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Best Sci Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now (May 2019)


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Check out our monthly update on the best new releases.

From The Fifth Element to A Clockwork Orange to Logan’s Run to District 9 and so much more, there are a bunch of good sci fi movies to choose from on Netflix…

Are you looking for the best sci fi movies to stream on Netflix right now? The service itself is basically the stuff of science fiction — a huge repository of motion pictures, available to watch at the push of a button. Time travel to any era in cinema history (more or less)! It’s a magical, wonderful concept, and the only thing that would make it better is if they actually had all the movies you want. But that’s where we come in with our monthly updates on the best new movies on Netflix.

Here you’ll find the best sci fi movies on Netflix that you need to watch right now. It’s a genre that offers little green men, men in black, men that become lobsters, men that are giants, men that are tiny. And women too! There are plenty of gems among the new releases in sci fi that are on the platform, from the fantasy based to the dystopian, the funny to the frightening, the indie to the most-discussed titles of the culture. There’s so much worth watching, including many of the top recent sci fi movies from 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, as well as many of the all-time greatest classics, underrated b-movies, family-friendly flicks and stories about worlds of wonder and legend, past and present and future. Just imagine! They all await you in our picks for the hottest new sci fi movies on Netflix!

Oh, and when you’re done here, be sure to also check out our list of the 100 Best Sci-Fi Movies Ever and what’s new to Netflix this month.

Or follow these links for the best of other genres:

The best action movies on Netflix

The best comedy movies on Netflix

The best horror movies on Netflix

The best drama movies on Netflix

The best horror TV shows on Netflix

The best anime series on Netflix

Please note: This list pertains to U.S. Netflix subscribers. Some titles may not currently be available on international platforms.

Best Sci Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now

Matrix

The sequels may have dulled its appeal somewhat, but the original The Matrix remains a bona fide sci-fi classic. Nowhere outside of the anime realm have we seen such an effective blend of cyberpunk, martial arts and philosophy. The film stars Keanu Reeves in his most iconic role since Ted “Theodore” Logan, playing a solitary hacker who discovers his entire world is a digitized illusion and he may just be the messiah destined to save humanity from its machine oppressors.

Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer is easily one of the best comic book adaptations that most viewers don’t even realize is a comic book adaptation in the first place. Acclaimed South Korean director Bong Joon-ho made his English language debut here, chronicling a post-apocalyptic world where a handful of survivors (played by Chris Evans, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer and others) make their way through a frozen wasteland aboard an eternally moving train. Naturally, the class divide still exists in this terrible future, and the film focuses a great deal on contrasting the squalor of the rear cars with the decadent luxury of the train’s more privileged passengers.

FifthElement

While it had its share of naysayers upon its initial release, The Fifth Element is now regarded as one of the definitive sci-fi movies of the 1990s. It’s hard to go wrong with Luc Besson directing a cast that includes Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich and the scenery-devouring Gary Oldman. This comedic sci-fi flick tasks Willis’ futuristic taxi driver with collecting four mystical stones in order to save the entire planet from destruction. Ultimately, it’s just a bigger, weirder Die Hard.

Hellboy

Before he won an Oscar for directing the horror fairy tale The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro brought his oddball sensibilities to Hellboy, an adaptation of Mike Mignola’s award-winning comic book series. Ron Perlman is perfect as the title character, a demon from hell who was raised by humans to protect us from supernatural forces. The plot is perfunctory but the monster effects are spectacular, the action is cool and the lead performances by Perlman and Selma Blair, as a firestarter who can’t trust herself, are easy to fall in love with.

Black-Panther

The biggest Marvel movie ever, and with good cause. Chadwick Boseman stars in Black Panther, a film that combines Afrofuturism with the superhero genre, giving audiences something they’d never seen before, on a scale that’s hard to imagine. Michael B. Jordan co-stars as one of the great MCU villains, and Letitia Wright steals all her scenes as a technological genius from Wakanda who puts Tony Stark to shame. This is the combination of classic heroism, bold cinematic style and meaningful themes that superhero fans yearned for. And they got it all. A popular favorite and Oscar-nominee — the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture — Black Panther is also an important moment for cinema in terms of race and culture.

Clockwork Orange

It’s not for the faint of heart, but A Clockwork Orange is one of the all-time great sci-fi movies (and one of the best films in legendary director Stanley Kubrick’s career). Malcolm McDowell stars as Alex, a flamboyant, violence-prone teenage gang leader in a dystopian future Britain. A Clockwork Orange offers both a bleak look at the question of whether evil can be rehabilitated and a very clever, very dark sense of humor.

Logan's Run

The sci-fi classic Logan’s Run takes place in a dystopian future, where everyone is killed as soon as they turn 30, and stars Michael York as a “Sandman” who hunts people trying to run from their execution. Of course, when he becomes the hunted, it’s a different story, and he goes on the run to save himself and find a new way for this extremely disturbing society to live. Inventive, visually unusual, and iconic filmmaking.

