The superhero genre has become one of the most popular and financially successful over the last two decades, with new movies and shows debuting all the time.
While the increasing popularity of other platforms like Disney+ and Amazon Prime has meant Netflix no longer has a monopoly on superhero content, many of our favorites thankfully still have a home on the OG streaming service.
As well as some of the big Marvel and DC franchises like Daredevil and the seemingly-endless Arrowverse shows, Netflix also plays host to plenty of brilliant original offerings including The Umbrella Academy, Raising Dion and I Am Not Okay With This.
Below, you’ll find some of the best superhero and comic book-based TV series and movies you can watch on Netflix right now. Note: These are taken from Netflix’s US library, but many will be available in other regions like the UK, too.
There are a whopping eight seasons to devour of Arrow, which offers a fresh take on the DC Comics character Green Arrow.
It follows spoiled billionaire playboy Oliver Queen, who returns home from five years lost at sea a changed man. Now, he’s on a mission to clean up Starling City as a hooded vigilante armed with a bow-and-arrow.
The show gave birth to the Arrowverse, a universe of DC Comics-based TV series that regularly join up for big yearly crossovers. Most of those shows are on Netflix, and you’ll find them later on this list.
Batman: The Killing Joke
Arguably the most iconic (and controversial) graphic novel of all time, Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s Batman: The Killing Joke provides a tragic origin story for villain The Joker, and later follows him as he attempts to drive police commissioner James Gordon insane through a series of twisted schemes.
The animated movie is faithful to its source content, and as a result, became the first Warner Bros. Animation movie to be rated R in the United States.
Black Lightning follows school principal and retired superhero Jefferson Pierce as he once again becomes his crime-fighting alter-ego Black Lightning after a gang threatens his family.
The show received critical acclaim and won praise for its portrayal of Anissa Pierce aka Thunder, who became the first Black lesbian superhero on TV when the show premiered in 2018.
Daredevil kicked off a high-profile creative partnership between Marvel and Netflix in 2015, which saw a number of iconic superheroes get their own series on the streaming service.
The show follows Matt Murdock, who was blinded as a young boy; by day he fights injustice as a lawyer, and by night he becomes crime-fighting superhero Daredevil in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. It came to an end after three seasons, but it’s still definitely worth revisiting.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is the fourth entry into DC and The CW’s Arrowverse, following Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl. It follows time-traveling rogue Rip Hunter as he recruits a team of both heroes villains to prevent an oncoming apocalypse that threatens to destroy not just the planet, but all of time itself.
With a huge cast of DC characters like Hawkgirl, Atom, Heat Wave, and Captain Cold, it’s one of the most enjoyable superhero series to watch right now.
Nicolas Cage’s Ghostrider doesn’t have the best reputation among superhero fans, and of course it pales in comparison to the likes of blockbusters The Avengers and X-Men.
But with Disney+ scooping up almost every big-screen Marvel movie, it’s nice to see one still remains on Netflix, and could be worth revisiting for the nostalgia factor if you watched it growing up. If nothing else, it will remind you how far the superhero genre has come since then.
While the blockbuster Batman movies tend to focus on iconic villains like The Joker and Bane, Fox’s gritty series Gotham allowed other lesser-known characters to get their share of the limelight.
The series primarily focuses on the early days of Jim Gordon’s time with the Gotham City Police Department, but also introduces a young Bruce Wayne and provides compelling origin stories for many of Batman’s rogue’s gallery including Penguin, The Riddler, and Hugo Strange.
I Am Not Okay With This
Despite being tragically canceled after just one season, we still believe I Am Not Okay With This is more than worth your time. The coming-of-age drama follows Sydney Novak as her high school experience is interrupted by the revelation that she has telekinetic powers.
It’s not a superhero show in the traditional sense, but there are enough sci-fi elements and a growing mystery to keep you gripped as Sydney attempts to understand and control her powers.
Iron Fist follows Danny Rand as he returns to New York City after being presumed dead for 15 years. There, he uses his kung-fu mastery and the power of the fiery Iron Fist to fight crime and fulfill his destiny.
It’s the least-loved series to come from Marvel and Netflix’s collaboration, and has faced criticism from some viewers who thought casting an Asian-American actor in the lead role would’ve been more culturally sensitive, given the show’s reliance on fictional Asian culture.
But if you’re a completionist who wants to witness every adventure in the MCU, it’s something to add to your watch list.
The second series to come out of Marvel’s partnership with Netflix was Jessica Jones, which provided another much-needed female lead for the MCU.
Based on the character of the same name from the Marvel Comics, the series follows Jones as she forges a new career as a hot-tempered private detective in Hell’s Kitchen, after her short-lived run as a superhero ended in tragedy.
Like Daredevil, it only lasted three seasons, but it’s definitely worth checking out.
