7 best new movies to watch online this week: Black Panther 2, Babylon and more (Jan. 31-Feb. 4)

(L-R): Danai Gurira as Okoye and Angela Bassett as Ramonda in BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER
(Image credit: Eli Adé)

We hope your nights are open this week, as this week's list of new movies to watch online is pretty darn neat. In addition to getting the most-recent big Marvel movie, you'll get to stream a buzzy film that attracted a ton of award nominations — but not much box office.

Without question, the biggest release of the week is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Disney Plus. The film tackles the topic of succession for the throne in Wakanda, which feels almost too-meta as the passing of Chadwick Boseman still stings. 

Over on Netflix, we have two very different films. First up is a documentary that lets Pamela Anderson explain her own life story, which has always been told by others. Later in the week, Big Red drops a YA adventure movie about the first 16-year-old to sail around the world alone. And this weekend? Shawn Mendes voices a singing crocodile (also on Netflix). 

Elsewhere, you've got a heartwarming romcom on Peacock, and horror movie that is nearly impossible to describe, except to say it's incredibly odd.

Here, are the top 7 new movies to watch online this week:

Babylon (Digital)

If you ever felt like technology was making you irrelevant, know that you're far from the first. In the 1920s, Hollywood braced for impact as the silent movie era was winding down and about to be succeeded. Damien Chazelle's Babylon, a celebratory and cautionary tale of excess focuses on a star (Brad Pitt), a rising actress (Margot Robbie), an executive (Diego Calva) and a trumpeter (Jovan Adepo), whose lives are in as much (if not more) tumult than the industry's.

Each, though, is watching as the industry tears away at their individuality as they try and survive the system. Two of the more-developed characters are Manuel (Calva) and Nellie (Robbie). He's trying to assimilate away from his Mexican heritage — even claiming to be a Spaniard for the sake of classiness — and while she is brash enough to get roles and headlines, she's also too unrefined for the taste-makers.

Buy it now Amazon, Apple and other services (released today, Jan. 31)

Pamela, a love story (Netflix)

Living in the public eye puts a strain on your life, and few people know this as well as Pamela Anderson. The actress, model and PETA spokesperson lost her privacy when a sex tape she made with her newly-wed husband Tommy Lee was stolen and sold on the internet. And with a recently-released dramatization of those years on Hulu, Anderson has taken to Netflix — the new pulpit for those looking to control their narrative.

This new documentary looks to finally give Anderson the microphone, and she will seemingly tell-all, including stories about her financial struggles. Comprised of new interviews and personal archival footage, Pamela, a love story seeks to turn Anderson into a hero.

Watch on Netflix right now (released today, Jan. 31)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Disney Plus)

Wakanda, the African nation state that was just about to become more public, is in mourning. Without T'Challa — Wakanda, and those who rule and protect it, is basically lost at sea. And from under the sea rises a new threat, Namor (Tenoch Huerta), the ruler of the hidden city. All of Wakanda's bravest will be called upon to fight this battle, but don't expect Daniel Kaluuya's W'Kabi — a film scheduling conflict took him out of the movie.

And while Wakanda faces a new menace, a new hero also rises. Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), aka Ironheart, makes her MCU debut in Wakanda Forever, and she's an instant new favorite. All that said, Wakanda Forever is a movie dominated (rightfully so) by Angela Bassett. Her performance as Queen Ramonda, as we noted in our Black Panther: Wakanda Forever review owns the screen, and as T'Challa's mother, she often represents a cast, crew and fandom in mourning for Chadwick Boseman. 

Watch on Disney Plus starting tomorrow (Feb. 1)

Skinamarink (Shudder, AMC Plus)

As someone who paid cash to see Skinamarink in theaters, I will admit that it's a movie that defies expectations and description. Its odd and unnerving premise — two young children wake up in the dead of night to discover that their father and some of the windows and doors in their home are missing — is the kind of set-up that will have some hitting 'play' on the above trailer, while others are sent scrolling down for something else.

Things don't let up after that, either. A mysterious and ominous voice emanates from upstairs, and, well,  that's all I should really say. I've still yet to develop a strong opinion about Skinamarink, but I'm happy I saw it.

Watch on Shudder starting Thursday (Feb. 2)

True Spirit (Netflix)

True Spirit stars Teagan Croft (Titans) as Jessica Watson, who took the whole "being an independent teen" thing a bit too far. Watson, in real life, set a record by being the youngest person ever to sail around the world on their own and unassisted, all at the age of 16. All while dealing with her own dyslexia, which threatened to sabotage her quest.

This 210-day journey earned her a ton of adulation, with the Australian Prime Minister declaring her a national hero. And in True Spirit, we're going to see how dark things got for Watson, who served as consultant on the film. If that's not enough, True Spirit also stars Anna Paquin as Jessica's mother Julie. 

Watch on Netflix starting Friday (Jan. 13)

Spoiler Alert (Peacock)

Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons stars in Spoiler Alert, a romantic comedy that doesn't hide the tragedy that is creeping up on its main characters. Based on a true life story, TV Guide writer Michael Ausiello (Parsons) finds himself possibly in his first ever long term relationship with Kit (Ben Aldridge), who's never done this before either. 

Along the way, the two go through trials and tribulations, including Kit finally coming out to his parents. And while their relationship survives problem after problem, tragedy strikes and Kit's health is in jeopardy. The pair take this moment to reconnect, as Michael fights for Kit. Along the way, Michael even bonds with Kit's mother Marilyn (Sally Field).

Watch on Peacock starting Friday (Feb. 3)

Lyle Lyle Crocodile (Netflix)

Who, we ask, who, would never talk about absolutely sings? Fans of Bernard Weber's children's books know the answer: it's Lyle, Lyle Crocodile. And that singing helps Lyle become the best friend of young Josh Primm (Winslow Fegley). Fortunately for Josh, his mother (Constance Wu) and his father (Scoot McNairy), this can all be explained by Lyle's owner Hector P. Valenti (Javier Bardem).

Unfortunately, for the Prims their downstairs neighbor (the aptly named) Alistair Grumps (Brett Gelman) doesn't like Lyle. Which may have something to do with the croc almost swallowing Al's cat. And since the whole Primm family takes to Lyle, they go to work on fixing his public image.

Watch on Netflix starting Saturday (Feb. 4)

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.