clock menu more-arrow no yes
Gal Gadot runs through No Man’s Land as Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman.

Filed under:

19 comic-book movies you can now stream on Netflix, HBO & more

Marvel movies, DC movies, and a few manga adaptations for good measure.

Warner Bros. Pictures

If you buy something from a Polygon link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

A wise uncle once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” A wise Polygon employee once said, “With great time on your hands, comes great responsibility to pore over Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every available streaming movie platform to remind people what’s worth their time.” Fair enough.

We’ve heeded the call. While it doesn’t take a Brainiac to log on and check Netflix’s offerings, finding something of note, or knowing where your favorite movies can actually be found, can feel like leaping a tall building in a single bound. Allow us to flex our super strength and recommend some comic-book movies you’ll want to watch, rewatch, or play in the background as you futz around on your computer. Nothing says multitasking productivity like the sound of Tony Stark grunting.

Here’s what you can watch right now:

Avengers: Infinity War - close-up of Thanos looking down Marvel Studios/Disney

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

The “most ambitious crossover in cinematic history” represents the culmination of a decade’s worth of Marvel Cinematic Universe world-building — and feels just as epic on the small screen. From Iron Man to Doctor Strange, from Groot to Shuri, all the heroes from the Marvel movie properties come together in this lengthy and epic adventure. Chock full of action and a few laughs, too (“Why is Gamora?”), Avengers: Infinity War is an impressive feat.

Available to stream on Netflix

Black Panther walks through burning wreckage Marvel Studios

Black Panther (2018)

Whether or not it snags the coveted Best Picture Oscar nomination, Black Panther has already redefined the superhero genre, marking forward strides in representation, garnering critical approval, and absolutely dominating the box office. T’Challa is the hero of the story, but villain Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) is the standout, a character whose mission is rooted in the African-American diaspora. Black Panther is one of the most politically charged Marvel films to date, and we’ll be happy to revisit it as many times as we can before it disappears (and inevitably resurfaces on the upcoming Disney Plus platform).

Available to stream on Netflix

bulletproof monk MGM

Bulletproof Monk (2003)

Fact: Seann William Scott is an A-grade comedy talent and the only reason people think otherwise is because of the regressive, sophomoric flameout of the American Pie franchise. He’s underrated in movies like Dude, Where’s My Car?, Goon, and Cop Out, and while this adaptation of Michael Avon Oeming’s graphic novel won’t be topping action-movie lists anytime soon, his comedy chops alongside straight man Chow Yun-fat make this more than a Rush Hour knockoff. Believe it. Produced by (and owing everything to) John Woo, Bulletproof Monk is Americanized wuxia steeped in early 2000s pop culture, a play for Matrix money that proves casting and choreographing is all you need for a good time.

Available to stream on Hulu

the dark knight batman poster Warner Bros. Pictures

The Dark Knight (2008)

Rewatching The Dark Knight is a reminder that we may never see another movie like Christopher Nolan’s Batman sequel ever again. From the opening heist — which still benefits from pristine IMAX photography — to the practical-stunt-heavy car chases to Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning Joker performance to the debatable politics and the Batman growl, every second of the film is a choice. The precision is rarer and rarer in blockbusters today, but love or hate The Dark Knight’s grim take on superheroism, the movie demands attention for being born out of a singular vision.

Available to stream on Netflix

batman and the flash in the flashpoint paradox 2011 DC Animation

The Flashpoint Paradox (2011)

A slew of recent DC animated films are now on DC Universe, and there are gems among them. Adapted from DC’s Flashpoint crossover event, The Flashpoint Paradox finds Barry Allan a.k.a. The Flash in an alternate timeline where Aquaman and Wonder Woman are leading a combined Atlantean-Amazonian campaign against mankind, Cyborg leads the global faction against them, and Batman, now Thomas Wayne, having taken up the mantle after Joe Chill killed his son Bruce, is hunting down The Joker a.k.a. Martha frickin’ Wayne. A violent, unnerving episode in the DC animated-verse, Barry’s quest to undo the chaos — which becomes a form of self-sacrifice — is high stakes from beginning to end.

Available to stream on DC Universe

guardians of the galaxy vol 2 baby groot Marvel Studios

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017)

There is a Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon you can find on Disney XD, but... we essentially got the sugar-puff-gorging, Saturday-morning version of the team in this sequel. With a rollicking plot and plenty of sight gags (Yondu and Rocket’s bug-eyed portal jumping is an MCU all-timer), James Gunn’s follow-up is a dessert course of Pop Rocks and Coke in the never-ending meal that is the Avengers mega-franchise. Honestly, it’s amazing that what happens at to Yondu at the end packs such a punch considering every turn in this movie has the weight of a Monty Python sketch. We’ll keep mum on the spoilers, just in case you need to catch up with this one on streaming.

