As kids, we looked ahead to the imminent 21st century and thought of a big bold, sci-fi future. The science-fiction movies genre is as expansive as the galaxy. The robot butler and trips to the drug store in hovercars version hasn’t yet arrived, but the first 18 years of this century have been extremely fruitful for big-screen science fiction.
Ever since the age when technology meant little more than a lensed metal tube that could peer into the sky, we’ve used technological advances to realize our dreams and nightmares. Many so-called sci-fi blockbusters were really action movies with some fantastical trappings, rather than thoughtful, provocative examinations of the world we live in through speculation about worlds we might live in.
Great sci-fi movies deal with the future, big ideas and how something in space will try and kill you. The list below consists of top Sci-Fi films which are the best of the bunch. Also have a look at our guide to other genere like romance, horror, comedy, etc.
1. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
In the aftermath of ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ Scott Lang grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father.
As he struggles to re-balance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with an urgent new mission.
Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past.
Review: Katie Walsh
The playful and appealing “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” out Friday, like “Ant-Man,” seen in 2015, are outliers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They feel far more self-contained than the sprawling, interconnected capers featuring the other superheroes.
The buggy movies are local, family-oriented stories. They even manage to make the stakes appropriately sized, which is ironic, given how much Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and his new partner, the Wasp, enjoy playing with the scale and proportion of everyday objects. Read Full Review…
2. Incredibles 2 (2018)
While the Parr family has accepted its collective calling as superheroes, the fact remains that their special heroism is still illegal. After they are arrested after unsuccessfully trying to stop the Underminer, their future seems bleak.
However, the wealthy Deavor siblings of Devtech offer new hope with a bold project to rehabilitate the public image and legal status of Supers, with Elastigirl being assigned on point to be the shining example. Read Full Description…
Review: Richard Brody
The very premise of Brad Bird’s 2004 Pixar film, “The Incredibles,” pits “a world of born” against “a world of made,” and comes down strongly in favour of the former.
The villain of the story is Buddy Pine, a.k.a. Syndrome, a warped genius who creates a device that can rival the powers of superheroes, especially those of Mr Incredible, a.k.a. Bob Parr. Read Full Review…
3. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
Three years after the Jurassic World theme park was closed down, Owen and Claire return to Isla Nublar to save the dinosaurs when they learn that a once dormant volcano on the island is active and is threatening to extinguish all life there.
Along the way, Owen sets out to find Blue, his lead raptor, and discovers a conspiracy that could disrupt the natural order of the entire planet. Life has found a way, again.
Review: Matthew Lickona
Golly, maybe life really will find a way, even in a franchise whose last instalment played like a zombified version of the original entry from Steven Spielberg.
Director J.A. Bayona’s most recent feature was titled A Monster Calls, and featured a child dealing with painful news about his mother.Bayona weaves a remarkably similar storyline into a tent pole film about dinosaurs, and even more remarkably, he makes it work to genuine emotional effect. Read Full Review…
4. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos.
A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality.
Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.
Review: Peter Rainer
“Avengers: Infinity War” reportedly cost around $300 million and was 10 years in the making. This doesn’t mean the film took 10 years to make. It just means that all that time was required to amass virtually all the Marvel characters into a single entity. The other Marvel movies can be viewed as a sort of prequel to this one.
For that matter, “Infinity War” is essentially a prequel, too – the second instalment of the two-part story is scheduled to arrive with a heavy thud next summer. Read Full Review…
5. A Quiet Place (2018)
Two parents do what it takes to keep their children safe in a world full of creatures hunting every sound they can hear.
Not a sound can be heard from the family hiding in silence, but all it takes is one noise and everything can go wrong.
Review: James Berardinelli
For movies like A Quiet Place – science fiction-based horror films that aren’t obsessed with appealing to the Blumhouse demographic – tone and atmosphere are the most critical production aspects.
This is something Ridley Scott understood as far back as Alien, a film whose influence on A Quiet Place is evident. By emphasizing the “quiet” element of the title and thereby amplifying the impact of even the faintest of sounds, director/co-writer/star John Krasinski puts us on edge. Read Full Review…
6. Rampage (2018)
Primatologist Davis (Dwayne Johnson) shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent silver back gorilla who has been in his care since he was young.
