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The Best Sci-Fi Movies You Can Stream Right Now: Super Mario, Asteroid City, The Matrix & More
In our quest for the best sci-fi movies, we scrolled through all those pesky streaming menus so you don’t have to.
In this magical age of entertainment on demand, there’s nary a moment when you can’t dial up a movie that scratches pretty close to satisfying your science fiction itch. But if you’re the type who falls deep down the movie-menu rabbit hole of endless, time-consuming scrolling, sometimes it’s nice to have a shorter, sweeter, super-convenient slate to pick from.
That leaves us with the list below, which serves as a curated selection of the best science fiction film titles available to stream right this second, taken from across the ever-widening myriad of on-demand platforms. From Peacock to Prime Video to Paramount+ and every other digital point beyond, you can’t help but pick a winner from our laser-brained list of sci-fi greats, and you won’t have to waste half an hour poking around in the nether reaches of your chosen streamer’s never-ending movie menu, just scroll down!
The Best Science Fiction Films Currently Streaming
The Super Mario Bros. Movie
It’s-a here! Mario (Chris Pratt), Luigi (Charlie Day), Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) and the whole Nintendo gang gobbled up box office coins like Goombas earlier this year in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Now the family-friendly, game-based blockbuster — complete with the creative blessing of Mario mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto — is boppin’ and sockin’ it to big baddie Bowser (Jack Black) with powered-up platforming panache on Peacock. You’ll laugh, you’ll fly, and you might even cry at Black’s now-iconic “Peaches” singalong lullaby... but however you slice it, the Mushroom Kingdom beckons with Easter eggs aplenty, all hatched from more than 40 years’ worth of Mario gaming greatness. — The Super Mario Bros. Movie is streaming on Peacock.
It’s not the first movie alien he’s ever played, but it’s safe to say that Jeff Goldblum’s shy, spindly Asteroid City extraterrestrial is definitely his quirkiest. Director Wes Anderson’s signature quirks abound, in fact, in this painterly version of a 1950s desert stop where sci-fi forebodings overshadow a self-contained meta-verse of totally relatable human drama. From brainiac science kids to a singing cowboy to a jaded actress in need of a thrill, Asteroid City comes loaded with one of Anderson’s biggest ensemble of A-listers, including Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Bryan Cranston, Jason Schwartzman, Margot Robbie, Tilda Swinton, Jeffrey Wright, and (of course) Goldblum himself. — Asteroid City is streaming on Peacock.
One part detective puzzler, one part sci-fi mind control tale, and a total brain twister from start to finish, 2023’s Hypnotic puts Ben Affleck’s Texas police investigator behind the curve in an elaborate scheme that begins with the search for his missing daughter and ends somewhere he never could have imagined. Loaded with action in director Robert Rodriguez’ signature style, it’s a caper that drags Affleck’s grief-haunted detective to Mexico and back before probing the depths of a super-secret government program driven by mysterious “Hypnotics,” mind-bending hypnotists whose powers of suggestion — not to mention their sinister intentions — reach way, way beyond therapeutic relaxation. — Hypnotic is streaming on Peacock.
Snowbound solitude and mutual mistrust slowly take over the minds of a dozen Antarctic researchers in John Carpenter’s 1982 horror masterpiece, The Thing, one of film's all-time great classic terror tales that sets an unsettlingly inscrutable alien mimic as its scary centerpiece. Featuring a killer cast including Keith David, Wilford Brimley, and Kurt Russell as outpost pilot R.J. MacReady, The Thing has gone on to inspire countless horror moviemakers while even spawning a 2011 prequel film (also titled The Thing) that serves as a direct prequel. — Both Carpenter’s original film, as well as the Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.-directed 2011 version, are streaming on Peacock.
