New Movies on Disney+

Movies Lists Disney Plus
New Movies on Disney+

Disney+ is home to all of the entertainment giant’s studios and franchises, meaning its latest releases are scattered among a variety of properties. But we’re looking solely at movies here, so no Andor series and no short films like Pixar’s Nona. What we do have are the latest feature-length films from Marvel, Pixar, National Geographic and even 20th Century Studios (had you forgotten Disney scooped them up, as well?). There’s live-action with the emphasis on action. There’s animation aplenty. And there are riveting documentaries.

Here are seven of the newest movies streaming on Disney+:

1. Flamin’ HotDisney+ Release Date: June 9, 2023
Director: Eva Longoria
Stars: Jesse Garcia, Annie Gonzalez, Dennis Haysbert, Tony Shalhoub
Rating: PG-13

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Let’s start with the bad news: In all likelihood, Richard Montañez did not invent Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. If you’re okay with the fact that most of Montañez’s story—which the film presents as truth—is total fiction, let’s move on to the good news: Flamin’ Hot is pretty charming. In Eva Longoria’s hands, helped with a script from Lewis Colick and Linda Yvette Chávez, the movie is a tale of ingenuity and determination that reflects a love for Mexican American culture, without lionizing (at least, not too much) the corporate product at its center. Flamin’ Hot gives us the arc of Montañez’s (Jesse Garcia) life from farmworker kid through his rise up the ranks at Frito-Lay. He meets his supportive wife Judy (Annie Gonzalez) when they’re both in elementary school. They bond over their shared identity as Mexican American kids surviving abusive fathers. As a teen, Montañez becomes a drug dealer, frequently on the wrong side of the law until Judy gets pregnant and they both decide to go straight. Eventually, Montañez gets a janitor job at the Rancho Cucamonga Frito-Lay factory, where he ingratiates himself to the plant’s head mechanic (Dennis Haysbert), eager to learn the inner workings of the machines that make and package the snacks. In the 1980s, a recession endangers the factory’s future, and that hanging threat persists into the early ‘90s. That’s when Montañez—inspired by his younger son’s love of spicy elote—develops the idea for a spicy snack flavoring that will appeal to Latinx customers. He presents the idea to CEO Roger Enrico (Tony Shaloub) as a Hail Mary bid to save the factory. To its credit, Flamin’ Hot at least acknowledges Montañez’s propensity for exaggeration, and uses that to endearing effect. The movie also addresses cultural issues and injustice with admirable honesty. The truth may be much less interesting, but the legend is colorful, heartwarming and surprisingly fun. —Abby Olcese

2. Avatar: The Way of Wateravatar-way-water.jpgDisney+ Release Date: June 7, 2023 (Originally released December 16, 2022)
Director: James Cameron
Stars: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Jamie Flatters, Britain Dalton, Trinity Bliss, Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, Edie Falco, Jack Champion, Jemaine Clement, Joel David Moore, Brendan Cowell, CCH Pounder
Rating: PG-13

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Avatar: The Way of Water is a promise—like the titular Way as described by a beatific, finned Na’vi fish-people princess, the film connects all things: the past and the future; cinema as a generational ideal and one film’s world-uniting box office reality; James Cameron’s megalomania and his justification for Being Like That; one audience member and another audience member on the other side of the world; one archetypal cliché and another archetypal cliché; dreams and waking life. Avatar’s sequel can be nothing less than a delivery on everything Cameron has said, hyperbolic or not, he would deliver. What’s less clear is exactly what Cameron’s intending to deliver. The Way of Water’s story is a bare bones lesson in appealing to as many worldwide markets as possible, the continuation of the adventures of Bostonian Jake Sully (Sam Worthington, who’s spent the past decade trying not to sound like an outback chimney sweep) as he raises a Na’vi family with like-warrior-minded Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña, screaming from inside her golden prison) and realizes that Earthlings aren’t going to stop colonizing Pandora just because they had their shit kicked in a lifetime ago. The Way of Water’s true achievement is that it looks like nothing else but the first Avatar, unparalleled in detail and scale, a devouring enterprise all to itself. Watching The Way of Water can at times feel astonishing, as if the brain gapes at the sheer amount of physical data present in every frame, incapable of consuming it, but longing to keep up. We believe that this film will redefine box office success because Cameron presents it—making the absolute most of high frame rates, 3-D, and IMAX, normalizing their use, acclimating our brains in ways Ang Lee could only wish—as the next evolutionary step in modern blockbuster filmmaking. This is immersion for its own sake, moviegoing as experience vaunted to the next level, breathtaking in its completely unironic scope. After so many hours in Pandora, untroubled by complicated plot or esoteric myths, caring for this world comes easy. As do the tears. The body reacts as the brain flails. Avatar has consumed James Cameron; it is his everything now, the vehicle for every story he wants to tell, and every story anyone may want to tell—the all-consuming world he’s created is such a lushly resourced aesthetic wonder that anything can be mapped onto its ever-expanding ecosystems. Pandora is a toolbox and ready-made symbol. No film will ever be this beautiful in my lifetime, at least until the next Avatar.—Dom Sinacola

