10 Best Science Fiction Movies of the 2010s, According to Ranker

10 Best Science Fiction Movies of the 2010s, According to Ranker

2010s’ science fiction films gave audiences fresh takes on old tropes and also provided ingenuity that will shape the genre for decades to come.

Denis Villeneuve directed two of the best science fiction films released in the 2010s and he’s maintained his momentum into the 2020s by adapting Frank Herbert’s Dune. The film was a grand vision brought to life on a desert planet and a tremendous success, reassuring science fiction fans that the genre’s future is in good hands, just as its past was.


10 Avengers: Infinity War

Empire 100 Greatest Movies Avengers Infinity War

infinity war broke hearts and box office records worldwide. It was the final and most pivotal film leading to Marvel’s denouement with end game.

In Infinity War the looming threat of Thanos, the Mad Titan finally came to fruition. Franchise staples that fans knew to count on like Hulk’s boundless rage or Loki’s trickery no longer mattered when faced with Thanos’ unparalleled power. Witnessing heroes truly fail in the MCU for the first time was unsettling in a captivating way. The adventure epic provided audiences with one of the most churning cliffhangers in cinematic history. Stunned fans left premieres in irrevocable awe, and many returned to watch and leave in awe again.

9 Thor: Ragnarök

Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Ragnarok

Taika Waititi’s debut film for the MCU offered audiences a very welcomed tonal shift for the beloved God of Thunder.

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ragnarok served as a departure from dark world‘s bleak and dreary atmosphere by wowing fans with extreme wit, gripping sentimentality, and stunning cinematography. The bond between Thor and his sinister brother Loki was more deeply explored, bringing fans in on the relationship between the two dynamic characters and ultimately filling audiences with vigor and cheer whenever the two shared the screen. As audiences witnessed Thor discover both his familial and godly identities of him they in turn witnessed the heart of the film.

8 blade runner 2049

K and giant hologram in Blade Runner 2049.

Nearly thirty years after Ridley Scott’s genre-defining classing, blade runner 2049 expands its predecessor’s foundational blueprint.

Visionary director Denis Villeneuve took the helm and brought Scott’s cyberpunk dystopia back to life with eye-opening cinematography and world-building that shifted theaters into a gritty, hyper-futuristic Los Angeles. The brain-busting score by Hans Zimmer accompanies stellar performances by Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, and the returning Harrison Ford. Though it’s a sequel the film unquestionably stands on its own as Villeneuve’s work explores egocentrism and the repercussions of technology on humanity.

7 Guardians of the Galaxy

guardians of the galaxy ride disney world images

Guardians of the Galaxy is a fun sci-fi romp with copious action, unending humor, and more dancing than expected.

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James Gunn’s take on the superhero team-up film is a deviation from the MCU’s Avengers where good guys take down bad guys. Instead, the team is a group of rugged anti-heroes with haunted pasts, criminal records, and knacks for violence. Guardians of the Galaxy captivates audiences through a juxtaposition of heavy tones and lighthearted wit, but the movie’s real charm is a tree that only says three (four) words.

6 avengers

Black Widow, Thor, Captain America.  Hawkeye, Iron Man, and Hulk in Avengers 2012

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes band together to confront Loki in this loose adaptation of 1963’s “Avengers #1”.

Joss Whedon’s superhero epic saw Marvel’s leading heroes culminate in the franchise’s first crossover film. four years after Hombre de Hierro‘s post-credits scene where Nick Fury emerged from the shadows and teased, “I’m here to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative,” comic fans and movie enthusiasts alike released their bated breaths as Marvel Studios had successfully tied in all five Phase One films that preceded the blockbuster hit. The Avengers iIllustrated that shared universes in cinema are possible, and many franchises have since followed suit.

5 Arrival

Arrival (2016) - Amy Adams

Based on Ted Chiang’s Story of Your Life, Arrival not only asks but deeply delves into how humanity would react if alien crafts suddenly appeared on Earth.

Amy Adams’ captivating portrayal of Dr. Louise Banks emphasizes the importance of communication, not just with an alien species, but with the people she holds close as well. Much of Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic emphasizes the importance of clear and accurate translations, offering that a single word’s meaning can completely change a message, and thus an alien’s reason for coming to Earth.

4 Edge of Tomorrow

William Cage looking to his left in Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow examines how insignificant actions can have significant effects as a single day repeats for its protagonist.

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Tom Cruise plays Cage, an officer in the military who is laced with cowardice at the offset of the film. Director Douglas Liman illustrates how Cage’s character evolves after being given repeated chances to learn, adapt, and improve in the combat scenario he’s consistently reliving. Edge of Tomorrow intimately explores advanced technology and time manipulation in a visually jaw-dropping and action-packed sci-fi spectacle.

3 interstellar

Matthew McConaughey as Cooper in Interstellar

interstellar depicts man’s search for a habitable planet to escape a dying Earth.

The film’s protagonist, played by Matthew McConaughey endures enormous sacrifices for the sake of the planet. Director Christopher Nolan not only takes the audience through a black hole and into another dimension, but he propels viewers deep into the soul of his protagonist, tormented that the only way he can attempt to save his children from him is by abandoning them. Nolan’s primary source of inspiration was the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, asking what lengths humanity would go to if the world was beyond saving.

two The Martian

Matt Damon in The Martian

Marooned on an alien planet, astronaut Mark Watney must utilize his background as a botanist to ensure his survival.

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Adapted from Andy Weir’s novel of the same name, The Martian not only depicts the effects isolation has on Watney, but the creativity and ingenuity he musters to remove himself from isolation. Director Ridley Scott seeks to assure his audience that no one is ever truly alone in a film that delivers as much sentimentality as it does science.

1 inception

Widely considered Christopher Nolan’s seminal work, inception explores the possibility of not only traveling into one’s dreams but manipulating them as well.

It was nominated for eight academy awards in 2011, including best picture, and won four of its nominations. The score is as brilliant and transporting as the film itself is. Hans Zimmer’s composition perfectly accompanies Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance of him as Dom Cobb. The score rises and falls as Cobb does and aids DiCaprio’s performance of him, capturing audiences to the extent that they need a totem to define what is real and what is a dream.

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