We’re in a golden age of genre movies, from horror to superheroes and even musicals. Fortunately, science fiction isn’t left out of the boom. Visual effects can take us anywhere, and filmmakers are building amazing stories set in realities most of us can barely imagine.
This year has an amazing crop of speculative fiction films. Here are the best sci-fi movies coming to theatres soon.
(Note: We’ve left Marvel’s and DC’s movies off this feature, but if you’re looking for ENDGAME, check out this list.)
Director Claire Denis has made several wild, disruptive genre movies: BEAU TRAVAIL is a mold-breaking military movie, while TROUBLE EVERY DAY turns horror into something even more terrifying than usual. Now, she breaks all of the rules of science fiction.
In HIGH LIFE, Robert Pattinson plays one of several convicts on board a ship bound for deep space. The prisoners’ sentences might be commuted if they help extract energy from around a black hole. But a doctor, played by Juliette Binoche, is really running the show. She’s more interested in creating new life than finding energy. Things get bad and very weird — no matter what you expect science fiction to be, this movie is going to surprise you. (April 12)
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Legendary Pictures expands its MonsterVerse with the follow-up to GODZILLA and KONG: SKULL ISLAND. This sequel is packed with stars of the scaly kind, as a whole host of classic monsters from Godzilla movies of years past are reinvented for the film.
The story follows the secretive organization Monarch as it seeks to understand and possibly even control Godzilla and other giant creatures. The scientists at Monarch, however, can do little more than watch as other mega-sized beasts emerge from beneath the Earth. Mothra, Rodan and Godzilla’s ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah, all want a piece of the giant lizard. (May 31)
Men in Black: International
It’s a THOR: RAGNAROK reunion as Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson slip into black suits to battle a whole different set of aliens.
The plot of this third sequel to Will Smith’s 1997 action-comedy is mostly under wraps. Even with a teaser trailer out in the wild, all Sony will reveal is that the Men in Black organization continues to work to shut down the scum of the universe — and that the group faces its “biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.” But with Hemsworth and Thompson looking more stylish than ever as they deal with a host of extraterrestrials and co-stars like Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson and Emma Thompson, we’re along for the ride no matter what happens. (June 14)
You’re seeing Will Smith from MEN IN BLACK in the photo above, not because we’re stuck on the whole MIB thing, but because Paramount has yet to release any images from Ang Lee’s sci-fi thriller GEMINI MAN. Will Smith stars as an assassin who wants to retire, but must face a mysterious adversary before he can quit. That enemy turns out to be a 23-year-old version of himself, also played by Will Smith, with a hefty assist from digital wizards who strip more than 25 years off his countenance.
We’ve seen GEMINI MAN footage, and it is spectacular. The “young” Smith looks exactly as he should, even when he’s in scenes with Smith as he looks today. Lee shot the movie in 3D and the action has a sense of space and depth that sets it apart from everything else. (October 11)
Terminator: Dark Fate
Original TERMINATOR creator James Cameron returns to the series for the first time since 1991’s TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY. Acting as a producer, Cameron exhibits his own terminating tendencies as this film ignores all movies in the franchise except the first two. But with Linda Hamilton back in action as Sarah Connor — who somehow crosses paths with an augmented human soldier from the future, played by Mackenzie Davis — maybe a stripped-back approach is the best idea.
DEADPOOL filmmaker Tim Miller takes over as director for a story he calls “an enormous labor of love.” Paramount isn’t letting on whether or not DARK FATE will tell us what happened to Sarah’s son, John Connor, or whether or not the robot played by returning star Arnold Schwarzenegger will help destroy the tyrannical Skynet once and for all — but we can’t wait to find out. (November 1)
AD ASTRA is the latest film from writer/director James Gray, a master filmmaker whose stellar work is constantly on the verge of more widespread popularity. For this film, he turns his eye to space.
Brad Pitt stars as Roy McBride, an Army Corps engineer who retraces his father’s steps to discover why the elder McBride’s mission failed. Thing is, the mission was a one-way trip to Neptune, seeking signs of intelligent life. Tommy Lee Jones plays the father of Pitt’s character, while Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland, LisaGay Hamilton and Jamie Kennedy have other roles. Fox had planned to release the film in May, but there’s some evidence we may have to wait a bit longer. (There’s no trailer yet, for example.) We’ll keep it in orbit on this list just so it’s on your radar. (TBA)
Check back with the AMC Scene for more sci-fi movie news!