For most of Disney’s existence, its action films were few and far between. Thankfully, the additions of Star Wars and Marvel have really beefed up the action lineup on Disney+. Truthfully, it’s hard to go wrong with any of the picks from those respective franchises, but there’s more than just supers and Jedi on Disney’s signature streaming service. Some of the company’s original action films hold up quite well, even with some fairly intense competition from their corporate siblings. There’s more to enjoy than you might suspect, and we’re making it easy for you by laying out the best action movies you can stream on Disney+ right now.
Let’s be clear: No one could ever replace the late Robin Williams as the Genie. But Will Smith offered his own spin on the role in Disney’s 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin. In this modernized take on the animated classic, Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is plucked from the streets as “a diamond in the rough” to retrieve the Genie’s lamp. Once Aladdin has the Genie’s wishes at his command, he tries to win the heart of Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). Massoud and Scott give the young couple a very earnest romance, but it’s Scott’s Jasmine who really leaves us “speechless” with a show-stopping song of her own.
Rotten Tomatoes: 57%
Genre: Musical, Romance, Fantasy
Stars: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban
Director: Guy Ritchie
Runtime: 128 minutes
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
It will definitely help if you’ve seen all of the previous Marvel movies before watching Avengers: Infinity War. Yet, it still works remarkably well even if some viewers don’t have all of the context. Although he’s the villain, Josh Brolin’s Thanos rules this film as its main character. In Thanos’ quest to unite the Infinity Stones and wield unlimited power, he runs up against the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, and even Spider-Man. To be sure, the heroes shine with their own fantastic moments of action and heroism. But Thanos is … “inevitable.”
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Genre: Action, Superhero
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Runtime: 149 minutes
Black Panther (2018)
There aren’t many superhero films that can land a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. In fact, Black Panther might be the only movie to pull off that feat for the foreseeable future. Director Ryan Coogler’s masterful take on Black Panther shined with the late Chadwick Boseman in the title role as T’Challa. But the reason this film resonates so strongly is that it asks uncomfortable questions about race, racism, class, and family that shake T’Challa to his core. The film’s villain, Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Michael B. Jordan), has legitimate grievances against T’Challa’s family and a worldview that forces the Black Panther to re-examine everything that he thought he knew.
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Genre: Action, Superhero
Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Letitia Wright
Director: Ryan Coogler
Runtime: 134 minutes
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Anthony and Joe Russo made a huge impression on audiences and on Marvel itself with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Chris Evans’ second headlining film as Cap/Steve Rogers is a riveting story that takes its inspiration from the paranoid political thrillers from the ‘70s. Robert Redford even solidifies that link by playing Alexander Pierce, the malevolent behind-the-scenes bad guy. This film also reintroduced Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier, Steve’s best friend turned unstoppable assassin, after decades of brainwashing. The ramifications from this movie are still playing out in the new Marvel series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Genre: Action, Superhero
Stars: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Runtime: 136 minutes
John Carter (2012)
Pixar’s Andrew Stanton made his live-action directorial debut with John Carter, an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic hero. Critics and some moviegoers assumed that John Carter was simply aping Flash Gordon and Star Wars, among others, unaware that the 100th anniversary of John Carter’s first story, A Princess of Mars, was just around the corner. In other words, John’s the original model. Within the movie, Taylor Kitsch plays John, a former Confederate captain who finds himself transported to Mars. He soon falls hard for a Martian princess, Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), who happens to be a very formidable warrior herself. Together, they face a plot against the throne and the hidden puppet masters who have manipulated Mars’ warring races for thousands of years.
Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
Genre: Sci-fi, Fantasy
Stars: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, Dominic West
Director: Andrew Stanton
Runtime: 132 minutes
Disney spared little expense when it remade Mulan in live-action. Consequently, the action was much more intense in this modern retelling. Yifei Liu stars as Mulan, a young woman who takes drastic measures when her father, Hua Zhou (Tzi Ma), is recalled to war to face the Rouran forces of Böri Khan (Jason Scott Lee). Unwilling to let her father fight on a bad leg, Mulan assumes a male identity, Hua Jun, and enlists in the Imperial army to bring honor to her family. Under the tutelage of Commander Tung (Donnie Yen), Mulan finds the warrior within … and something more powerful than she ever dreamed.
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Action
Stars: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Tzi Ma, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Jet Li
Director: Niki Caro
Runtime: 115 minutes
National Treasure (2004)
Think of National Treasure as an Indiana Jones movie if it was directed by Michael Bay. It’s loud, filled with explosive action, and completely unapologetic about the story it’s telling. Nicholas Cage stars as Benjamin Franklin Gates, the latest in a long line of treasure hunters. After years of hearing the family myth, Benjamin and his allies go off in search of a Templar treasure that has been lost since the days of the American Revolution. And the hidden treasure map is on the back of the Declaration of Independence. To begin his ultimate quest, Benjamin has to steal the Declaration first.
Rotten Tomatoes: 46%
Genre: Action, Adventure
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Harvey Keitel, Jon Voight, Diane Kruger, Sean Bean
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Runtime: 131 minutes
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
All of the Star Wars movies have terrific action, but Rogue One: A Star Wars Story stands out because it actually deals with the consequences of those actions. This is a war movie first and foremost, but it also explores a hidden chapter in the original trilogy. Felicity Jones stars as Jyn Erso, a rebellious criminal who is recruited to find her father, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), the creator of the Empire’s Death Star. Soon enough, Jyn, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), and a ragtag crew go on a suicide mission to steal the Death Star plans from a highly secure Imperial base. They’ll save the Rebel Alliance or die trying.
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Genre: Sci-fi, Action
Stars: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk
Director: Gareth Edwards
Runtime: 133 minutes
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
The first Pirates of the Caribbean is arguably the best movie ever inspired by a theme park attraction. Director Gore Verbinski cast Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, an oddball pirate who is obsessed with reclaiming his ship from his mutinous crew, as led by Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) enlists Jack to help him rescue Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) from Barbossa and his fellow ghost pirates. The satisfying film led to a successful franchise.
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Stars: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Pryce
Director: Gore Verbinski
Runtime: 143 minutes
The Princess Bride (1987)
The Princess Bride is a real charmer and admittedly more of a fantasy romance than a typical action flick. But there’s still a lot of fun to be had. As told to Fred Savage’s unnamed “grandson” by his grandfather (Peter Falk), Westley (Cary Elwes) is a farmhand who falls in love with Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright). Years later, their love is threatened by Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) and his evil followers. Fortunately, Westley has a giant, Fezzik (André the Giant), and a fierce warrior named Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) fighting by his side. This is simply a wonderful movie, no matter how old you are.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
Stars: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Andre the Giant, Christopher Guest
Director: Rob Reiner
Runtime: 98 minutes
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