Available to stream on Netflix

Ron Perlman as hellboy in the 2004 film Columbia Pictures

Hellboy (2004)

Before Pacific Rim and Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro took on Mike Mignola’s iconic character Hellboy. By caking star Ron Perlman in latex and red paint, del Toro’s take struck a middle ground between the extremes of outlandish superhero movies (Batman & Robin) and hesitantly “comic book” adaptations (X-Men) — long before the MCU cracked the same code. Today the movie is a relic of character-first adventures, an installment in a grander story, perhaps, but standalone all the same. Before the overtly “badass” remake swoops in this spring, catch up with del Toro’s version, which is brimming with cigar-chomping, cat jokes and Lovecraftian horrors.

Available to stream on Netflix

justice league dark - Constantine and batman DC Animation

Justice League Dark (2017)

While we’re still crossing our fingers that the aforementioned Guillermo del Toro might make good on his teased live-action Justice League Dark movie (Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman is currently circling that project), DC animated delivered the next best thing. Despite forcing Batman into the supernatural action mystery, John Constantine, Zatanna, Deadman, Etrigan the Demon, Black Orchid, and Swamp Thing all enter the cartoon pantheon in this creepy adventure where they take on the master sorcerer, Destiny.

Available to stream on Hulu

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the production team behind Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, dabbled in subversive superhero adaptations before. The Lego Batman Movie riffs on the concept of Batman as an angst-fueled antihero loner, but does so in a very loving and affectionate way. Snubbed for a Best Animated Picture nod in favor of The Boss Baby, The Lego Batman Movie is funny, without being overly goofy, and packs a tender-hearted message in its tongue-in-cheek humor.

Available to stream on HBO Go

wolverine and x-1 in logan 20th Century Fox

Logan (2017)

Nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at last year’s Oscars, Logan puts a button on the nine-picture arc of cinema’s Weapon X, as well as Hugh Jackman’s run as the character, up there with Sean Connery’s history-stamping take on James Bond. Looking back at the movie a year later, Fox’s decision to go “hard R” with the final picture overshadowed what’s truly great about it, and while it’ll have rewatch value for years to come: Jackman and Patrick Stewart forge something here that can only be built after 17 years of playing off one another, and writer-direct James Mangold mounts frightening drama by pushing their individual superpowers past their limits. Plus the girl who plays X-23 is really good! Where’s her YA movie spinoff? If you need some more X-treme fun, check out X2, also on HBO. If you need X-istential dread, dare to revisit the streamable X-Men: Origins - Wolverine.

Available to stream on HBO Now and HBO Go

oldboy hammer scene Magnolia Pictures

Oldboy (2003)

Based on Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi’s mid-’90s manga series, this grimy revenge noir has aged like a man trapped in a motel room for 15 years. Unhinged and operatic, the journey of Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) maintains the episodic nature of a Japanese page-turner, Park Chan-wook ratting the cage each time a nerve pops during incarceration, a synapse misfires and causes him to consume stuff a live octopus into his mouth, or his emotional compass cracks in two after... well, we still won’t spoil it. If you’ve only ever seen the side-scrolling hammer fight on YouTube, sit down and finally watch Oldboy.

Available to stream on Crackle and Kanopy

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women - Bella Heathcote, Rebecca Hall Annapurna Pictures

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017)

2017’s second Wonder Woman movie tells the story of William Moulton Marston, who along with his wife Elizabeth and Olive Byrne — the third point in their polyamorous trifecta — went on to create the most iconic female superhero of all time. Completely overlooked during its theatrical run, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is a sturdy biopic that doesn’t flinch from the sexual drive of its main characters or the kink roots of Princess Diana of Themyscira. You won’t get that gravity on Wikipedia.

Available to stream on Hulu

michael cera in scott pilgrim vs the world Universal Pictures

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

Time has been kind to Edgar Wright’s adaptation the Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Canadian shōnen tale. While his recent Baby Driver skyrocketed at the box office thanks to adrenaline-pumping action and musical calculus, the vision involved with replicating O’Malley’s video-game influences and magical realist love story, while maintaining the cinematic voice established in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, makes Scott Pilgrim the kind of pure pop expression you only find at a modern art museums. The dimensional, Super Nintendo-esque CG holds up, the cast is stacked, and the humor all springs forth from familiar, awkward situations. It all clicks. A masterpiece.