She’s tiny, she’s sassy, and she’s learning to think way beyond the bounds of her pair-bonded A.I. programming. Yep, when M3GAN decides it’s time to throw hands, there’s nothing you can really do but run. Allison Williams' Aunt Gemma and Violet McGraw's Cady vie for human control over Gemma’s next-level tech creation in what’s easily the most entertaining sci-fi horror hit of 2023, as M3GAN dances, prances, and inevitably pounces on anyone who even looks at Cady the wrong way… including her own flesh and blood. — Watch M3GAN via any of your favorite digital providers, as well as on Blu-ray and DVD here.
The Matrix (Peacock)
He’s beginning to believe! Few movies of any genre, nearly a quarter century after their release, can claim the kind of game-changing influence on present-day filmmakers and audiences like Neo’s original unplugging from The Matrix. Despite sequels that never managed to live up to the expectations set by the Wachowskis’ landmark 1999 first film, Keanu Reeves’ initial outing as the One routinely rates at or near the top of nearly everyone’s list of the greatest sci-fi movies ever made. Of all the effects-heavy sci-fi flicks released before the turn of the new millennium, The Matrix — for both its chains-breaking story and its groundbreaking visual effects — still holds up as a landmark dystopian allegory that seems to stand outside of time. — The Matrix is streaming on Peacock.
Nicolas Cage as Dracula — what more does anybody need? Putting Cage in a cape is just the first among a long list of inspired silly setups in the hilariously bloody Renfield, which finds its titular blood-bonded servant (Nicholas Hoult) looking for any escape he can from the clutches of the world’s suckiest megalomaniacal boss. Awkwafina turns in a funny-yet-kinda-poignant performance as a New Orleans cop who’s ready to stake her own life on taking down the Dark Lord, in a story that absolutely soaks the screen in gorily glorious Dracula takedowns that deserve some kind of award just for their violent inventiveness alone. Despite the sanguine mayhem and sinister themes, there’s a tongue-in-cheek lilt to Renfield that reminds us of free-spirited blockbuster classics like Men in Black and Back to the Future. — Renfield is streaming on Peacock.
Self/Less is a star-powered action thriller with an intriguing science fiction twist: What if you could live forever by having a shady scientist perform a surgery that transfers your consciousness into a newer, younger body? Ryan Reynolds does just that in this fast-paced race through the pricey end of the bio-tech black market, sleuthing for answers after swapping his older, dying body (in the early-movie form of the great Ben Kingsley) for a younger one that comes with way more of a bleak backstory than he ever bargained for. A perfect blend of heady sci-fi futurism and pulse-pounding thrills, Self/Less lets Reynolds loose to settle the score while stepping outside his comedic Deadpool acting comfort zone. — Self/Less is streaming on Peacock.
Sandwiched between Sicario and Blade Runner 2049 in Denis Villeneuve’s stone-cold stellar filmography, 2016’s Arrival marked the Dune director’s first real foray into science fiction. As he’s since gone on to show, it’s a genre that suits him like a glove. Many of the elements that make Villeneuve's subsequent sci-fi movies great already were present in this slow-burn, tragedy-tinged E.T. story that stars Amy Adams as a linguistics expert roped by the government into decoding a visiting alien species’ cryptic message to the planet — if, that is, she can do it before the trigger-happy military decides to show Earth’s otherworldly visitors humanity’s hostile side. Watch for great acting turns, too, from Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker. — Arrival is streaming on Netflix.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
If you’re awed by Rupert Grint’s killer grown-up turns in present-day projects like Servant and Knock at the Cabin, then it’s an absolute mind warp to go back to the first Harry Potter film and see the magic these kids — back when they were kids — brought to Hogwarts right from the beginning. The 2001 movie that started it all feels both fresh and nostalgic today, with each new fantasy beat widening the invitation to just suspend all disbelief and get fully invested in Butterbeer, Quidditch, Hagrid, and house-sorting. Best of all, you don’t have to be a reader to grasp the Wizarding World’s insanely deep magic-verse: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone happily uncovers each all-important lore secret faster than you can say Revelio. — Watch Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone here on Peacock, where the wider Wizarding World movie-verse is also streaming in its entirety.
