Superhero Films & Television Series On Netflix 2021
SUPERHERO FILMS AND TELEVISION SERIES ON NETFLIX
You’d have to be living under a rock not to notice that the most successful trend in Hollywood in the last two decades has been superhero films. The spandex-clad cadre of muscle-bound heroes and villains from DC and Marvel Comics have sent box office revenues soaring, to the thrill of studio execs and moviegoers alike. While many superhero films and television series have migrated to the Mouse House following Disney’s acquisition of Marvel Studios, not all of the spandex-wearing community followed suit. Fear not, true believers- there’s a plethora of comic book films available on Netflix to satisfy your desire to see people in tights duke it out for the fate of the world!
Batman Begins / The Dark Knight
The first two instalments of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy star Christian Bale as Batman, and chronicle the first few years in his career as Gotham City’s shadowy protector. Bale is surrounded by an all-star cast including Michael Cain as Alfred, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon. Of course, who could forget Heath Ledger’s spirited and inspired performance as Batman’s arch-nemesis The Joker, which earned Ledger a posthumous Academy Award.
The first of Netflix’s collaborations with Marvel was Daredevil, starring Charlie Cox as lawyer Matt Murdock by day, and the hard-hitting titular vigilante of Hell’s Kitchen by night. Although the series supposedly took place in the mainstream Marvel Universe, it was not your typical Marvel fare in that it was dark, gritty, and hard-hitting. Filled with dark shadows, dramatic dialogue, and brutal fight scenes, Daredevil took a mature step forward for the MCU. The hallway fight scene in Episode Three is worth the price of admission alone!
Marvel’s mastery over their cinematic universe may be eclipsing DC’s on the big screen at the moment, but one area where DC gains an edge over Marvel is on the small screen. This is no doubt in large part to the success of The Flash, starring Grant Gustin as the Scarlet Speedster. Gifted with powers to move faster than the speed of light if needs be, The Flash stops crime in the blink of an eye and can even affect time itself!
Batman: The Killing Joke
Speaking of inspired portrayals of The Joker, while Ledger and Phoenix get the lions’ share of acclaim for theirs, one talented performer has often been overlooked for his equally iconic portrayal: Star Wars’ own Mark Hamill. Having voiced the character since Batman: The Animated Series was released in 1992, Hamill and Kevin Conroy (Batman) return in Batman: The Killing Joke to tell the definitive origin of The Clown Prince of Crime. Although animated, this is a graphic tale, definitely not suitable for young children.
Marvel Anime: X-Men
The X-Men are no stranger to animation, having seen multiple iterations of the team appear in several television series since their highly popular and self-titled cartoon went off the air in 1997. In Marvel Anime: X-Men, the team returns after the death of Jean Grey to investigate mutant-related affairs in Japan. Although the series follows a typical superhero plot, it is beautiful and breathtaking to watch due to its rendering in anime style.
A lifelong comic book fan, Nicholas Cage appears in Ghost Rider, the tale of Marvel Comics’ daredevil stunt-cyclist Johnny Blaze, who ends up making a deal with the devil to save his dying father. The deal goes sideways, and Blaze ends up becoming the host for a demonic spirit of vengeance, who he transforms into by his flesh melting off and his skeleton lighting on fire. Eva Mendes stars as Blaze’s love Roxanne, and Wes Bentley as Blackheart, Ghost Rider’s arch-nemesis.
Although there’s been multiple movies and television series devoted to Superman, not many have showcased his cousin, Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl. Taking place in the same universe as The Flash, Supergirl stars Melissa Benoist as the Girl of Steel. The series provides plenty of superheroic moments as Supergirl contends with menances both Kryptonian and Earth-grown, but also highlights her attempts to acclimate to life on Earth and to her growing role as one of Earth’s protectors.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones
The second of Netflix’s collaborations with Marvel was Jessica Jones, a series about a jaded and hard-boiled private detective with superpowers and a terrible history of loss and trauma. Her manipulation by the evil and sadistic Purple Man (deviously played by Doctor Who alumnus David Tennant) forms the crux of the series, as Jessica seeks to bring him to justice and deal with the abuse she suffered at his hands.
As epic as current superhero films are, they oftentimes can’t match the comic books they were based upon in terms of scale. Planet Hulk looks to fix that. Here, the Hulk is shot into space by the Illuminati, members of a secret group of superheroes who have deemed the Hulk too dangerous to remain on Earth. Landing on the planet Sakaar, the Hulk must contend with surviving the gladiator pits long enough to deal with the planet’s ruling class and eventually take his revenge on those who stranded him there.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division) has always lurked in the corners of the MCU, only coming to light when it serviced the plot or when Samuel L. Jackson was needed for a mid-credits teaser. But the popularity of the shadowy government organization, as well as the well-received Agent Phil Coulson, almost necessitated Marvel giving them a series. With seven seasons of thrills, chills and super-heroics under its belt, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did not disappoint!
If these stupendous selections weren’t enough to whet your appetite for superheroes, try these: