With Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness releasing Friday, May 6th, there’s no better time to take in some old classics – although as a Marvel movie, the only streaming service to revisit the MCU movies is Disney +. Fortunately for Netflix subscribers, there’s a fair amount of fun, worthy comic-based content to binge on while they wait to explore the multiverse.
From Wesley Snipes’ mostly-excellent trilogy as Blade to two-thirds of The Dark Knight Trilogy and a misguided adventure with the Green Lantern Corps, Netflix has a nice variety of superhero films to suit the needs of just about anyone.
10 Spawn (1997) – 5.2
Spawn Was a strange, hard-to-adapt choice for the late 1990s before superhero cinema had really gotten into gear with Blade (1998), X-Men (2000), and Spider-Man (2002).
The film stars Michael Jai White as the titular character, a slain US Marine named Al Simmons who is given a second chance for vengeance by the demons of Hell. Martin Sheen stars as CIA Director Jason Wynn, the man who betrayed Simmons, while John Leguizamo gives the performance of the film as Clown/Violator. Leguizamo alone makes the movie worth watching, but Spawn is, as a whole, jumbled and poorly aged.
9 Green Lantern (2011) – 5.5
Green Lantern was released during one of the best years for superhero movies, but it wasn’t a reason why. Martin Campbell’s superhero space epic was trashed by fans and critics alike, but it still has its entertaining aspects, especially Mark Strong’s turn as Sinestro, a character that would’ve received far more spotlight in the sequel.
Ryan Reynolds stars as Hal Jordan, the first human being to be inducted into the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic crime fighting unit designed to spread good while squashing evil, all with their imagination.
8 Blade: Trinity (2004) – 5.8
David S. Goyer’s notoriously production-plagued Blade: Trinity is a weak end to a trilogy after the entertaining first two chapters. Snipes’ energy is greatly decreased as the character, primarily because of acknowledged issues with having to share the majority of his screentime with Jessica Biel’s Abigail Whistler (daughter of Kris Kristofferson’s Abraham) and Ryan Reynolds’ Hannibal King.
The best thing Trinity has going for it is Danica Talos, played by Parker Posey. The main villain of the film is Dracula, but Posey’s sidekick villain commands the screen whenever present, while Reynolds and Biel equip themselves well, even if their characters are mostly saddled with cliched dialogue and one-liners.
7 Superman Returns (2006) – 6.1
Superman Returns is a continuation of the original Christopher Reeve quadrilogy, and it does have its moments, even if they’re few and far between in the middle of a massive runtime.
Brandon Routh should have received more mainstream work after his one-time stint as the Man of Steel, because he brings more to the role than a similar physical appearance to Reeve. Furthermore, James Marsden is charming as Lois Lane’s husband while Parker Posey again plays the sidekick villain role to perfection, just as she did in Blade: Trinity.
6 The Old Guard (2020) – 6.6
Netflix’s big original graphic novel adaptation, The Old Guard, is a 2020 movie that would be a great video game. The actioner is one of, for now, just several comic movies directed by a woman, in this case, Gina Prince-Bythewood. Furthermore, the now-greenlit sequel will also have a female director: Victoria Mahoney.
Charlize Theron heads the cast as Andromache “Andy” of Scythia, an immortal woman who leads a group of similarly-gifted mercenaries as they shoot their way out of having their collective truth revealed.
5 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) – 6.7
Before the franchise was rebooted in 2014 (albeit briefly), there was a 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles adaptation that stuck even closer to the source material.
Bolstered by wonderful, well-aged practical effects for the titular Turtles, the movie was a substantial financial success and led to two sequels. the first, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze is worth watching if only for the vanilla Ice cameo while Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III is the Robocop 3 or Karate Kid III of the franchise.
4 Blade II (2002) – 6.7
Some would deem Guillermo del Toro’s Blade II the best of the franchise, while others would side with the original. Regardless, the first sequel is an excellent bit of world-building that removes Blade from isolation and puts him in league with more of his kind, though this time they’re vampiric individuals with whom he’s well-acquainted.
Blade II sees the human-vampire hybrid teaming up with the enemy, and that brings a level of complexity to the film that was lacking in the narrative of the far more straightforward original film.
3 Blade (1998) – 7.1
Steven Dorff’s great superhero movie performance was just one reason the original Blade was a hit. What’s remarkable is how well the film functions almost 25 years later; A trend-setting superhero film that still managed to buck trends that came before or after.
Snipes has never been better in the titular role, outside of perhaps his work as Nino Brown in New Jack City. Furthermore, outside of some shoddy late-’90s CGI in the finale, the movie embraces practical effects to an admirable degree, lending a level of authenticity to the blood-soaked action sequences.
2 Batman Begins (2005) – 8.2
Batman is one of Reddit’s favorite Christian Bale performances, and if they’re Netflix subscribers they get two rounds with the actor in his title role. First is Batman Beginsthe premier chapter of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy.
The film follows Bruce Wayne as he returns to Gotham after years away, training in Bhutan. After seemingly losing his mentor, Wayne decides to adopt a person that can help dissuade criminal activity closer to home. Utilizing some harmful injuries trauma, he becomes the name criminals fear: Batman.
1 The Dark Knight (2008) – 9.0
Nolan’s phenomenal sequel to Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, is also on Netflix. While the former was a great reintroduction to Gotham City, the latter is a full-on exploration, and every moment clicks.
The beloved superhero trilogy’s best installment finds Batman on the tail of the Joker, but an volatile Gotham City politician doesn’t make things any easier, nor does the warped scarred by fire and grief. Bruce Wayne must decide what being Batman means to the people, his adversaries, and himself.
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