The best movie boxsets to stream on Disney+
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With the newly-launched Disney+ adding thousands of movies and TV episodes to your entertainment options, we thought it was worth singling out the various franchises and movie series worth bingeing on to get you through the summer.
Draw the curtains, turn off your phone, practice safe social distancing and settle in for the best movie boxsets available on Disney+ from launch...
Marvel Cinematic Universe
Let's face it, this is probably going to be your first port of call. The most ambitious movie series ever committed to film, this groundbreaking, crowd-pleasing, decade-long, multi-studio connected universe forms a cornerstone of the Disney+ service. The UK gets 20 movies, from 2008's Iron Man right through to last year's Avengers: Endgame, and all of the thrills, spills and kills in between - all that's missing is the Ed Norton-starring The Incredible Hulk, and the two Sony-owned Tom Holland Spider-Man movies.
Read more: All of the Marvel on Disney+
There's at least a month's viewing in the MCU alone, and that's before you get into the Marvel TV series — Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, Runaways and, um, Inhumans are also available from day one. As Stan Lee would say: Excelsior!
Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
The MCU has volume, but the Skywalker saga has history: from the first episode to the last, the Star Wars saga spans 40 years of a galaxy far, far away. Last year's divisive final instalment, The Rise of Skywalker, is yet to hit Disney+ and is due some time this summer, but that arguably leaves you with the best of the Star Wars universe.
Read more: All of the Star Wars on Disney+
For better or worse, through thick and thin, via lightsaber battles and trade embargoes and prequels and force ghosts and midichlorians, Star Wars has been with us, always. So, once you've made your way through the first Disney+ Star Wars original, The Mandalorian, dive back in and revisit the entire Skywalker saga - and don't forget standalone spin-offs Rogue One and Solo, too.
It's hard to believe it's been almost 25 years since the original Toy Story was released, revolutionising cinema as we knew it. Since then, Woody and Buzz have become pop culture phenomena, Pixar has gone from strength to strength and the Toy Story franchise has become one of the most beloved and cherished family movie series in history.
The original movie and all three of its sequels are available to stream from day one, including last year's Oscar-winner Toy Story 4, but don't look past the exclusive Disney+ originals: standout character Forky gets his own mini-series, Forky Asks a Question, while short film Lamp Life tells the story of what happened to Bo Peep between Toy Story 3 and 4. And if you've never seen them, the Toy Story Toons — Hawaiian Vacation, Small Fry and Partysaurus Rex — make for essential viewing for fans of the franchise.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Drink up me hearties, yo ho! Disney hasn't had quite as much success with live-action franchises as Marvel and Star Wars, except of course for the Pirates of the Caribbean series. When the original feature film was announced at the turn of the century, no one gave the movie — based on the theme park ride — much of a chance, but thanks to Johnny Depp's mesmeric performance as perma-drunk sea rogue Jack Sparrow, the Pirates franchise sailed on to five movies and billions of box-office booty.
The Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man's Chest, At World's End, On Stranger Tides and Salazar's Revenge are all present and correct on day one. But where did the rum go?
The OGs of the superhero genre, the X-Men movies are often overlooked in favour of the more recent, flashier and more successful Marvel Cinematic Universe films, but ignore them at your peril. These are superhero movies that broke the mould, back when there was no blueprints for how to do them properly.
Read more: How X-Men influenced Endgame
X-Men movies available to stream include Bryan Singer's 2000 original, his sequel X2, Brett Ratner's threequel The Last Stand, two of Hugh Jackman's spin-offs in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and 2013's The Wolverine, plus Matthew Vaughn's '60s-set prequel First Class and the astonishing multi-universe franchise highlight, X-Men: Days of Future Past.
If that's all bit too grown-up for your wee ones, the classic '90s X-Men animated series is available too. Who needs the outside world?
The Lion King
The zenith of Disney's so-called 'Golden Age' of animation, 1994's epic The Lion King was a mega-hit so successful, it spawned a whole host of sequels, TV series, remakes and spin-offs, all of which are available on Disney+.
We recommend you start with the classic original, then check out the surprisingly good straight-to-video sequel, Simba's Pride, then follow that up with the excellent third movie, confusingly-named comedy The Lion King 1 ½, which shows the events of the first movie from the perspective of Timon and Pumbaa. Everyone's favourite meerkat/warthog combo appear in their own TV spin-off, which ran for three seasons, while younger viewers can enjoy Disney Junior series The Lion Guard.
Finally, wallow in the opulent CG beauty of Jon Favreau's 2019 Lion King remake, an astonishing technical achievement that brings the African savannah into your living room.
The Mighty Ducks
Of all the famous ducks you might associate with Disney — Donald, Darkwing, Scrooge Mc — the Mighty Ducks probably aren't going to be high on your agenda the first time you fire up Disney+. Don't sleep on this franchise, because it is a pure hit of nineties nostalgia injected straight into your veins — an uplifting and inspiring trilogy that's a must-watch even if you've never touched a hockey puck in your life.
Emilio Estevez is front and centre throughout the original as well as sequels D2 and D3, as his plucky group of ragtag underdogs continue to defy the odds and shake up the world of ice hockey. Make you get up to speed, because Disney+ have already announced an original sequel series starring Estevez, hopefully wearing less acid-washed denim this time around.
Although it's far from Pixar's best movie series, the Cars franchise has a certain undeniable appeal — loud, brash and action-packed, it's like the Fast & Furious franchise for the under-eights. Sure, the first movie is a pretty clear ripoff of Michael J Fox comedy Doc Hollywood, and the sequel is a bizarre mish-mash of race scenes and ill-advised spy antics, but the third movie is a brilliant back-to-basics barnstormer that finally settles on a surprisingly mature tone.
Read more: All the Pixar on Disney+
Younger viewers might want to take a look at the numerous Cars Toon shorts, including the outlandish adventures of tow-truck Mater, an unreliable narrator with a penchant for daydreaming. And if you really need another high-octane fix, look to the skies: sidequels Planes and Planes: Fire & Rescue are also on the starting line.
Honey, I Shrunk...
Josh Gad is reportedly attached to a forthcoming reboot of this beloved '80s sci-fi franchise, so it's the perfect time to revisit all three of the classic Disney originals. The first, Joe Johnston's Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, is a superbly realised adventure, featuring a mind-boggling (for the time) mix of CG and practical effects.
The sequel, Honey, I Blew Up The Baby, is a larger-than-life blast, while the little-seen straight-to-video third instalment, Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, sees inventor Wayne Szalinski shrink himself and his wife, which we guess is marginally less negligent than experimenting on his children. If nothing else, the Honey, I Shrunk... franchise is a great excuse to witness the comedic genius of Rick Moranis in his prime — rumour has it he's returning for Shrunk!, the aforementioned reboot.
Sure, the Cars franchise has fast cars, cutting-edge animation and celebrity voiceovers, but if all that sounds a little too slick for you, don't overlook the rough-and-readiness of the classic Herbie franchise. There are five movies available to enjoy, from 1968 original The Love Bug through sequels Herbie Rides Again, Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo, Herbie Goes Bananas and the Lindsay Lohan-starring 2005 reboot, Herbie: Fully Loaded.
There's something quite charming about the lo-fi, clunky, spit-and-glue nature of the race scenes, and it's quaint to think how such a thin concept - it's a car… but sentient! - could be revved up into a multi-film franchise in the 1970s. Nonetheless, an adventure with Herbie is still a ride worth sharing.