This gritty, action-packed drama follows Luke Cage, a former convict with superhuman strength and unbreakable skin caused by a sabotaged experiment. When he begins to use his gift to fight crime, Cage becomes a celebrity in Harlem.
Like the other Marvel series on Netflix, it’s much darker than the Marvel Cinematic Universe we’ve seen on the big screen. There are two seasons for you to watch right now.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D follows returning Avengers character Phil Coulson as he assembles an elite covert team of highly-skilled agents to protect humanity from otherworldly invasions.
Unlike the other Marvel series on this list, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came before the studio’s partnership with Netflix. It’s still set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though, and adheres to the continuity of the movies and other TV shows.
There’s seven seasons to enjoy, and one of the big highlights of the show is how often it crosses over with the events of the MCU. There’s been appearances from Nick Fury, Peggy Carter, Lady Sif and more. It’s a must-watch for hardcore Marvel fans.
From the mind of Train to Busan director Yeon Sang-ho comes Psychokinesis, a South Korean superhero drama that received very positive reviews upon release in 2018.
The movie follows a bank security guard who gains telekinetic superpowers after drinking water from a mountain spring affected by a meteor, and decides to use them to save his estranged daughter and her neighborhood from an evil construction company.
This one’s a good shout if you’re looking for a break from the often-formulaic Western superhero movies.
Based on the 2015 comic book by Dennis Liu, Netflix’s original series Raising Dion follows a woman named Nicole who raises her son Dion alone following the death of her husband.
Things get more difficult when Dion starts to display superhero-like abilities, and Nicole must keep her son’s powers a secret to protect him from people out to exploit him.
The series has been well-received, and unlike many of Netflix’s recently canceled shows, Raising Dion has a second season on the way.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is widely regarded as one of the greatest superhero movies of all time, with particular praise given to its sense of humor and unique animation style.
It’s got a star-studded voice cast including Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Lily Tomlin and Nicolas Cage, and enough high-stakes action to rival a big-screen Marvel Cinematic Universe movie.
It also won Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. No big deal. You can catch it on Netflix now.
Before DC kicked off their sprawling cinematic universe with 2013’s Henry Cavill-starring Man Of Steel, Brandon Routh took on the role of Superman in 2006’s Superman Returns. The movie received a positive response from fans and critics, but wasn’t deemed successful enough by Warner Bros. who canceled a planned sequel.
Interestingly, Routh briefly stepped back into his role as Superman for a 2019 Arrowverse crossover event called Crisis on Infinite Earths. He also appeared as another DC superhero, The Atom, in several Arrowverse series including Arrow and The Flash. So, not confusing at all.
Why should Superman get all the attention? Another addition to the Arrowverse, Supergirl follows the adventures of the Man of Steel’s cousin Kara Danvers, one of the last remaining Kryptonians, as she embarks on her own superhero career.
Like fellow DC series Black Lightning, Supergirl has received praise for improving representation in the superhero genre; Nicole Maines’ Dreamer is the first trans superhero on TV, and there’s a hard-hitting episode that deals directly with transphobic hate crimes.
The series follows Barry Allen, a crime scene investigator who uses his newly-gained super-human speed to fight criminals as masked superhero The Flash. It’s the second entry into the Arrowverse, and has five critically-acclaimed seasons to its name.
If you’re looking for an accessible way into the DC universe, this is a good starting point.
The Defenders was the ultimate pay-off for fans of Netflix’s collaboration with Marvel, bringing together the four small-screen superheroes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist for an epic, one-off crossover miniseries.
Set a few months after Daredevil Season 2, and one month after Iron Fist, the series brings the four vigilantes together to form the titular superhero team to fight against a common enemy that threatens New York City: The Hand.
The chemistry between the four is a joy to watch, and there’s also an appearance from Sigourney Weaver. Who could ask for more?
One of the best things about Netflix’s Marvel shows is that superheroes with a darker story are able to have that side of them explored without compromise. The movies tend to stay family-friendly to ensure as big of an audience as possible, but on streaming services that concern doesn’t hold as much weight.
So it made a lot of sense when The Punisher got his own MA-rated series after appearing in Daredevil. It only lasted two seasons, but fans should enjoy the fact that we got to see him at all, as we don’t imagine his lethal crime-fighting methods will translate to the MCU anytime soon.
The Umbrella Academy
The Umbrella Academy has been a runaway success for Netflix. Based on the comics by My Chemical Romance vocalist Gerard Way, the show follows a dysfunctional family of adopted sibling superheroes who reunite to solve the mystery of their father’s death. Oh, and there’s an apocalypse on the way, too.
The characters are engaging and fleshed-out, and stars like Mary J. Blige and Robert Sheehan are a joy to watch. It’s proved popular with viewers, and we’re fully expecting a third season to be confirmed soon.