The Best 2023 Sci-Fi Movies, Ranked

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Written By Maya Cantina

Science fiction movies are frequently among the most successful movies at the box office. They show us things we cannot see any other way and often include incredible visual action along the way. 2023 was certainly no different in that regard, but it also gave us sci-fi stories that were much smaller, movies that used the genre of science fiction to show us elements of our real world that maybe we wouldn’t see any other way.

While it’s too early to tell if any of these movies are among the best sci-fi movies of all time, they are all great in their own right. From the massive big-screen blockbusters to the character-driven stories that were released directly on streaming platforms, here’s a look at the 10 best sci-fi movies in 2023.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

 10. The Creator

Gareth Edwards’ The Creator couldn’t have picked a better time to come out considering 2023 is the year AI truly became part of our world. While the film suggests a worst-case scenario for the future of technology, it does so while creating a beautifully-realized future world, even if the world itself is less than beautiful. The relationship between our two main characters, one who’s human and one who’s not, is one that can be understood 

The Best 2023 Sci-Fi Movies, Ranked

(Image credit: Paramount)

9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem 

We’ve seen Ninja Turtles on the big screen countless times before, and yet, never quite like this. Mutant Mayhem makes the revolutionary decision to use teenagers to play the Ninja Turtles, giving their story an entirely different tone and feel that makes the story far more interesting than it has been in the past. Combine that with a unique and frantic animation style, and you have a must-see movie for Ninja Turtles fans, animation fans or just movie fans. 

The Best 2023 Sci-Fi Movies, Ranked

(Image credit: Netflix)

 8. They Cloned Tyrone 

While the title of Netflix’s They Cloned Tyrone certainly indicates you’re about to watch a sci-fi movie, you wouldn’t otherwise guess that from the first few minutes of the film. John Boyega, Jamie Foxx and Teyonah Parris play three unlikely allies investigating strange occurrences in their neighborhood. What they discover is not at all what they expect. The cast and setting make for an unlikely sci-fi movie, but that’s exactly why it works, because it’s something we’ve never seen before.

The Best 2023 Sci-Fi Movies, Ranked

(Image credit: Netflix)

 7. Nimona 

The line between what qualifies as science fiction and what is fantasy is usually fairly easy to see. With Nimona, things get a bit more fuzzy, but because the film has science fiction elements, we get to call it a sci-fi movie, and that’s wonderful because it’s a film greatly deserving of praise. ND Stevenson’s graphic novel adaptation was resurrected by Netflix after dying at Disney, and we’re all the better for it. Hilarious and heartfelt, Nimona‘s title character is the hero we all need in our lives. 

The Best 2023 Sci-Fi Movies, Ranked

(Image credit: China Film Group Corporation)

 6. Wandering Earth II 

If you thought that three-hour-long science fiction blockbuster tentpole movies were purely the domain of Hollywood, then you haven’t yet seen China’s Wandering Earth franchise. The 2019 original film became one of the nation’s highest-grossing films ever. The sequel is actually a prequel that tells the story of Earth’s attempts to deal with the expanding sun, and the ultimate decision to transform the Earth into a massive spaceship to take the entire planet to a new home. The action set pieces are as good as any from a Western franchise.  

The Best 2023 Sci-Fi Movies, Ranked

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

 5. Guaridans Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was a movie that, at one point, we weren’t sure we’d ever see. Finally seeing it made it clear what a tragedy that would have been. The best trilogy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe came to a satisfying conclusion with all the spectacle, laughter and heart that we’d come to expect from our favorite band of damaged misfits. Guardians 3 was absolutely beautiful in every way that word can be defined, and yeah, it had an absolutely killer soundtrack to boot.

The Best 2023 Sci-Fi Movies, Ranked

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

 4. No One Will Save You  

If there was a Best Actress Oscar strictly for sci-fi movies, it would be difficult to give it to anybody in 2023 other than Kaitlyn Dever. She’s in every single scene and nearly every single shot of No One Will Save You. She is the movie, and she does it all while barely uttering a word. Elements of No One Will Save You’s alien invasion are boilerplate, to be sure, but it’s all done in the service of making sure the audience’s focus is where it needs to be: on a stellar performance that must be seen, because it cannot be heard. Furthermore, No One Will Save You‘s ending is among the best of the year.

The Best 2023 Sci-Fi Movies, Ranked

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

3. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse 

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was arguably the best cinematic outing ever for one of the most popular fictional characters in history. Topping it was going to be near impossible, and yet somehow, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse doesn’t simply clear the bar, it web swings over it with ease. Despite the cliffhanger ending for Across the Spider-Verse, it still feels complete because despite what it claims, it’s not Miles Morales’ story. This movie belongs to Gwen Stacy, and she kills it.

The Best 2023 Sci-Fi Movies, Ranked

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

2. Poor Things 

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often called the first science fiction story, and so one must therefore call its descendants, like Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things, science fiction as well. It also takes place in a clearly fictionalized and stylized world that, while it’s enough like our own, is also clearly “other.” Emma Stone’s performance as Bella, the woman who must learn and understand the world in a whole unique way, is beyond incredible.  

The Best 2023 Sci-Fi Movies, Ranked

(Image credit: Toho)

1. Godzilla Minus One

Godzilla movies are usually sold on massive monster battles or Godzilla destroying everything in sight, but the real battle is between showing us those amazing kaiju sequences while still giving us compelling human characters with whom we can empathize. In that regard, Godzilla Minus One may truly be the best Godzilla movie ever made. The monster is as terrifying and destructive as he’s ever been, but it’s the story of the humans, and the trauma they experience, that really draws you in and makes the stunning visuals truly matter.

2023 was a good year for science fiction. Looking at the 2024 movie schedule, sci-fi fans are going to want to take note. The second half of Denis Villenueve’s Dune is on the way, as well as Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, the fourth installment in this rebooted timeline.  

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