got where they got. With ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, it was a bit different matter. To begin with, it wasn’t a story about a single character, and to think about it now, it never would have worked that way. It was about a bunch of misfits who come together in desperate circumstances, fight their way through problems, and become a family, no matter how dysfunctional, by the end. With great, classic-music and a group of eccentric characters, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ became a crucial piece of the puzzle that tied up the whole MCU into one unit.
15. Doctor Strange (2016)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been very patient in building its universe. One phase at a time, it strategically brought one superhero after another to create an intricate world. This patience has not only given time to the audience to accept so many characters, but it also gave the production house to properly develop the storyline for its characters while also casting them perfectly. After playing the eccentric ‘Sherlock’, Benedict Cumberbatch took on the role of another “full of self” character. Doctor Stephen Strange is a genius when it comes to being a neurosurgeon, but an utterly arrogant man when it comes to being human. An accident knocks a sense of humility into him and brings him into the world of mystic arts and mirror dimensions.
14. Ant-Man (2015)
To be honest, I didn’t have many expectations from ‘Ant-Man’. ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ had just come out, and despite the awesome James Spader voicing what was in all sense and purposes, the brain-child of Tony Stark, I was a bit disappointed by the film. Better MCU movies had come out by then (‘The Winter Soldier’), and the letting down from what was supposed to be a great event didn’t create a favourable mood. So, when ‘Ant-Man’ came out, it felt like a breath of fresh air. It was fun, it was refreshing, it was the perfect summer movie. Paul Rudd was great as the shrinking superhero, but it was Michael Pena’s Luis who truly stole the show.
13. The Defenders (2017)
While the Avengers have been kicking ass in theatres, Marvel has brought together another team of superheroes on the TV screens of its audience. Four series had been launched with the characters of some strong superheroes in the lead, and this show became a converging point for all of them. ‘Daredevil’, ‘Jessica Jones’, ‘Luke Cage’ and ‘Iron Fist’ unite in this show to form the team of ‘The Defenders’, once they realise that they’ll not be able to fight the latest threat alone. No matter how they worked in their individual series, bringing these misfits together was a great idea and worked rather favourably for all of them. Not that it matters now since all these series have been cancelled by their respective networks. But you can always hold on to hope and binge watch this show.
12. Hellboy (2004)
Based on the comic book series of the same name, ‘Hellboy’ tells the story of a demon child who lives in the contemporary world, working for FBI’s Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. It all started during the Second World War. Hitler’s obsession with the mystic arts was known to everyone, and the Nazis had been working on a lot of things (which has worked as a premise for a great number of stories). One of those things was the opening of a portal to allow the demons from other worlds to enter ours and defeat the Allied powers. However, their plans were thwarted and an infant demon was left behind, who was adopted by one of the officers of the Allied team and is now saving the world. His team includes Liz Sherman, a woman with pyrokinetic powers, and Abe Sapien, a humanoid who also happens to be a psychic.
11. The Avengers (2012)
What began with ‘Iron Man’ turned out to be a grand spectacle in ‘The Avengers’. It marked the completion of the first phase in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. The original team of the Avengers had been brought together for the first time to see how they would work with each other. In true sense, it marked the beginning of the age of superheroes. This film also introduced us to the storyline that would ultimately align the whole universe of MCU and gave us a glimpse of the mad-titan who would go on to wipe half the universe. This film was the beginning of the mania that now surrounds the fans. You can also imagine the evolution of the characters over the years, considering how Loki was the villain in this film, and how his death in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ broke all hearts. It is also a good time to revisit ‘The Avengers’ because, from all we know, we will go back to this time in the upcoming ‘Endgame’.
10. The Punisher (2017-2019)
The character of the Punisher was first introduced in the second season of ‘Daredevil’ and was then developed as a spin-off series which would have ultimately merged into ‘The Defenders’. It focused on the story of a mercenary named Frank Castle whose quest starts with the exacting of revenge against the people who murdered his family. Once he gets to the root of it, he realises that the conspiracy goes deeper than he had expected. The show received a great response but just after two seasons, Netflix decided to call quits on the show, and for the whole Defenders universe for that matter. The decision met some backlash from the fans, including Eminem!
9. Titans (2018- present)
DC is known for its dark characters, and while the movies have only shown the tip of the iceberg, it is the shows that are consistently presenting its diversity on-screen. This show focuses on a particular group of superheroes who are still getting a hang of their powers. The members of this squad include Dick Grayson, the first Robin, trained by none other than the Batman himself; Starfire, a woman who doesn’t know where she came from or how she got hold of her mysterious powers; Rachel Roth, a girl whose mood defines her power at the moment, a daughter of a demon, no less; and Garfield Logan, an ex-member of Doom Patrol who is suffering from the side effects of a drug that once saved his life.
