Over the weekend, Captain America: The Winter Soldier earned $96.2 million — a record opening weekend for April — proving that superhero movies are still box-office gold. And you still can enjoy that gold via Netflix streaming.
Superhero movies like The Winter Soldier aren’t just big-budget action fare. With so many acclaimed directors and Academy Award-nominated actors involved these days, superhero movies are reaching new levels of quality and entertainment.
And with Marvel Studios cranking out a couple of movies every year, we rarely have to wait more than a few months for another superhero film to hit the big screen.
But in the interval between The Winter Soldier and next month’s Amazing Spider-Man 2, you can always turn to superhero movies on Netflix streaming. It’s not quite the same experience as seeing Batman punch criminals on an IMAX screen, but behind all the explosions and stunt sequences, most superhero movies are compelling dramas that draw the viewers in, whether they’re watching in IMAX or on an iPhone.
Here are three must-watch superhero movies on Netflix streaming:
Superhero Movies to Watch on Netflix Streaming: The Avengers
If you’re craving more Cap after seeing The Winter Solider, this is the place to start. The Avengers also happens to be one of the very best superhero movies on Netflix streaming.
The Avengers was a landmark achievement for superhero movies. After four years of building out an entire cinematic universe of separate heroes — Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America — Marvel brought them together as The Avengers. There were plenty of risks (What if people haven’t seen the other movies? How will you balance that many personalities?), but director Joss Whedon pulled off the impossible and made The Avengers one of the best (and most financially successful) movies of all time.
Don’t believe me? Scroll through the superhero movies on Netflix streaming and see for yourself.
Superhero Movies to Watch on Netflix Streaming #2: Spider-Man
Ten years before The Avengers assembled in theaters, Spider-Man set box-office records with a $115 million haul its opening weekend. The movie went on to hold the record for biggest opening weekend for four years, and now it’s one of the best superhero movies on Netflix streaming.
Spider-Man also earned instant acclaim, becoming one of the most talked-about movies of the year. Like most of the successful superhero movies that followed, this film knows that superpowers aren’t the most interesting part of the hero — the weaknesses and the struggle are what draw in audiences (The Avengers highlighted that truth beautifully).
Spider-Man succeeds because it balances the powers with the person, and it remains one of the must-see superhero movies on Netflix streaming.
Superhero Movies to Watch on Netflix Streaming #3: Hellboy
Sure, Hellboy doesn’t fit the mold of the traditional superhero, and he’s certainly not as well-known as the other characters on this list. But that’s exactly what makes Hellboy one of the most interesting superhero movies on Netflix.
Hellboy is a demon who was brought to earth by Nazis as a supernatural means of fighting World War II, but he was rescued by the allied powers and raised to fight evil. He’s less of a traditional superhero, and more of a super-antihero.
Hellboy the movie is full of supernatural themes and weird, scary monsters, so it’s not as child-friendly as, say, Superman. But for anyone who has grown tired of patriotic quests for justice, Hellboy is one of the best superhero movies on Netflix streaming.
Adam Benjamin is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.