3. Ant-Man and the Wasp: QuantumaniaDisney+ Release Date: May 17, 2023 (Original release: February 17, 2023)
Director: Peyton Reed
Stars: Paul Rudd, Evangeline, Jonathan Majors, Kathryn Newton, David Dastmalchian, Katy O’Brien
Genre: Superhero, Sci-Fi
Rating: PG-13

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For better or worse (and mostly for worse), Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania goes large. In a case of cinematic superposition, a franchise built to go small, to ride on more personal stakes and the casual chemistry of Ruddian charm and likable group dynamics, must now also fully introduce not only an entire universe/microverse but the next Thanos-level threat much of the MCU will be centered around in the coming decade. Frankly, it’s a lot to ask of an insect-themed hero. That’s not to say there aren’t moments to appreciate. The initial scenes in the quantum realm have a certain “$200 million budget” vigor that evokes the often trippy alien landscapes found in the pages of the Fantastic Four, Thor and Doctor Strange. At a minimum, it felt like the budget line for creating new aliens was double or even triple that allowed in a Guardians of the Galaxy film. That said, the relentless green screen of it all, coupled with often clunky, predictable dialogue, drains much of the interpersonal charm and chemistry that helped buoy the previous films. In its place, we’re left with sheepish excusing (Paul Rudd), disapproving looks and mutterings (Kathryn Newton’s Cassie Lang) and buckets of “No time to tell you!” (Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet Van Dyne), the latter of which seems a scriptwriting substitute for actual suspense and revelation. Thankfully, as Kang the Conqueror, Johnathan Majors seems mostly immune. And then it all gets shoved into the MCU Third Act Sausage Grinder, yielding a familiar mush of green-screened heroes battling swarms of identical henchmen in numbers as limitless—or conspicuously absent—as they need to be. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania feels less like it’s a small part of a bigger plan and more as if it’s being forced to work against its own interests to serve a grand design. The MCU is undeniably a bigger place than it was when Thanos lost his game of gauntlet keepaway. But in the midst of multiplying timelines, exploding multiverses, and newly revealed quantum realms, Kevin Feige and company shouldn’t overlook the small things. —Michael Burgin

4. CraterDisney+ Release Date: May 12, 2023
Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Stars: Isaiah Russell-Bailey, Mckenna Grace, Billy Barratt, Orson Hong, Thomas Boyce, Scott Mescudi
Rating: PG

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When Caleb’s father dies, the boy raised on a lunar colony must leave behind everything he knows to relocate to a distant planet. But before he leaves, he enlists a group of other kids to take a moon rover for a ride for one last adventure in this coming-of-age sci-fi Disney+ original.

5. Peter Pan & WendyDisney+ Release Date: April 28, 2023
Director: David Lowery
Starring: Alexander Molony, Ever Anderson, Jude Law, Yara Shahidi, Alyssa Wapanatâhk, Joshua Pickering, Jacobi Jupe, Molly Parker, Alan Tudyk, Jim Gaffigan
Rating: PG

