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Disney Plus: The best movies to watch right now

Disney Plus has a huge back catalogue of movies. Here's where we think you should start...

11-disney-avengers-endgame

Disney Plus is more than Marvel. But it also has a lot of Marvel!

Disney Plus

When you think Disney Plus, you think... Disney. You probably also think Star Wars or Marvel.

But Disney Plus has maybe the best movie back catalogue of any streaming service out there -- almost to the point where the choice is overwhelming.

That's where we come in. Below are some of our favorite movies currently available to watch on Disney Plus. We've divided it conveniently into categories. We'll start, naturally, with Disney.

Disney

It's only right to start with the best Disney movies on Disney Plus. Warning: We didn't add any of the live-action remakes because they are almost all terrible. Please don't get upset.

Aladdin

Disney

You can agree or you can disagree, but I believe that Aladdin has the best song lineup of any animated movie Disney has ever produced. A Whole New World, Prince Ali, Friend Like Me, Arabian Nights -- just banger after banger. 

Combine this with a pitch-perfect, utterly golden performance from Robin Williams and you have -- for me -- possibly the best Disney animated movie ever.

Beauty and the Beast

Many of its themes have aged poorly -- Belle is captured and low-key forced to fall in love with the Beast? But, problematic issues aside, Beauty and the Beast is a true work of art. The opening number, Belle, remains one of the best opening numbers ever written.

Frozen

Disney

There's been a slight backlash against Frozen in recent years -- mainly, I suspect, from parents forced to watch on repeat by demanding little Elsas -- but the cultural impact of this movie and its songs is undeniable. Much like Aladdin, it's a setlist of bangers tied together with a nicely drawn story about the power of sisterly love. Majestic.

Hercules

Walt Disney Pictures

Hercules isn't as fondly remembered as some of the movies from Disney's golden age in the 1990s, but we're adding it because it rules, OK?

In Meg, Hercules has one of Disney's best drawn female characters. It also features the Fates and Go The Distance, an absolutely all-time Disney song. Hercules rules, accept this.

The Lion King

Disney

The Lion King, although slightly overrated, was probably the cultural high point of Disney's influence in the 1990s. It still resonates today. Unlike some Disney movies, it's a movie that feels truly epic in scale. Treat yourself to a rewatch.

Moana

Disney

You could make an argument that Moana is the best animated Disney movie ever and I'd be inclined to hear that argument. Certainly it's my favourite of Disney's CGI movies and certainly its best since The Lion King. Brilliant songs, a perfect character arc for its titular heroine. Everything about Moana hits perfectly. If, for some reason, you skipped Moana, it's now time to rectify that mistake.

Mulan

Disney

Forget the hollow, brain-dead, god-awful live-action remake. The original Mulan is the best, by miles and miles. 

Raya and the Last Dragon

Walt Disney Pictures

There's a bit of recency bias here, but Raya and the Last Dragon will be available (outside of the paywall) for the first time in June 2021, and it's a real feast for the eyes (and the imagination).

Raya and the Last Dragon feels very... familiar. It wears its influences on its sleeves, borrowing liberally from Studio Ghibli, Avatar, even Breath of the Wild. But it creates a living, breathing universe that's joyful to exist in. Definitely give it a go.

Pixar

It feels like the lines between Pixar and Disney movies are getting more blurred by the day. Either way, here are our favorite Pixar movies on Disney Plus.

The Incredibles

Pixar Animation Studios

Has Pixar ever made a better movie than The Incredibles?

No. It hasn't.

Inside Out

Pixar

Just when you thought Pixar was on the decline, it releases Inside Out, arguably its most thoughtful, powerful movie. 

I don't think I've ever watched a movie that dealt with the issue of mental health in children quite so delicately. If you have children, and even if you don't, you need to watch this movie.

Onward

Disney/Pixar

Onward is Frozen for brothers. You can't change my mind.

Sadly overlooked, Onward is low-key one of Pixar's best. Heartwarming, smart... weird. You need to watch this one.

Toy Story 2

Pixar Animation Studios

Look, we can't put all the Toy Story movies in this list, but we can't not put Toy Story 2 in.

Arguably it's the best one. For me, it's between Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3... which is next on this list!

Toy Story 3

Has any Pixar movie before or since packed an emotional gut punch like Toy Story 3?