District 9

Neill Blomkamp’s smart and subversive sci-fi thriller District 9 was such an unexpected smash that it earned four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture (a rare feat for any sci-fi film). Sharlto Copley stars as a South African government underling in a world where aliens crash-landed on Earth and are forced to live in shanty towns on the outskirts of society. Copley is a cog in that system of oppression, who gets a crash course in just how despicable he is when he’s infected with alien DNA and transformed into an alien creature himself. Blomkamp’s allegory for apartheid is on the nose, but vicious, and he punctuates that tale with spectacular action and unusual imagery.

Ex Machina

Oscar Isaac stars as a brilliant billionaire inventor, who invites one of his low-level peons, played by Domhnall Gleeson, to his secluded estate. But this isn’t a friendly visit. He’s actually here to test the humanity of Isaac’s new invention, a realistic robotic woman named Ava, played to perfection by Alicia Vikander. As they question the robot’s humanity, and what it means to be human, we gradually realize that what they really can’t figure out is the female mind. Brilliant performances and a thought-provoking screenplay make Ex Machina one of the best sci-fi films of the century so far.

Under the Skin

An alien entity takes the form of Scarlett Johansson, and stalks the streets, picking up lusty men and dragging them into a dark, inky abyss from which there is absolutely no escape. Jonathan Glazer’s experimental sci-fi film is unusually constructed, and looks and sounds like nothing else most people have seen, and Johansson gives an uncanny performance as an entity who struggles to understand what it means to be human, and to look outwardly beautiful.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams’s classic radio series and novels came to the big screen in a big way, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This underrated comedy stars Martin Freeman, Sam Rockwell, Zooey Deschanel and Mos Def on a journey through a galaxy filled with incompetent computers, depressed robots and bureaucracy so lousy that it literally destroys the planet Earth. And if that wasn’t enough for you, it opens with a musical number sung by every dolphin on the planet Earth, and it’s glorious.

Her

In an extremely recognizable future, in which people live their lives through their phones and computers, and are so divorced from human intimacy that they have to hire people like Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) to write their personal correspondence for them, a new operating system seems more human than human beings. So it is that Theodore connects to, and falls in love with an artificial intelligence named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). As directed by Spike Jonze, Her examines the melancholy of human disconnection in an increasingly connected world, and the complex way that emotions and romance will evolve as technology exceeds our psychological understanding.

Star Wars The Last Jedi

Rian Johnson’s installment in the Star Wars saga follows many of the same patterns as the original trilogy, especially The Empire Strikes Back, while simultaneously subverting expectations and changing the rules. It’s as though someone finally noticed that Star Wars is as old now as the Flash Gordon serials that inspired Star Wars were when George Lucas’s original film came along, and decided to push the whole genre forward the same way Lucas did. The film is messy and controversial but dynamic and impressive, and its impact will be felt for many years – and many Star Wars films – to come.

Thor Ragnarok

Taika Waititi’s oddball Marvel Cinematic Universe movie sends Thor to an alien planet, where he becomes a gladiator who fights the Hulk, teams up with a drunken Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) to start a revolution, and – GASP! – gets a haircut. Meanwhile, Hela (Cate Blanchett) has taken over Asgard, and the end of Thor’s world feels imminent. It’s an eccentric juxtaposition of the silly and the serious, the superficial and the complex, with meaningful issues like colonialism conveyed through crazy action sequences and witty banter.

Pandorum

Ben Foster wakes up from cryosleep and steps onto a spaceship overrun by mysterious monsters in Pandorum, a sci-fi thriller that owes a debt to films like Alien, but has plenty of surprises up its sleeve. Dennis Quaid co-stars as a fellow passenger who needs Foster’s help to save the day, but Foster’s journey deep into the center of the ship takes unusual and frightening turns. It’s an underrated and underseen sci-fi thriller that deserves a bigger audience.

Atlantis The Lost Empire

In 2001, Disney tried to make a different kind of animated adventure, and it was basically their version of Stargate. Atlantis: The Lost Empire tells the story of an idealistic dreamer named Milo (Michael J. Fox) who thinks he knows the way to the lost city of Atlantis, but once he and an intrepid team of explorers get there, the real adventure begins. The film was a box office disappointment when it first came out, but it’s good enough – and beautifully animated enough – to have earned a big cult following.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Jerks! In! Space! James Gunn brought his oddball sensibilities to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the two Guardians of the Galaxy movies, which of course are about a group of damaged and antisocial outcasts who band together, against their wishes, to save the universe. The action is fun and the humor is hilarious, but the real draw here is how seriously Gunn and his ensemble cast take these bizarre creations. A humanoid tree will make you cry. Mark our words.

Moon

Before Sam Rockwell won his Academy Award, he was stranded on the moon. Duncan Jones’s debut feature stars Rockwell as a miner, maintaining an outpost on the moon all by his lonesome. Just when the loneliness seems unbearable, something impossible happens, which changes his life forever. To ruin Moon’s secrets would be a shame. See it for yourself and marvel at its cleverness.

So there you have it: what to watch on Netflix right now in the world of sci fi movies. Check back here each month for new titles as Netflix adds them!

Note: This article is frequently amended to remove films no longer on Netflix, and to include more sci fi films that are now available on the service.

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