Available to stream on Netflix

spider-man - tobey maguire in 2002 Sony Pictures

Spider-Man (2002)

Remember when there was only one Spider-Man movie, existing alone in its own vacuum, eying a possible trilogy at best? Not to be nostalgic — we like the MCU’s Spider-Man: Homecoming just fine! — but Sam Raimi’s webslinging adventure benefits from the lack of an expanded universe, delivering the due diligence of an origin story with romance, adventure, and never-been-done, high-velocity visual effects. There’s an old fashioned beginning, middle, and end to the script by David Koepp (Jurassic Park) with an emphasis on moments: Peter saving the cafeteria lunch tray, the upside down kiss, Willem Dafoe’s Jekyll/Hyde mirror conversations — it’s like the movie was bit by a radioactive comic book.

Available to stream on FX Now

Thor: Ragnarok - Hulk, Thor, Valkyrie, Loki Marvel Studios/Disney

Thor Ragnarok (2017)

After the doldrums of Thor: Dark World, director Taiki Waititi took over the Asgardian hero and made him fun. We’re talking an entire planet of trash controlled by a charismatic Jeff Goldblum (he’s essentially playing a grandiose version of himself, let’s be real), the Hulk reaching galactic fame as a space gladiator, Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie shooting at bad guys with a giant gun, the millionth return of Loki, and epic and stunning villain Hela, as played by Cate Blanchett. Though it’s a fun space romp, Ragnarok shows a maturation in both Thor and Loki and doesn’t shy away from a pretty apocalyptic conclusion.

Available to stream on Netflix

v for vendetta guy fawkes mask Warner Bros. Pictures

V for Vendetta (2005)

Produced by the Wachowskis and helmed by their longtime second-unit director, James McTeigue, this adaptation of Alan Moore’s graphic novel came off a little too Matrix-y when it hit the scene. In today’s political climate, the the freedom fighting exploits of V (Hugo Weaving) and Evey (Natalie Portman) may strike a more haunting chord. V for Vendetta combines Rorschachian politics of Moore’s original text with the glossy, Guy Fawkes iconography and a bleak backdrop that feels all too real in when given high-budget production value. But Iron Man this is not — if the doom and gloom is too much for you, maybe hold off on this one for awhile.

Available to stream on Netflix

Warner Bros. Pictures

Watchmen (2009)

As far as comic book adaptations go, Zack Snyder’s Watchmen is one of the best. Besides translating most of Alan Moore’s work panel for panel, the film is well-served by Snyder’s love of grandiosity and slow motion, with audio (courtesy Bob Dylan and Mozart, among others) and visuals mixing to gorgeous effect. It’s also the rare superhero story to find a good balance between the ordinary and the extraordinary, as only one of the characters has any form of superpower, and the rest find themselves bound by the times — the Cold War, government regulations — as well as their own personal hang-ups. Though the changed ending ruffled a few feathers, we’d argue it’s for the best — why not give it a watch and judge for yourself?

Available to stream on Netflix

Gal Gadot runs through No Man’s Land as Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman. Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Wonder Woman (2017)

Wonder Woman 1984, the sequel to DC Films’ first acclaimed superhero movie, will arrive on June 5, 2020. That means you have just around 500 days to revisit this confident, grand standalone picture. Real talk: the final showdown with Ares is a total bust, ripped from the seemingly defunct Justice League playbook, but director Patty Jenkins nails Diana’s origin material, down to the Spider-Man-like let’s-see-just-how-far-these-powers-will-take-me jumping sequence. And even in the era of stiff, previsualized action, Jenkins delivers rousing, personality-filled combat when Diana enters the No Man’s Land and fights her way to a town under attack. Credit goes to Gal Gadot, whose playfulness in the down moments makes her strength all the more surprising. Wonder Woman isn’t Richard Donner’s Superman, but working in the modern blockbuster mold, it’s the closest anyone may come to character-first, on-screen superheroics ever again.

Available to stream on HBO Now and HBO Go

x-men days of future past - james mcavoy and patrick stewart 20th Century Fox

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

This movie is better than you remember. Right? We’re feeling confident on this one. If you’re looking for a sure-thing X-Men movie, by all means, watch The Wolverine (also on FX), but the X-universe’s decision to siphon The Avengers epicness by transporting the first trilogy cast through time to meet with the prequel trilogy cast, and using Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s legendary storyline to do it, was a risk worth taking and a movie worth watching. The future material is where all the bonkers, CG-filled action goes down. In the ‘70s, where Wolverine hunts the creator of the Sentinel robots, the movie amounts to a great clash of actor talents, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, and Michael Fassbender chewing scenery and dotting every sentence with existential punctuation. It’s a circus of a movie, and balanced in stark contrast to the too-big-for-its-own-good X-Men: Apocalypse.

Available to stream on FX Now