This isn't just a movie about saying goodbye to your toys, it's a movie about saying goodbye period. In that regard it's as good as any movie Pixar has ever produced. Just a perfect ending. No, we will not be talking about Toy Story 4.

Up

Pixar

It's not perfect, and its final act stutters, but Up is one of the most interesting and ambitious animated movies ever made. Watch it for that montage alone.

Marvel

There are a lot of Marvel movies on Disney Plus. These are the ones we like the best...

Avengers: Endgame

Marvel Studios

Considering the narrative weight it had to bear, and the knots it had to untie, Avengers: Endgame is something of a minor miracle. I doubt we'll see something of this scale tied up so neatly ever again.

Not only that, Endgame is a fun movie in its own right. An incredible achievement all considered.

Black Panther

The best movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date? It's up there. But beyond its quality, Black Panther felt important. It remains a cultural touchstone and its impact still resonates.

Killmonger is also one of the all-time best villains.

The Guardians of the Galaxy

Disney Plus

It's weird, it's funny and it pushes the MCU in directions you don't expect -- but Guardians of the Galaxy is just a well made, smart throwback of sorts. It's got big Indiana Jones and Romancing the Stone vibes and you have to respect that.

Iron Man

Marvel Studios

Without Iron Man, there is no Marvel Cinematic Universe, so show some goddamn respect!

But Iron Man is more than a proof of concept, it's just a fantastic, ground-breaking superhero movie. It's loose, interesting and literally vibrates with energy. It's aged fantastically well.

Logan

Ben Rothstein

Marvel is more than the MCU. And in that vein, we can't forget about Logan. Powerful, dark and grimy, Logan is a different vision of what a superhero movie can be. More like this please.

Thor: Ragnarok

Marvel

Let's be honest, it's the best one.

Thor: Ragnarok came in and completely rewrote the book on how to make a superhero movie. More like this please.

Also more Korg. Just a cameo or something, we're thirsty over here.

X2

Marvel

I absolutely felt like this list needed an X-Men movie and it was between this and Days of Future Past. I chose this because, at the time, X2 was absolutely the gold standard for superhero movies. It's time for a rewatch I think.

Star Wars

Arguably you could put every Star Wars movie on this list. I've settled on picking the best from each trilogy and a few others.

Rogue One

Rogue One is a well produced case study in plugging the gaps. Set between Episode 3 and the very first Star Wars movie A New Hope, Rogue One is a very different kind of Star Wars movie. It's mostly absent of Jedis and space magic, focusing on very human characters doing very human things. It drags, and could certainly be about 20 minutes shorter, but it's a great example of what Star Wars movies outside of the trilogy format could have become.

The Empire Strikes Back

Sunset Boulevard

The Empire Strikes Back is widely considered the best Star Wars movie for a reason. It features Yoda, the Darth Vader reveal and practically invented the idea of the "gritty" sequel. Above and beyond that, The Empire Strikes Back features real drama, punctuated with some of the most memorable moments in Star Wars history.

The Last Jedi

Lucasfilm Ltd.

Yes! It's the best Star Wars movie The Last Jedi!

This one is controversial but, for me, this is as good as Star Wars has ever been. The final act of this movie is very special. There's just a lot going on here: Luke Skywalker's anti-hero swerve, the meta-commentary on Star Wars as a franchise. Just a brave, interesting movie from start to finish.

Revenge of the Sith

Lucasfilm

If you're gonna watch one movie from this trilogy, might as well be Revenge of the Sith. Loaded with fan service, and more than a few magical moments, Revenge of the Sith might surprise you with how not bad it is.

Documentaries

This section exists solely to direct your attention to the fact Free Solo is available to watch on Disney Plus.

Free Solo

Disney Plus

Free Solo is one of the best documentaries ever made. Telling the story of Alex Honnold, the first man to "free solo" El Capitan, it's a delicate character study of a man who makes the impossible look almost banal; an Oscar-winning story that culminates -- quite literally -- in a close-up view of one of humanity's wildest human achievements.

Howard

Disney

After you're done with Free Solo, definitely check out Howard, which focuses on the heartbreaking story of Howard Ashman. A pivotal part of Disney's resurgence with movies like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, Ashman's story is absolutely the best of Disney's documentaries about itself. A must-watch for any Disney (or documentary film) fan.