Adventure Movies

16 Best Adventure Releases on Disney Plus

February 13, 20249 Mins Read

The Marvels

Most films don’t come with homework. The same cannot be said of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s new movie, The Marvels. Unless you’re a devoted MCU fan with an encyclopedic knowledge of both the movies and the Disney+ TV originals, it’s difficult to understand the mechanics of this disastrously convoluted entry in the floundering franchise. It feels like being dropped headfirst into a crossover episode based on three shows you’ve never seen — mostly because it is. The Marvels kicks off with a bit of genuine visual interest (that never appears again) in the form of hand-drawn comics created by teenage superhero-slash-Captain Marvel fangirl Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), aka Ms. Marvel. Vellani, who previously appeared as Kamala on the little-seen Disney+ series Ms. Marvel, is a spunky, hilarious teenage heroine whose impressive comedic timing buoys the leaden, disjointed script. She so thoroughly steals the show that it’s disappointing this movie wasn’t just about her; instead, it’s a confused mix of storylines involving Kamala, Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), and astronaut Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris, Candyman). It feels like the powers that be made a huge mistake in consigning her story to a poorly publicized streaming original, instead of letting her headline a film on her own. Continue Reading →

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Though their core plots aren’t similar, all three movies in Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy share the common thread of emotionally immature men clinging to the relics of their youth, often to the detriment of their friendships and romantic lives. Specifically men of Generation X, who tend to glorify their younger days, and the pop culture associated with it, at a level that borders on delusional (and as a Gen X woman I can tell you we’re not much better about it). Continue Reading →


Over the years, Pixar has enlisted a variety of creatures to populate their wholesome stories of love and acceptance. There have been toys, monsters, cars, disembodied souls, and even the occasional human. In their new film Elemental, the characters are personifications of the four elements. It’s a choice that may leave you asking, “Have they run out of ideas at this point?”  Continue Reading →

The Little Mermaid

The spate of recent live-action Disney remakes has run the gamut in quality from pleasantly diverting (Cinderella, Pete’s Dragon) to unwatchable abominations (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast.) Even the most well-received entries of the bunch struggle to find reasons they should exist in the first place. Rob Marshall’s The Little Mermaid is no different, but for one crucial factor that sets it apart from the rest: Halle Bailey as Ariel. Bailey is so captivating and winsome in the titular role that this remake almost feels worth it just to launch her into movie stardom. Unfortunately, sub-par CGI effects and clunky changes to Howard Ashman’s classic songs often make it feel like Bailey is left to carry the movie on the strength of her remarkable talent alone. With a shaggy runtime of two hours and fifteen minutes—a full hour longer than the original cartoon—it’s a heavy load for one performer to bear. Continue Reading →

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

A lot’s happened since we last saw the Guardians of the Galaxy (well, besides their brief cameo in Thor: Love and Thunder). Writer/director James Gunn was fired from Marvel in 2018 after some problematic tweets joking about pedophilia were unearthed, in one of the few instances of a successful cancellation from the right wing. Of course, it didn’t last long, considering how thin the ground was for said cancellation in the first place; and in the interim, he swanned off to DC, made the fantastic The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, and eventually found himself sharing the throne of a newly-revamped DC movie universe. Continue Reading →

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe got bigger and bigger and bigger, it was downright refreshing to see something as fittingly small and low-stakes as the Ant-Man films break up all the universe-ending tension. It was nice; after watching the Avengers punch through an exhausting sea of robotic baddies and set up a bunch of Infinity Stone dross, along came Paul Rudd as a smirking, kinda-dumb thief who lucked his way into a shrinking suit he used on a tech heist. After Thanos snapped half the universe away, we flashed back to good ol’ Scott Lang on a caper to bring his mentor Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) wife Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) back from the Quantum Realm. They were lighter, more carefree, a much-needed sitcom wing of the MCU. Continue Reading →

Avatar: The Deep Dive – A Special Edition of 20/20

“Avatar has no cultural relevance.” “It’s just Dances With Wolves with blue cat people.” We’ve all heard the digs ever since James Cameron’s 2009 opus hit theaters more than a dozen years ago, made all the money, and gobsmacked the Academy into giving it a Best Picture nomination. But even though it didn’t immediately launch a franchise and give people (apart from a select few who took Pandora way too seriously) Avatar Fever, its impact was more subtle and quiet. Sure, it launched a mini-3D boom that leaked out into the early 2010s, but its most noticeable ripples came in its normalizing of a new suite of CG technology, radical motion capture and worldbuilding, and fully-formed digital environments that could genuinely transport viewers to another place. Continue Reading →

