Best 2010s Sci-Fi Movies Ranked

Science fiction films are almost as old as the cinema itself, starting with the George Melies short of 1902 A trip to the moon. There is something fun about imagining yourself in a galaxy far, far away, or on Earth myriads of years into the future. The genre is valued both for its creativity and for its ability to showcase scientific possibilities. Scientists often use science fiction as a springboard to real scientific breakthroughs. Therefore, science fiction has contributed to culture in a way that other films have not. Here are our top ten sci-fi movies of the 2010s.

11 Curler


Bruce Willis and Joseph-Gordon Levitt in Looper
TriStar Pictures

Joe is a hit man for the mafia, but in 2074, crime syndicates are using technology to send their victims back to the time they can be killed and eliminated without repercussions. When Joe is sent to kill an older version of himself and fails, both the young and the old version of him must avoid the vengeful gangsters. While the plot is delusional convoluted and the ending doesn’t satisfy all viewers, the premise of Curler is too intriguing and its visuals (from the future Star wars director Rian Johnson) too amazing not to make our list. After all, who doesn’t love watching Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, especially when they’re playing the same person.

ten Great hero 6


Big Hero 6 characters kiss
Walt Disney Studios Cinema

This animated film, loosely based on a comic book, engages the family in a way that no other movie on this list does. Great hero 6 makes children laugh and adults cry. The film centers on Hiro Hamada, a teenage robotics genius. After the death of his older brother, Hiro accidentally activates his brother’s latest project, a medical robot, Baymax, which has become an endearing icon that remains in the hearts of many fans. The two become an adorable team of superheroes, battling a masked villain and using sci-fi tech to save the day in one of the cutest sci-fi movies of the 2010s.

Related:

Big Hero 6 favorite Baymax gets new Disney + animated spinoff series

9 Blade Runner 2049


The cast of Blade Runner 2049 with Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling
Photos of Warner Bros.

The 1982 film remake, Blade runner 2049 pairs Harrison Ford with Ryan Gosling on some sort of sci-fi mystery. Gosling stars as Officer K, a blade runner who hunts fugitive replicants on Earth, despite being a replicant himself (alluding to the dynamics of Ford’s first film). After uncovering a secret that could unravel society, Agent K searches for Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a legendary retired blade runner. This movie is packed with nostalgia for old fans, high-speed action-adventure for new fans, and a gripping storyline for everyone. Future Dune Director Dennis Villeneuve masterfully creates a sci-fi world that surpasses even that of the original.

8 Edge of tomorrow


Tom Cruise is dressed in Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Warner Bros.

Fans are pleading for a sequel even eight years after the release of Edge of tomorrow. This film’s unexpected narrative caught the industry off guard, earning more than $ 370 million at the box office according to Box Office Mojo. Edge of tomorrow takes place during a time-traveling alien invasion. Cage (Tom Cruise) receives the alien’s ability to return at the start of the day whenever he dies, and enlists the help of Rita (a badass Emily Blunt), a Special Forces fighter who had officially the same Power. Together they live the same day over and over again in an attempt to conquer the alien species. With a surprising spirit and amazing special effects, the film combines groundhog day with Starship Troopers to create one of the most unique sci-fi films of the decade.


seven guardians of the galaxy


The intergalactic cast of Guardians of the Galaxy, including Chris Pratt
Walt Disney Studios Cinema

Being the funniest sci-fi movie of the 2010s doesn’t stop this movie from embracing sci-fi squarely. With its backdrop of distant planets, its diverse alien team, and high-stakes space battles, guardians of the galaxy leans more into the sci-fi genre than most superhero movies. In this movie, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is a human who grew up among aliens in space, becoming a successful thief. Things change for him when he steals an Infinite Stone which is coveted by other powerful characters. After failing to sell the stone, Quill ends up in prison, where he forms a team to daringly escape and retrieve the stone. With a surprisingly beloved soundtrack of 70s radio classics, inventive character design and exciting direction by James Gunn, guardians of the galaxy is one of the most popular science fiction films of the decade.