When a greed-fueled corporation’s genetic experiment goes awry, George and other animals across the country are mutated into aggressive super creatures who destroy everything in their path.
In this adrenaline-filled ride, Davis tries to find an antidote, not only to halt a global catastrophe but also to save the fearsome creature who was once his friend.
Review: Matthew Lickona
Director Brad Peyton’s latest “Let’s smash a city with Dwayne Johnson” feature may be based on a video game, but it plays like a live-action cartoon, one that doubles as a fantastical journey into the imagination and sensibility of a 10-year-old boy, complete with rude hand gestures and goofy declarations of badassery.
“You mess with me, you mess with my friend, mother.” It’s not that the result is good, exactly, but it is kind of impressive to see adults so in touch with their inner child. Read Full Review…
7. Deadpool 2 (2018)
After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste.
Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the Yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavour – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover.
Review: Richard Brody
In many ways, “Deadpool 2” is an improvement on its predecessor. Like the first film in the series, it’s largely a comedy, because of the torrent of snark that the protagonist (Ryan Reynolds) spouts, onscreen and in voice-over, from beginning to end—and because much of the action, even when it deals with earnest matters, is shaped to match these antic attitudes.
The drama of “Deadpool 2” is more sharply focussed than in the earlier film. The first “Deadpool” set out the protagonist’s grim origin story. Read Full Review…
8. The First Purge (2018)
America’s third political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, comes to power and conducts an experiment: no laws for 12 hours on Staten Island.No one has to stay on the island, but $5,000 is given anyone who does.
Review: Peter Howell
Now comes The First Purge, the fourth film in the series and the first under the presidential thumb of Donald Trump, a man who brags of committing sexual assault, who advocates beating protesters at his pep rallies and who is evidently dedicated to overturning all social norms, just for the hell of it.
Suddenly, fictional horror feels like factual news. Read Full Review…
9. Sorry to Bother You (2018)
In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a macabre universe.
Review: Michael Phillips
“Sorry to Bother You” is about a telemarketer who becomes a superstar, for a price. It’s a science fiction allegory, though the science fiction angle emerges late in the game.
It’s a provocative, serious, ridiculous, screwy concoction about whiteface, cultural code-switching, African-American identities and twisted new forms of wage slavery, beyond previously known ethical limits. Read Full Review…
10. Black Panther (2018)
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country’s new leader. However, T’Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country.
When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakandan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.
Review: Christopher Orr
Yes, Black Panther is another multizillion-dollar instalment in the burgeoning Marvel Cinematic Universe. But that is not all that it is. Other superhero movies have dabbled in big ideas—the Dark Knight trilogy most notably, and the X-Menfranchise to a lesser degree.
But their commitments to the moral and political questions they contemplated were relatively haphazard and/or peripheral. Read Full Review…
11. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok, the destruction of his home world and the end of Asgardian civilization, at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela.
Review: Justin Chang
From the opening scene of Thor hanging out in a subterranean cavern, blissfully unconcerned that he’s being held captive by an ancient fire demon named Surtur (picture a more eloquent Balrog), you are invited to kick off your clogs, settle in and pay as much or as little attention to the plot as you please.
One of the more disarming aspects of “Thor: Ragnarok,” at least initially, is that it treats its relatively high-stakes premise as if it were no big deal. Read Full Review…
12. Justice League (2017)
Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat.
But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes-Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash-it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
Review: Bob Mondello
Exactly like all the others in fact, which is part of the problem. When Marvel does this sort of thing, there’s a lightness that has mostly eluded the folks in the DC cinematic universe. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman got the tone right last time, which suggested things were looking up.
But without director Patty Jenkins around, she’s subject to the dismissive male gaze for which Hollywood’s long been criticized. Read Full Review…
13. Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
With the emerging demand of hyperfuel and other resources, Han Solo finds himself in the middle of a heist alongside other criminals, where they meet the likes of Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian in an adventurous situation exposing the criminal underworld.
Review: Peter Rainer
For a movie that was fraught with so many well-publicized production problems – including the replacement during production of its original directors, Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, with Ron Howard – “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is a pretty smooth piece of entertainment.
