You don't need to be a kid—or a cord-cutter—to dig the entertainment streaming on Disney+.
By Matt Elliott
TechHiveJul 30, 2021 3:00 am PDT
If you don’t already have a subscription to Disney+, one or more of the service’s three pillars—Star Wars, Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Pixar—will likely be the catalyst for signing up. Or you have kids. (Skip to this section for details about how much the service costs.)
The Mandalorian was incredible, there’s no slowing down the amount of MCU fare headed to the service, and the latest Pixar releases are just as visually stunning and emotionally gripping as the classics. There’s more to watch on Disney+, however, than Baby Yoda, Captain America and Buzz and Woody. Here are the best 15 movies and series on Disney+ right now, including the latest from Star Wars, the MCU, and Pixar—plus documentaries, reboots, and classic movies.
The latest MCU title to hit the service is the long-delayed Black Widow. The pandemic pushed back its release multiple times before it hit theaters and Disney+ on July 9. Scarlett Johansson stars as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in the second female-led movie in the MCU after Captain Marvel. In the MCU timeline, Black Widow takes place between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Fans get the origin story of Black Widow and meet her adoptive family: her sister played by Florence Pugh and parents played by Rachel Weisz and David Harbour. Subscribers will need to pay $29.99 for Premier Access to watch (and rewatch) Black Widow.
This is the fourth Disney title get the Premier Access treatment. The first was Mulan, in September, 2020, followed by Raya and the Last Dragon in March of this year. Cruella (a spin-off from the animated classic 101 Dalmatians) premiered in May. The next movie will be Jungle Cruise, starting today, July 30. Disney eventually releases all these Premier Access movies to general Disney+ subscribers after 90 days; so, if you can wait, Black Widow will be free to all subscribers starting October 6.
The latest Marvel original series, Loki just wrapped up its six-episode season so you can binge the MCU’s God of Mischief. Tom Hiddleston stars alongside Owen Wilson, who plays Mobius M. Mobius of the Time Variance Authority. Morbius is tasked with coercing Loki to put right the chaos he has created when in Avengers: Endgame, a Loki variant started a new timeline. Time gets bent, things get weird, and the chemistry between Hiddleston and Wilson is endlessly enjoyable through it all. If you’ve already watched Loki, you can go behind the scenes with the just-released Marvel Studios Assembled: The Making of Loki.
The Mysterious Benedict Society
Our full review
Price When Reviewed:
With ads: $7.99/mo; Disney+ Premium (no ads) $10.99/mo or $109.99/year
Take two of my favorite TV characters—Buster from Arrested Development and Mel from Flight of the Conchords—and you have my attention. Tony Hale and Kristen Schaal star in this series based on the best-selling books by Trenton Lee Stewart that both of my kids read and loved. The series started on June 25 and ends on Aug. 6 to wrap up an eight-episode arc that follows four brainy orphans on an adventure concocted by Mr. Benedict (Hale) and aided by Number Two (Schaal). The hyper-detailed and colorful set and costume design give off Wes Anderson vibes, and Hale plays two roles, which is twice the fun.
Monsters At Work
Mike and Sulley return in this new series that picks up the day after the 2001 Monsters, Inc. movie ended. Billy Crystal and John Goodman voice the original duo, but screams are out and laughter is in to fuel the city of Monstropolis. Ben Feldman voices new monster Tylor Tuskmon, who graduated top in his class to be a scarer, but now must learn how to be a jokester. Mindy Kaling, Kelly Marie Tran, and Henry Winkler have also joined the cast. If you liked the first film, then you’ll enjoy spending 10 episodes with this cast of monsters. The series premiered on July 7.
Turner and Hooch
This original series is a spinoff of the 1989 movie of the same name that starred Tom Hanks and a giant French Mastiff. Josh Peck stars Scott Turner, Jr., a U.S. Marshal who happens to be the son of Det. Scott Turner, Hanks’ character in the original movie. Hanks won’t be making a surprise appearance because we quickly learn that Det. Scott Turner has been killed off and perhaps under somewhat suspicious circumstances.
Mentioned in this article
Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+ Bundle
Price When Reviewed:
$13.99 per month, with ads; $19.99 per month without ads
Enter U.S. Marshal Scott Turner and another giant French Mastiff named Hooch. After the way the movie ended for the original Hooch, I’m approaching the series with some trepidation. They wouldn’t do Hooch dirty a second time, would they? This is the question all dog lovers starting the show are asking themselves. The 12-episode series premiered on July 21.
This is the perfect summer movie, combining baseball and childhood friendship and a giant English Mastiff. The movie was made in 1993 but depicts the events of one summer in 1962 and arrived on Disney+ at the beginning of July. A group of kids around the age of 12 play baseball together, hit the community pool where hijinks ensue, and try to retrieve their baseball from a yard guarded by “the Beast,” the aforementioned Mastiff. It’s sweet and funny and sure to please anyone who is 12 or can remember a long-ago summer when they were 12.