6 Creation


The Inception cast stands in the street
Photos of Warner Bros.

Christopher Nolan is on this list more than once for a reason: He brings stunning visuals and puzzling layers of mystery to all of his work; Nolan is an expert craftsman of gripping stories with dark contours. Creation is one of his best, about a team on a mission to implant an idea into the mind of a wealthy heir using dreams and subliminal suggestions. As the characters explore the deepest layers of their target’s subconscious, their own personal struggles hamper their success. With revolutionary CGI and incredible backdrops of swaying buildings and gravity-defying combat, Creation is one of the most exciting and original science fiction films of the 21st century.

5 The Martian


Matt Damon plants crappy potatoes in The Martian
20th century fox

Ridley Scott’s film adaptation of the book is more grounded in real science than many other films in this genre. Matt Damon plays an astronaut stranded on Mars when his crew unexpectedly evacuates during a dust storm. He finds innovative ways to survive on his own, growing food and eventually contacting Earth. The Martian really showcases the talents and expertise of real-life astronauts, relying on real-life science and character development rather than flashy plot mechanics, and therefore is more interesting.


4 Mad Max: Fury Road


Tom Hardy jumps from exploding car in Fury Road
Photos of Warner Bros.

Immortan Joe is an overworked terrifying gang who selfishly hoards resources like water and gasoline after the earth’s natural resources have dried up. When Furiosa, one of Joe’s most famous war captains, tries to escape and save all of Joe’s women in some sort of rebellion, she forms an alliance with Max Rockatansky (originally played by Mel Gibson in the early films, but here by Tom Hardy in a beautifully underrated performance). Their motley team is fighting to stay one step ahead of Joe’s gang and survive on the naked planet. Mad Max: Fury Road Modernizes George Miller’s own film franchise perfectly, with Miller not wasting any energy despite a 30-year hiatus between films. Its tale is chock-full of unique world builds, mysterious intrigue, and high-octane car chases from start to finish. While this film lacks traditional sci-fi elements like space battles and time travel, the film’s post-apocalyptic setting, dystopian society, and the exploration of future technology qualify it as sci-fi.

Related:

Each Mad Max movie, ranked

3 Arrival


Amy Adams looks thoughtful in a field with an alien ship arriving
Paramount Pictures

The story of an award-winning film Arrival turns viewers’ heads until the big reveal at the very end. Even then, some explanation is probably needed (or at least a reading of the brilliant news it is based on). When aliens visit Earth, linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is sent to lead a team that discerns the alien’s intentions. With a plot structure as circular as the alien tongue, this movie is definitely not for everyone. For those who enjoy the intricacies, cinematography, sound, and new take on alien life, as well as intellectually stimulating narrative, this movie is worth watching on an endless loop.

2 Interstellar


Astronauts (including Anne Hathaway) wade through rising waters in interstellars
Paramount Pictures

It’s hard to show and explain science in an engaging way, but Interstellar visually depicts quantum physics in a way never before accomplished, and its striking visuals are an inspiration to filmmakers and scientists alike. In Christopher Nolan’s scientifically intriguing and surprisingly moving film, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) sets out on a quest to find a new home planet for humanity as Earth becomes uninhabitable. However, gravity on other worlds causes time to move differently throughout his journey, and Cooper might not find a new planet until time is up for his daughter on Earth. Combining the aforementioned stunning visuals with heavy church organ score and epic scope, Interstellar is a science fiction masterpiece.


1 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story


Storm Troopers shoot stuff in Rogue One
Disney studios

With all the Star wars content that Disney released after acquiring Lucasfilm, variations of the franchise could have filled that whole list. The film series is known for redefining science fiction and space operas, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the best of 2010. Filled with references to the original trilogy, the independent film follows a motley team of rebels as they unravel the mystery of the Death Star just before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. The film is complete with exciting and innovative visuals, an emotional score, and various characters that it is impossible not to take root in. Its inspiring story of heroism and sacrifice will warm the hearts of old and new fans alike. It’s a must see and the best sci-fi film of the 2010s.


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