It’s overlong, of course – has there ever been a franchise movie that wasn’t? – but Howard, who gets sole director credit, and his screenwriters, Lawrence Kasdan and Jonathan Kasdan, keep things thrumming along cliff-hanger-style for most of its two-plus hours. Read Full Review…
14. Jurassic Park (1993)
Huge advancements in scientific technology have enabled a mogul to create an island full of living dinosaurs. John Hammond has invited four individuals, along with his two grandchildren, to join him at Jurassic Park.
But will everything go according to plan? A park employee attempts to steal dinosaur embryos, critical security systems are shut down and it now becomes a race for survival with dinosaurs roaming freely over the island.
Review: Richard Corliss
Are dinosaurs scarier in 3-D? Some censors think so. When members of the Australian Classification Board saw the 3-D conversion of Steven Spielberg‘s Jurassic Park, they changed its rating from the original PG to a slightly sterner M — their equivalent of PG-13, which is the movie’s rating in the U.S.
The Board’s decision was in synch with Spielberg’s; in 1993 he said, “I do think this movie is inappropriate for children under 13.” Read Full Review…
15. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos.
K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.
Review: Christopher Orr
Blade Runner 2049 is the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi game-changer Blade Runner, and it stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. I’m not sure precisely what else I’m supposed to say about it, as the filmmakers have requested that a very specific list of facts about the movie not be shared, including which characters are and are not “replicants.”
(This is true even of characters who are introduced as replicants and for whom replicant-hood is their distinguishing characteristic). Read Full Review…
16. Annihilation (2018)
A biologist’s husband disappears. She puts her name forward for an expedition into an environmental disaster zone, but does not find what she’s expecting.
The expedition team is made up of the biologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist, a surveyor, and a linguist.
Review: Kyle Smith
Annihilation is one of those mystery-cloaked movies in which so much depends on the final resolution that you can’t really assess it until the end.
But there is no final resolution: Questions simply remain unanswered, or only partially answered, and after spending much of the movie enthralled I walked out of the theatre deflated. Read Full Review…
17. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
After stealing a mysterious orb in the far reaches of outer space, Peter Quill from Earth is now the main target of a manhunt led by the villain known as Ronan the Accuser. To help fight Ronan and his team and save the galaxy from his power, Quill creates a team of space heroes known as the “Guardians of the Galaxy” to save the galaxy.
Review: Kenneth Turan
Hard as it is to believe, within the memory of those still living, Marvel was not always the movie establishment’s billion-dollar behemoth but a scrappy, iconoclastic comic book gadfly.
So one of the most pleasant surprises of the altogether pleasant and surprising “Guardians of the Galaxy” is that it takes us back to Marvel’s roots and the subversive satisfactions those early days provided. Read Full Review…
18. Occupation (2018)
After their small Australian country town is annihilated by an overwhelming airborne attack, a group of civilians evade capture and discover they are now among the last remaining survivors of an extraterrestrial invasion engulfing the entire planet.
As humanity falls under world-wide occupation, they form a home-grown army to fight back against vastly superior enemy forces. On the front lines of the battle for Earth, they are our last hope.
Review: James Berardinelli
Occupation accomplishes the previously unthinkable: an alien invasion film that makes Independence Day look smart.
A so-bad-it-has-to-be-seen-to-be-believed motion picture (not that I recommend subjecting oneself to the experience), Occupation takes stupidity to a new level by crafting a story that makes no sense from start to finish and incorporates every imaginable cliché into the mix. Read Full Review…
19. Suicide Squad (2016)
It feels good to be bad. Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S.
intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do.
However, once they realize they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself?
Review: Colin Covert
This is what happens when the comic book fanboys have taken over the asylum.
It is damaged goods from the get-go, the kind of film grown in a petri dish in Hollywood. Read Full Review…
20. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark, Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.
Review: Alison Willmore
Did the superhero movie kill the teen comedy? Or at least lure its former audience away with one of those must-have pillars of light? That’s the only reasonable explanation for why a genre with such an active afterlife has been having so much trouble lately getting traction with audiences when it comes to anything new.
Mean Girls is so widely mimed that social media would basically collapse without it. The 20th anniversary of Clueless was commemorated with tributes, oral histories, and a full week of ETonline coverage. Read Full Review…