Eddie the Eagle
This is the perfect summer movie if you’ve caught Olympic fever from watching the Tokyo games. This 2016 biopic stars Taron Egerton as Michael Edwards, who made headlines at the 1988 Winter Olympics by becoming the first the British ski jumper to quality in 60 years. The film starts with a 10-year-old Edwards dreaming of being an Olympian despite there being no evidence of even average athleticism. Hugh Jackman plays his mentor who helps Edwards train and miraculously qualify for the Calgary games. Eddie the Eagle soaring in the Olympic games might be a bigger upset than the 1980 Miracle on Ice. In fact, Miracle—also on Disney+—and Eddie the Eagle would make a great Olympic double feature.
The Princess Bride
It’s inconceivable that you’ve yet to see this 1987 fairy tale written by William Goldman and starring Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Wallace Shawn, Christopher Guest, and André the Giant. Whether you’ve never seen it or watched it 100 times, it’s worth a(nother) watch. Westley—with the help of Vizzini, Fezzik, and Inigo Montoya—must find his one true love, Princess Buttercup, before Prince Humperdinck can marry her. They must overcome the six-fingered man in black, the Cliffs of Insanity, the Fire Swamp and Rodents of Unusual Size, and more. It’s the best.
The latest from Pixar, Luca is a literal fish-out-of-water story that follows two boys who are sea monsters trying to pass for humans in a quaint Italian town. Luca and his buddy Alberto dream of traveling the above-the-water world via Vespa and enter a triathlon of biking, pasta-eating, and swimming races with the help of (human) girl, Giulia, to earn the money to set their dream in motion all the while trying to avoid getting wet since that would reveal their true identity. The animation is gorgeous—no surprise for a Pixar effort—and the coming-of-age story is both timeless and new.
Isle of Dogs
More gorgeous animation, this time from Wes Anderson. It’s his second stop-animation film after Fantastic Mr. Fox, both of which were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Isle of Dogs is maniacally detailed, as you might suspect from Anderson, and tells the story of a young boy looking for his lost dog, who was banished to Trash Island along with all of the other dogs of Megasaki, a fictitious city in Japan. The cast is star studded with Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, and Frances McDormand voicing characters.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch
With season 3 of The Mandalorian reportedly delayed, Star Wars fans might be left with a long wait until they see Baby Yoda again. With no new Mando episodes in sight, you could sink your teeth into the animated world of The Bad Batch. It picks up where The Clone Wars left off. The 16-episode season premiered on May 4, 2021 and tells the story of a squad of elite clone commandos designed with genetic mutations. Crosshair has keen eyesight, for example, and is a stellar marksman while Wrecker is bigger and stronger than the average clone. The series answers the question, what’s a clone to do when the Clone Wars are through?
Shark Beach with Chris Hemsworth
There is no shortage of shark content from National Geographic on Disney+. If you don’t have immediate plans to go swimming or surfing in the ocean, check out all the SharkFest fare, the latest of which is Shark Beach with Chris Hemsworth. The Australian actor chats with Valerie Taylor—the legendary filmmaker, diver, shark researcher, and marine conservationist—and others about the increased number of shark attacks in Australia and how humans and sharks can coexist.
Eddie Braun has spent a three-decade career as a Hollywood stuntman. Before he retires, he wants one more score, er, stunt. Growing up idolizing Evel Knievel, Braun will try to pull off the infamous Snake River Canyon rocket jump that nearly killed his idol. After four years of meticulous planning, he’ll strap himself in a stream-powered rocket and attempt to go from one side of Idaho’s Snake River Canyon to the other. Buckle up!
Breaking Bobby Bones
Radio personality, American Idol mentor, and Dancing with the Stars winner Bobby Bones has a new show that’s part An Idiot Abroad, part Dirty Jobs, and part Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Bones meets ordinary Americans and attempts to do their job or play their sport, from welding pipes and working at a salvage yard to playing sled hockey and being suspended 4,000 feet above the Colorado River to wash the glass floor of the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Bones doesn’t always succeed but he always connects with the people he meets and finds a way to help them in their lives before departing.
Behind the Attraction
Disney superfans will love this new series that takes you behind the scenes of iconic Disneyland and Disney World attractions in a surprisingly light and humorous way. Five episodes are available now with five more to follow. The first episode centers on the Jungle Cruise ride and features Dwayne Johnson, who stars in the upcoming film (synergy!). The other episodes feature The Haunted Mansion, Star Tours, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Space Mountain. Upcoming episodes will include It’s a Small World, the Disneyland Hotel, and the Hall of Presidents. It’s fun to see the magic behind the magic.
How much does Disney+ cost?
Disney+ is one of the more affordable streaming services. It costs $7.99 a month or $79.99 if you sign up for a year. You can also get Disney+ bundled with Hulu and ESPN Plus for $13.99 a month. The same bunde with ad-free Hulu costs $19.99 a month.