8. Black Lightning (2018- present)
Picking another character out of its diverse range of superheroes, last year, DC offered another series based on its comic world. It shows the story of a high school principal who is forced to return to his old ways when the danger comes knocking at the door of his neighbourhood. Jefferson Pierce had worked as the Black Lightning for a long time, but now he is retired. He has a family and a proper career, for all intents and purposes, he has settled down. But with great power comes the responsibility of being a danger magnet. No matter what, it will always find you. When a similar situation arises, Pierce is forced to take back the mantle, this time assisted by his superpowered daughters.
7. Jessica Jones (2015- present)
After an unfortunate event, Jessica Jones decides to retire from her life as a superhero and starts an investigation agency. With her limited powers, she dedicates her life to solving cases, especially the ones involving people with superhuman abilities. However, one thing leads to another and she finds herself back at square one, forced to confront her real self to the one she is trying to be. Krysten Ritter perfected the role of the dry, often offensively sarcastic, superheroine. The upcoming third season of the show will also be its last season.
6. Daredevil (2015-2018)
Matt Murdock had been blinded as a child, but this disability turned into his favour when the rest of his senses were heightened. Grown up and living in New York City, Murdock works as a criminal lawyer by the day, and a vigilante superhero by the night. ‘Daredevil’ marked the beginning of MCU’s effort to bring together ‘The Defenders’ on TV screens. Apart from that, it also introduced the character of Frank Castle/The Punisher, which was developed into a series of its own. It was recently cancelled after a run of three seasons, nonetheless, ‘Daredevil’ had been a good show.
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5. Iron Man (2008)
For any story, its characters are the most important things. For a film, the casting needs to be done right if you want the story to work. And no one knows the importance of this more than MCU. No matter what the consistency of their films, the one thing that Marvel always got right was the casting. It would be hard to invest in the story of a hero if we thought that the role would suit someone else better. Fortunately, no such thing happened for the heroes of MCU. Robert Downey Jr. as ‘Iron Man’ was a perfect choice. I mean, you can’t imagine anyone else as the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist! ‘Iron Man’ was a great origin story and a good choice to begin the universe which is an unstoppable force now.
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4. Arrow (2012- present)
Oliver Queen was a billionaire who was stranded on an island for five years. Fighting his way through the struggles he has to go through, Oliver returns home as a changed man. His experience has taught him a lot of things and has given him the knowledge that he previously lacked. Now, he spends his nights as a hooded vigilante who exacts justice on the criminals and protects his city against the enemies who aim to destroy everything. ‘Arrow’ has met with a successful run, recently being renewed for an eighth season. It has also acted as a base camp for the expansion of DC’s universe on the television, inspiring spin-offs like ‘The Flash’ and ‘Legends of Tomorrow’.
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3. Gotham (2014- present)
Batman is one of the most popular superheroes of all, and his story has been portrayed on the screen more times than most. Every reboot, every new franchise tries to add something new to his storyline, and ‘Gotham’ is another attempt to present his story in a new light. However, it is not just his story that the show focuses on. In fact, the main character of this series turns out to be the police detective James Gordon. Starting from Gordon’s early days in the force, while Bruce Wayne was still young and, in the making, the series also gives us the origin story of many other characters, especially the villains, like Selina Kyle, The Riddler, The Penguin, Poison Ivy, among others. Considering how bleak things are right now for the Batman on the silver screen, ‘Gotham’ actually gives you a lot of things to stay happy with.
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2. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2013- present)
As grand as its universe is becoming in the movies, MCU isn’t hesitating from taking it further in its TV series. The fate of ‘The Defenders’, and all shows related to it has gone down the drain, but the best of them all is still going strong. Walking hand in hand with the movies, the show focuses on Phil Coulson and his team of agents saving the world while the Avengers are on a break. The show provides a wider platform for the exploration of the MCU. The show actively refers to the movies while handling its timeline and some of the characters from the films have appeared in the series as well. Hydra, the Inhumans, the Kree, the agents of SHIELD have faced all these forces. Considering this, the Avengers are actually lagging behind!
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1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
For me, this is the best Marvel movie, to date. What sets it apart from others is that it walks more in the genre of spy thriller and relies considerably less on the superhero crutch to support its storyline. After the Battle of New York, it shows Steve Rogers coming to terms with his life and his work as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, he gets suspicious after a series of events, and the danger is exaggerated on him, as well as the agency, with the coming of a mysterious assassin who seems single-handedly capable of taking down any and all forces. Directed by the Russo brothers, the film changed the tone and the mood of the character after ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’. The film has some great action sequences and is a thrill to watch until the very end.
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