Come out from hiding, superhero fans, because today is your day. April 28 is National Superhero Day, and we’re going to help you celebrate in style.
For decades, characters like Captain America, Batman, Spider-Man and Superman have held the concept of justice, as well as the action genre, to a higher standard. Whether you’re purchasing tickets to see “Avengers: Age of Ultron” or are camping out to be first in line for “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” it’s never been a better time to be a fan of costumed good guys.
What better way to honor the heroes we know and love than by binge-watching some movies and TV shows that helped bring them to life? Below are a few titles available on Netflix:
'Ultimate Spider-Man' (2 Seasons)
Drake Bell lends his voice to Peter Parker in this Disney XD animated adventure series. The show follows a high school-aged Peter after Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. recruit him to lead a team of young superheroes. Joining him are White Tiger, Nova, Iron Fist and Luke Cage. It’s perfect for younger viewers but will certainly appeal to slightly older Marvel fans as it’s jam-packed with cameos from the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, Deadpool and many more. If two seasons of this epic saga aren’t enough, the network has two other shows very loosely set in the same universe: “Avengers Assemble” and “Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.” Both are available on Netflix and there's more on the way.
'Justice League' (2 Seasons)
Another children’s cartoon, this show features the most popular DC Comics characters, including Superman, Batman, the Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and more. Together they battle threats both on Earth and in the cosmos. The series is a great introduction to the Justice League and should help a young audience prepare for the movie franchise being developed by Warner Bros. As with “Ultimate Spider-Man,” there's more than just the two seasons of this show to satiate your appetite. Loosely based on the show is “Justice League Unlimited,” which acts as a soft reboot of the original.
'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' (1 Season)
Although it had a rocky start, Marvel’s first TV venture that extends its Cinematic Universe runs through all of its Phase 2 movies, including “Thor: The Dark World” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Fans of “The Avengers” will recognize Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) as the lead of the ABC show. While it doesn’t necessarily have caped heroes flying through the sky to save the day, it does showcase how humanity deals with superpowered threats. And if that’s not enough to draw you in, constant references to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) are worth the watch.
'Daredevil' (1 Season)
OK, while the above shows are child-friendly, save this Marvel masterpiece for after the kids are in bed. This dark and violent crime drama is the first installment in a larger plan from Netflix and Marvel Studios to create an "Avengers"-like franchise for the small screen. Binge-watch all 13 episodes of the gritty crime drama and learn the origins of one of Marvel Comics' street-level characters. Soon he’ll be joined by Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist in the "Defenders” miniseries – after each hero gets his or her own stand-alone season on Netflix. There are far too many good things to say about this show, so make it a part of your National Superhero Day schedule.
'Arrow' (2 Seasons)
This cult hit brings one of DC Comics’ lesser-known heroes to the forefront of the universe -- a bold choice that has paid off in full. Not only is it a success in its own right, but it has spawned a spinoff featuring the Flash. Much more than a campy superhero show, “Arrow” manages to bring some of the DC universe’s more unrealistic characters to life in a very believable way. It’s worth the watch for any comic book fan.
'The Punisher' (2004)
Many have tried to bring one of Marvel’s darkest characters to life and critics would argue that none have succeeded. However, Thomas Jane makes the best attempt in this action-packed story of a former FBI agent who seeks revenge on the mobster that killed his entire family. Between Jane putting a bullet through bad guys and John Travolta's performance as the maniacal villain, there are precious few slow moments.
Although he’s not a superhero in the traditional sense, Hellboy is based on a comic and that’s good enough to make this list. The first chapter in the two-part movie franchise introduces the demonic, beer-swilling hero. He’s a part of a secret organization determined to keep humanity blind to the dark underworld raging in the shadows. Hellboy can take big hits and has an even bigger gun to answer back.
'The Crow' (1994)
The night before his wedding, a man and his fiancée are murdered by a violent gang. On the anniversary of this grim event, the man (played by Brandon Lee, who died during production) comes back from the grave to seek revenge. This gothic tale is similar to "Hellboy" in that it’s not the traditional superhero movie that fans can expect from the likes of Iron Man or Thor, but it’s certainly a fun watch for those with the stomach for it.