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

One thing you can say about Christmas and the Guardians of the Galaxy is that both tend to go a bit over the top. One’s affection for either depends greatly on how you feel about a good thing taken to excess. For this critic, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special hits that delicious “too much, but I can’t help but like it” sweet spot like seconds on the pecan pie. Continue Reading →

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

How do we move on from a devastating loss? A close friend, a family member, a spouse — or, in the case of Wakanda Forever, the twin losses of both Chadwick Boseman (who died unexpectedly in 2020 of colon cancer) and the character of T’Challa, King of Wakanda and the reigning Black Panther. But rather than recast T’Challa for the sequel (a movement that has itself garnered quite a lot of attention leading up to this), writer/director Ryan Coogler chose the harder, more innately interesting path: Follow a world, a people, a family without the nucleus around which they orbited. See what the world of Black Panther does without its central figure, and watch the mighty ensemble of Black women around him scramble to pick up the pieces of their lives and figure out what to do next. Continue Reading →


A movie based on Buzz Lightyear seemed inevitable, didn’t it? Toy Story is Pixar’s flagship franchise, and an action-packed sci-fi movie is primed for merchandising opportunities. There’s no way The Mouse could resist making a spin-off featuring the beloved fictional action figure.  Continue Reading →

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers

The more things change, the more they stay the same. For the latest example of this phenomenon, notice how, 34 years after Who Framed Roger Rabbit? changed movies forever, moviegoers are getting another comedic mystery hinging on live-action humans interacting with famous cartoon characters. The shadow of Zemeckis’ revolutionary blend of filmmaking styles looms large over its modern-day thematic successor, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers.  Continue Reading →

The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild

Ice Age’s creativity melted away so long ago that it may as well have vanished at the end of the actual Pleistocene. The series’ diminishing returns culminated in 2016’s disastrous Ice Age: Collision Course, a picture that made the name Ice Age synonymous with “empty cash grab.”  And yet, as paleontologists do, Disney’s gone to dig it up. But rather than, say, exciting discoveries about the lives and times of woolly mammoths, all that the excavation of Ice Age has resulted in is another crummy movie: The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild. Continue Reading →


It’s funny to think about the mission creep that’s escalated within the Marvel Cinematic Universe since its debut in 2008 with the first Iron Man. Watching Eternals, you can’t help but wonder that all of this started, as Jeff Bridges once quipped, in a cave with a box of scraps. Now, with Thanos and the events of Eternals, the MCU truly delves into the cosmic — the vast span of space and time, and the very fabric of the universe at stake. And yet, the bigger and longer the MCU grows (heh), the more weightless it all feels; there’s heaps of ambition at play in Marvel’s latest, at least within the meager confines of Kevin Feige’s franchise stewardship, but its reach exceeds its grasp. Continue Reading →

Jungle Cruise

The phenomenon of Disney adapting its own theme park rides to the silver screen will never not be fascinating to me. It’s the ultimate act of corporate synergy: watch Disney movies, come to Disneyland to experience them in real life, come ride our rides, then watch the movie based on the rides. What’s even more fascinating are the ones that work: Gore Verbinski’s Pirates of the Caribbean pulled off a minor miracle in adapting a pretty groan-worthy theme park ride into a vibrant, Errol Flynn-like adventure. And in an attempt to recapture that kind of heat, we now have Jungle Cruise, which gets points for referencing the right things, even as it refuses to reinvent the wheel. Continue Reading →

Raya and the Last Dragon

(Note: We heavily encourage you to read reviews and criticism from Southeast Asian critics, who have a much more intimate and detailed understanding of the cultures from which Raya and the Last Dragon draws inspiration. This thread is a helpful primer.) Continue Reading →

Night at the Museum

The thing about guilt is that it can wear you down until you’re more a cluster of exposed nerve endings than a human being. That, at least, is the premise behind The Night, a new psychological horror and debut film from director Kourosh Ahari. Set in Los Angeles and spoken almost entirely in Farsi, The Night is a wonderfully odd mix of being spare and a bit too much all at once.  Continue Reading →

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