There are so many streaming subscription services nowadays that it can be hard to keep track of them all. Between Netflix, Amazon Prime, iPlayer (if you’re in the UK and pay your TV license, that is), and various others, it’s difficult to know what movies or TV shows you can watch on which streaming services. Now, Disney has thrown its own hat into the mix with Disney Plus (or Disney+), its very own streaming service that contains lots of Disney-exclusive content. Let’s take a look at the 15 best movies currently streaming on Disney Plus.
Of course, watching Avengers: Endgame without investing in the MCU would be a mistake, but as the culmination of over 10 years of movies and TV shows, Endgame was a phenomenal conclusion. It brought satisfying closure to the character arcs of some of Marvel’s best-known and best-loved characters, and while it perhaps had some narrative flaws, they were easy to overlook or forgive when it came to the sheer scope and spectacle on display. Watch through the whole of the first three MCU phases, then check this one out.
Chadwick Boseman will be sorely missed, and his turn in Marvel’s excellent Black Panther reminds us why he was such a great actor. As T’Challa, the heir apparent of African super-nation Wakanda, Boseman must navigate a world that he and his country have never needed or wanted to acknowledge before. Michael B. Jordan puts in a showstopping turn as the nuanced villain Erik Killmonger, and Black Panther contains a much more political and observational narrative than Marvel usually offers up.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The more recent Star Wars sequel trilogy may have been hit-and-miss for some (although we will come back to it shortly), but The Empire Strikes Back is a certified classic in everyone’s eyes. As the middle child of the original trilogy, Empire Strikes Back is darker, more complex, and more nuanced than both its predecessor and its successor. It introduces fan-favourite characters like Lando Calrissian and Yoda, telling an intriguing, deep tale of the Force and family ties.
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Naysayers and those who cry “politics” be damned: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is an excellent story, a deconstruction of the very things that make Star Wars what it is, and a thumbed nose to the “fans” who think Star Wars should never change or evolve. If you’re a gaming fan and you enjoyed Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, then you’ll get a similar kick out of The Last Jedi, which also attempts to expand the series’ cast and give characters like Rose more to do.
What better way to celebrate the legacy of the late, great Robin Williams than with one of his most barnstorming performances? Plot-wise, Aladdin is a characteristically solid latter-period Disney flick, but it’s given gravitas and life by Williams’ turn as the Genie, whose showstopping “Friend Like Me” must be seen to be believed. The 2019 live-action version lacks the pizazz and charm of the animated original, so seek out this 90s classic rather than its updated sibling.
The Princess and the Frog
Disney’s 2009 return to traditional hand-drawn animation isn’t the best of the studio’s oeuvre, but you should watch it just to show Disney that this kind of movie is still in demand. The animation is gorgeous, as you’d expect, and the songs, penned by Disney mainstay Randy Newman, are memorable, with Dr. Facilier’s “Friends On The Other Side” a particular highlight. The narrative might be a touch hokey and the movie overall might not be a classic, but it’s still excellent.
The animation in Disney’s Moana is sumptuous and indulgent, revealing breathtaking island vistas with every new shot, but it’s the characters and plot that give this movie its heart. The titular Moana is a young girl who yearns to leave her Pacific Island home and see what’s out there, but she quickly meets with peril as she comes into contact with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Maui, an arrogant demigod who may or may not be responsible for the current state of the world.
In our current times, Wall.E is an essential indictment of humanity’s propensity towards laziness and neglect. The movie revolves around the titular Wall.E, a cleaning robot who is stuck on an Earth devoid of humans and riddled with mountains of trash. The first thirty or so minutes of the movie are breathtakingly inventive and imaginative cinema, and while the rest of the narrative can’t quite stack up to that magical first act, it’s still immensely rewarding and emotionally affecting in equal measure.
The Toy Story trilogy
Don’t get us wrong; Toy Story 4 is a solid offering. What it is not, however, is classic, and that’s not a criticism you can level at the first three Toy Story movies. Woody, Buzz, and company’s first three outings serve up gut punch after gut punch, all underscored by Randy Newman’s gently grumpy “You’ve Got A Friend In Me”. Toy Story 3 remains an incredibly difficult watch, not because it’s a bad movie (far from it) but because it hits at an emotional truth that few movies can even gesture towards.
No list of great movies on Disney+ would be complete without Mary Poppins. This 1964 musical memorably stars Julie Andrews as the titular nanny, a force to be reckoned with who arrives in the lives of the Banks family to shake things up and show them what’s really important. The songs are immortal and indestructible; whether it’s “Feed the Birds” or “Super-cali-fragil-istic-expi-ali-docious”, you’ve almost certainly heard and loved songs from this movie before, even if you’ve never seen it.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Robert Zemeckis’ 1988 fantasy classic remains a landmark technical achievement in the world of cinema, blending live-action footage with animation in a way that still feels incredibly contemporary. Bob Hoskins gamely plays Eddie Valiant, a private detective gripped by alcoholism after his brother was murdered by a “toon”. Valiant is charged with investigating a murder involving cartoon characters, which brings him into contact with the effervescent and lovable Roger Rabbit and the smoky Jessica Rabbit.
Many people rate sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York just as highly as the original, but in truth, it’s an inferior movie (and not just because of that stomach-turning Donald Trump cameo). Home Alone remains a great slapstick comedy, largely thanks to the charisma of star Macaulay Culkin and the up-for-it performances of Wet Bandits Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. The traps Culkin leaves for his hapless invaders are creative, clever, and wince-inducing; it’s easy to forget just how much pain there is in this movie, although none of it sticks.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Don’t bother with the sequels; the original is where it’s at. The Curse of the Black Pearl is a swashbuckling adventure ride that stars a charismatic Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, a self-aggrandising pirate who’s actually pretty useless as pirates go. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are his foils, and they’re not particularly interesting to watch, but they’re a necessary evil when you have legends like Geoffrey Rush and Jonathan Pryce acting up a storm opposite one another.
The Muppets (2011)
Nowadays, it’s pretty much de rigueur to revive properties that have long lain dormant, but when 2011’s The Muppets arrived, this was a less common practice. Kermit and company’s adventure through a world that may no longer need them is an adorable, warm hug of a movie, aided in no small way by Flight of the Conchords songsmith Bret McKenzie’s excellent tunes. The jokes feel current, the dialogue is snappy and punchy, and the emotional core is rock-solid. What more could you want?
The Kid Who Would Be King
If you’re familiar with British comedy duo Adam and Joe, then you’ll probably know that Joe Cornish, the “Joe” half of that act, blends ribald humour with a gentle, personable sense that makes him a joy to listen to alongside Buxton’s more absurdist slant. The Kid Who Would Be King takes one of Cornish’s fascinations – fantasy rubbing up against the real world – and tells a story of Arthurian myth and legend alongside the mundane. It’s joyful stuff, and it gets even better if you have a family with whom you can enjoy it.
These are, in our opinion, the fifteen best Disney Plus movies you can watch right now. Even if none of these tickle your fancy, though, it’s still well worth picking up a subscription; there are tons more movies we didn’t even mention, and that’s without talking about great TV shows like The Mandalorian, Andor, or WandaVision. If you’re a Disney, Star Wars, or Marvel fan, then you need to pick up a Disney+ subscription yesterday, because there will definitely be content that appeals to you.