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Disney’s 1953 Peter Pan, an animated adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s play, made me feel like fully being transported through time. On the contrary, Peter Pan & Wendy–director David Lowery’s newest iteration of Barrie’s original story, one out of a seemingly endless supply of middling and questionable Peter Pan films—made me feel like I was being transported further into the future. It’s a future where gorgeous and kinetic, hand-drawn animated classics are brought to grim life through a muddy mix of disquieting CGI, lifeless performances and cinematography that would make even the most checked-out cinemagoer desperately yearn for the vibrancy of Disney’s past, all as a means to get paying customers through the con of nostalgia. Oh wait! That’s not the future. That’s right now, in the present. We’re already there, and we’re barreling boldly forward into a gray soup of despair. Lowery does attempt to add some impressions of visual flair, as the journey to Neverland includes Malickian-inspired flashback sequences and a touch of surrealism. And after the character introductions and arrival in Neverland, the story begins its course through admirably unfamiliar territory. Lowery is clearly interested in toying with more mature notions of childhood and adulthood, but there’s more charm and wonder to be found in his adaptation of The Green Knight than in this children’s fantasy film. It’s all bogged down by a slog of unimagination that spends too much time sucking the life and magic out of a story set in a magical world. Maybe that’s part of the point–something, something, growing up, something, something–but shouldn’t we also want to go to Neverland, even if only for a moment? —Brianna Zigler
Michael Burgin

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Foreverwakanda-poster.jpgDisney+ Release Date: February 1, 2023 (Originally released November 11, 2022)
Director: Ryan Coogler
Stars: Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Dominique Thorne, Michaela Coel, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman, Angela Bassett
Rating: PG-13

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever boasts the same director in Ryan Coogler (and the same writing team of Coogler and Joe Robert Cole), who have again created a story whose conflicts and character arcs go deeper than the average MCU fare. Of equal importance, Wakanda Forever again features the Oscar-winning talents of Hannah Beachler (production design) and Ruth E. Carter (costume design). Wakanda remains a vividly realized Afrofuturist cityscape (even in mourning), and the MCU’s newest kingdom, Talokan, though markedly less flashy than James Wan’s Atlantis in Aquaman, feels as real and wondrous as a fictitious Aztec/Mayan underwater realm should. The cast is mostly the same, with Michael B. Jordan’s scene-stealing antagonist Erik Killmonger replaced by Tenoch Huerta’s similarly compelling and cleverly reimagined anti-hero Namor (who is much more integral to Marvel Comics—and likely the MCU—than Killmonger). But how keen the loss contained in that word—“mostly.” Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of T’Challa was a magical piece of casting alchemy on par with Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers. Coogler confronts the loss directly in Wakanda Forever in a beautiful opening tribute to both actor and character. T’Challa’s funeral is a reminder of just how strong the cast is overall, providing Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright and Danai Gurira some grief-themed scene-chewing of their own. Where Thor: Love and Thunder felt like a lighter, sloppier version of its predecessor, Wakanda Forever feels like a well-considered, necessary next step for a franchise rocked by loss. It’s a tad overstuffed—an entire sub-plot involving Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) feels more like Feige fiat to ensure certain characters and developments are sufficiently presaged—but that only serves as a reminder of the fine line between “laying groundwork” and overpacking. Despite the daunting challenge faced by Coogler and his team, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever feels like the surest step taken in the MCU since Thanos was reduced to ash. It’s both an impressive achievement and a promising development, especially when considers the strong comic book connections between Namor, mutants (he is one), and a certain fantastic foursome on the MCU horizon.—Michael Burgin

7. Strange Worldstrange-world-poster.jpgDisney+ Release Date: December 23, 2022 (Originally released November 23, 2022)
Director: Don Hall
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, Lucy Liu
Genre: Animation, Adventure

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Strange World, Disney’s sole original animated feature of 2022, combines facets of Pixar’s pair of the year’s releases to a lesser effect. Looking both backwards to Lightyear’s loving homage to pulp fiction and forwards to Turning Red’s progressive and wholesome examination of specific family dynamics, Strange World is late to its own company’s trends. It wears its more talented siblings’ emotional honesty and retro homages like hand-me-downs. Like many of the flashy adventure stories it mimics, Strange World can be arresting—especially with its inventive setting and bulbous creatures—and its attempts at deconstructing the sweaty, macho-man ethos hawked by its inspiration are admirable. But with muddled themes and slight characters, remnants of the old dime magazines coordinate to bring Strange World down on the wrong side of familiar. Strange World’s embrace and rejection of both tradition and modernity can be confounding, despite the undeniable beauty it finds along the way. Like the wild, untamed, interconnected world lying underneath humanity’s Avalonia, there’s a complexity worth tangling with lurking beneath Strange World’s tired family conflict. But its desire to have its world and strange it too is irreconcilable with its top priority: Be a Disney movie. Sadly, the resulting confusion, of commentary stifled by corporate need and tradition, isn’t that strange at all. —Jacob Oller

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