Merging horror, sci-fi, and a little time tripping, this is one wild ambulance ride. Thanks to 2017’s The Endless, streaming fans already were switched on to the creepy connected sci-fi story-verse sprung from the minds of co-directors Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, the latter of whom also starred. The collaborative creative juices kept flowing with the duo’s 2019 Synchronic, a rabbit-hole journey through the deadly side of New Orleans counterculture, where Twisted Metal's Anthony Mackie (as an intrepid paramedic) discovers an entire alternate reality tapped by the power of a mysterious psychoactive drug. — Dive in if you dare: Synchronic is psychedelically streaming here on Peacock.
There’s nothing quite like Nope, Jordan Peele’s sky-scanning ode to big-screen scares and the wide-eyed Hollywood movie magic behind them. Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer head up an eclectic cast pinned down at an old-timey California tourist ranch, foregoing every escape impulse against extraterrestrial danger, and all just to catch an on-camera glimpse of the strange goings-on that seem stubbornly shrouded — for a time, anyway — in the looming clouds above. Nope mixes genres to terrific effect, making it far more than a mere science fiction movie, and Peele's gift for storytelling has that rare, uncanny way of drawing you out of reality and right into the midst of the action. Look no further if you like your sci-fi flicks served with a heaping slice of immersion (and horror). — Say "yes" to Nope via digital streaming, on-demand, or Blu-ray and DVD here.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
You can’t have a science fiction movie list without at least one Star Wars (or, for that matter, a Star Trek — which we’ll warp to farther down). All the mainline Star Wars movies are available ‘round the clock on Disney+, but our pick here is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a standalone entry in the Lucasfilm galaxy that feels like a timely complement to the recently-concluded (and spectacular) first season in the Diego Luna-starring Andor series (also on Disney+). Desperate Star Wars struggles never feel more real than they do here, with Cassian Andor (Luna) and Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) wending toward a shared fate that puts a tragic human face to every seemingly-anonymous personal sacrifice that the Rebellion ever demanded of its fighters. Rogue One is a Star Wars one-shot film done right, hitting loads of lore marks (including Darth Vader!) that won’t leave longtime fans feeling bereft of the traits that make the overall franchise such a powerful Force in the sci-fi movie-verse. — Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is streaming on Disney+.
Monsters is the film that showed what director Gareth Edwards could do with a shoestring sci-fi budget years before Disney handed him the pricey keys to the Death Star in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Laced with a familiar sense of desperation as a man and woman try to outrace an uncontained alien infestation across the U.S.-Mexico border, Monsters lives up to its name with effectively terrifying tentacled freaks who hide a weakness that, once discovered, lands with the same satisfying feel that animates the climax of fellow us-against-aliens flicks like M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs. Balancing horror with more sci-fi sights than most indie-scaled movies can claim, Monsters throws a ton of fresh twists into the milieu of same-y survival stories that pair unlikely adventurers on a shared trek through the worst of an impending apocalypse. — Monsters is streaming on Peacock.
Star Trek Beyond
The new-look crew of the Enterprise found its firmest footing yet in 2016’s Star Trek Beyond, a film that smartly plucked Starfleet’s finest out of the heavens and set them down on solid alien terra firma for a thrilling face-to-face fight against a slithery alien species. Idris Elba did the reptilian honors as the snaky homeworld’s dictator, augmenting a stacked Star Trek cast that seemed to signal a bright franchise future for Enterprise mainstays Chris Pine (Cpt. Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldaña (Uhura), Karl Urban (Leonard McCoy), co-writer Simon Pegg (Montgomery Scott), and the late Anton Yelchin (Chekov) in one of his final big-screen roles. This is your go-to movie when it’s time to convince that reluctant Star Trek watcher in your life (and don’t we all know at least one?) who grouses that the franchise should be less talk and more action. — Star Trek Beyond is streaming on Paramount+.