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The Best Sci-Fi Movies Of 2022 So Far

In 2021, we were treated to a smorgasbord of sci-fi awesomeness, from giant monsters duking it out ("Godzilla vs. Kong) to space operas ("Dune") to comedic road movies ("The Mitchells vs. the Machines). So has 2022 lived up to its predecessor when it comes to out-of-this-world adventures?

As it turns out, the answer is a big "yes." The year 2022 has featured a ton of sci-fi goodness, with films exploring the multiverse, advanced robotics, and immersive dreamscapes. These movies have come from a wide variety of cultures, countries, and even mediums. They're interested in all kinds of lives, from middle-aged mothers to curious teenagers. What unites them is an incredibly high level of quality and an abundance of imagination. From quirky indie flicks to big-time blockbusters, these are the best sci-fi movies of 2022.

Updated on December 2, 2022: As 2022 winds on, we'll be keeping an eye out for excellent new sci-fi movies. Every time a fresh classic emerges, we'll add it to this list. Whenever you're looking to have a mind-bending adventure, be sure to check back here for the best of 2022's sci-fi cinema.

The Adam Project

From the creative minds that brought us "Free Guy," "The Adam Project" follows the titular Adam, a time-traveling pilot from 2050 who gets stranded in 2022 while pursuing an unauthorized mission. There, he meets his 12-year-old self, and the two Adams must work together to accomplish older Adam's objective: Get back to 2018 to save his wife's life. But time travel has a way of making things complicated — especially since older Adam is fleeing a dystopian future. With the odds stacked against them, Big Adam and Little Adam decide their only solution is to find the man who actually created time travel itself ... their dearly departed dad.

"The Adam Project" makes maximum use of Ryan Reynolds' likability as older Adam. He plays excellently off his younger self's vulnerabilities (newcomer Walker Scobell kills it here). Plus, there are time jets, and with both Reynolds and Mark Ruffalo in the mix, who doesn't want to see Deadpool interact with Bruce Banner?

  • Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner
  • Director: Shawn Levy
  • Runtime: 106 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13 
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%

After Yang

"After Yang" is a deeply moving exploration of memory and grief. In an idyllic-looking future, parents Jake and Kyra have provided their adopted daughter Mika with an android sibling named Yang. When Yang  stops functioning, Jake promises Mika he will have her "brother" back to normal as soon as possible. But as they go through Yang's memory bank, Jake and Kyra make several major discoveries about Yang's past and the true depths of his soul. What emerges is breathtaking, emotional, and profound — proving filmmaker Kogonada is one of the very best directors working today.

Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood

Writer-director Richard Linklater mixes fact and fantasy in "Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood." A kid growing up in 1960s Houston, young Stanley is fired up by Apollo 11. As he watches history unfold, the real details of the mission are interwoven with his elaborate dream of being recruited as an astronaut, because he's small enough to fit in a lunar module's tight quarters. "Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood" embraces nostalgia without completely ignoring the upheaval in America at this time: Houston is just as fascinating as the moon. Rotoscoping captures Stanley's imagination just as vividly as the actual launch of the Saturn V.

  • Starring: Jack Black, Lee Eddy, Milo Coy
  • Director: Richard Linklater
  • Runtime: 98 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13 
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Belle

Lonely teenager Suzu leads another life in the virtual world known as "U." There, she's a famous singer named Belle with charming freckles and flowing pink hair. After a concert is violently ruined by a mysterious user known as the Dragon, Belle sets out to find him. As she soon discovers, they both have tragedy in their real lives they need to overcome. "Belle" features stunning visuals and real emotional heft, rooted in the trials and tribulations of adolescence.

  • Starring: Kaho Nakamura, Ryô Narita, Shôta Sometani
  • Director: Mamoru Hosoda
  • Runtime: 121 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Brian and Charles

One day, mild-mannered Welsh inventor Brian creates a boxy robot with a mannequin's head. After a thunderstorm brings the automaton to life, it dubs itself Charles and develops a keen interest in everything the world has to offer. An unlikely friendship emerges as Charles grows more and more human — and as the duo tangles with a local bully. At a brisk 90 minutes, "Brian and Charles" offers good intentions and a pleasantly genial story that will leave a smile on your face.

  • Starring: David Earl, Chris Hayward, Louise Brealey
  • Director: Jim Archer
  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

Crimes of the Future

Squishy body horror and nightmarish advanced technology go hand in hand in director David Cronenberg's moody meditation on art and humanity, "Crimes of the Future" (which is unrelated to his 1970 feature of the same name). Cronenberg's sci-fi/horror hybrid involves the evolution of the human body, which includes dulled pain receptors and a government cover-up of how advanced that evolution really is. 

Saul Tenser and his partner, Caprice, have turned the surgical removal of his spontaneously growing new organs into performance art, which attracts the attention of a group of radicals. The film is awash in foreboding and gore. Kristen Stewart gives a particularly nervy, off-balance performance as Timlin, an administrator at the National Organ Registry. Her weird energy is a perfect tonic in Cronenberg's morbid tale of surgery, sexual attraction, and ... plastics.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Sam Raimi infuses the Marvel Cinematic Universe with his trademark horror in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." Superhero sorcerer Stephen Strange must protect America Chavez, a dimension-hopping teenager, from someone seeking to steal her powers. Their flight across the multiverse takes them to the very limits of existence, with Strange grappling with his own issues and growing his own powers by confronting dark and disturbing versions of himself across dimensions — both alive and dead. Plus, Wanda Maximoff emerges as the emotional core of the film as she struggles with the harrowing aftermath of "WandaVision." What results is a blend of terror, fantasy, and sci-fi you won't soon forget.

  • Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Xochitl Gómez
  • Director: Sam Raimi
  • Runtime: 126 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

Dual

In the dystopian future of "Dual," dying people can arrange to have themselves replaced by clones. But what happens to the clone if the original person doesn't die? So begins Sarah's nightmare. After she survives a terminal illness, Sarah's clone decides she wants to continue living Sarah's life. By law, only one Sarah can remain alive, so the two must duel to the death. Writer-director Riley Stearns explores themes of identity in a comic fashion, despite the devastating nature of the dilemma. Sarah teaching her combat trainer Trent how to dance as partial payment for her self-defense classes is a particular highlight.

  • Starring: Karen Gillan, Aaron Paul, Beulah Koale
  • Director: Riley Stearns
  • Runtime: 95 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Simply put, "Everything Everywhere All At Once" is one of the best films of the year. An endlessly inventive and absurdist delight, it stars Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn, a middle-aged laundromat owner whose IRS audit becomes a surreal adventure. The multiverse is threatened by a fearsome being, and only Evelyn can save every dimension everywhere. An eye-popping journey through alternate universes ensues. Multiple viewings are a must to catch every detail packed into this wild, heartfelt, and colorful good time.

  • Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan
  • Director: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
  • Runtime: 139 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

King Car

"King Car" is a horror-comedy-sci-fi oddity chock-full of political commentary. The film stars Luciano Pedro Jr. as Uno, a boy who can telepathically communicate with cars. He refurbishes an old automobile, the titular King Car, providing it with the means to actually speak. While Uno's power is exploited by his uncle Zé, King Car has its own ideas. The bizarro absurdity of this one-of-a-kind film spins out of control at times, but "King Car" is definitely a wild ride worth taking.

  • Starring: Okado do Canal, Jules Elting, Matheus Nachtergaele
  • Director: Renata Pinheiro
  • Runtime: 97 minutes
  • Rating: NR
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

Lightyear

"Lightyear," which audiences are told upfront is the film that made Andy of "Toy Story" fame into a Buzz Lightyear fan, sees the titular hero's headstrong insistence on adventuring solo strand a ship full of his fellow Space Rangers on a hostile planet. Buzz winds up working with a crew of lovable misfits, including his former partner's granddaughter and an adorable robotic cat named Sox, to make things right. But can they overcome Zurg, the enigmatic villain sending waves of robots after them? 

"Lightyear" is a gorgeously animated sci-fi adventure with lots of comedy and heart. It's at its best when spotlighting the crew's attempts to figure out their strengths and when indulging in absolutely incredible hyperspace sequences. Whether you're watching it on an IMAX screen or Disney+, this Pixar tale is sure to entertain and inspire.

  • Starring: Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi
  • Director: Angus MacLane
  • Runtime: 105 minutes
  • Rating: PG 
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

Last Survivors

Troy and his son Jake live in a remote haven, far from the horrors of the post-apocalyptic landscape. Though Troy tells Jake the world beyond is a nightmarish waste, that doesn't keep Jake from being fascinated by Henrietta, a woman he meets while looking for medicine. "Last Survivors" distinguishes itself from other post-apocalyptic films by focusing on the characters' inner turmoil: Their emotional journeys take center stage, rather than the ravages of World War III. 

  • Starring: Drew Van Acker, Alicia Silverstone, Stephen Moyer
  • Director: Drew Mylrea
  • Runtime: 99 minutes
  • Rating: NR
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%

Looop Lapeta

An adaptation of the celebrated German film "Run Lola Run," "Looop Lapeta" puts fallen track star Savi in the lead. With her burgeoning athletic career derailed by injury, Savi starts off in a dark place. Soon enough, however, she falls in love with Satya, a charming criminal. After he leaves a bag of cash on a bus, Savi must come up with the loot, lest Satya be bumped off. But there's a twist: Savi is stuck in a time loop. As the story replays over and over again, she must use her knowledge to bring about better outcomes. More comedic than its source material, "Looop Lapeta" is a thrilling trip through alternate timelines where the slightest change can have massive repercussions.

  • Starring: Tahir Raj Bhasin, Taapsee Pannu, Shreya Dhanwanthary
  • Director: Aakash Bhatia
  • Runtime: 131 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

Neptune Frost

"Neptune Frost" is a singular work of Afrofuturism. It's a sci-fi musical with an audacious vision that mesmerizes even if, at times, the story seems elusive. Set in Burundi, the film follows a coltan miner named Matalusa and an intersex runaway named Neptune, who's played by Elvis "Bobo" Ngabo in the beginning of the film and Cheryl Isheja later on. At turns impressionistic and poetic, "Neptune Frost" features characters with symbolic names such as Memory and Psychology, and it primarily concerns an anti-colonialist hacker collective waging technowar against an oppressive police state seemingly run by The Authority. When Matalusa and Neptune meet, it creates a jolt that powers the collective's technological fight. Be prepared for the visuals and songs to get stuck in your cerebral cortex.

  • Starring: Cheryl Isheja, Bertrand "Kaya Free" Ninteretse, Elvis "Bobo" Ngabo
  • Director: Saul Williams, Anisia Uzeyman
  • Runtime: 105 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Nope

Horror auteur Jordan Peele succeeds once more with "Nope," a sci-fi-horror film about siblings Emerald and OJ Haywood, horse wranglers to the stars. When a UFO begins hovering above their ranch, they decide to catch it on tape — but they're not the only ones with plans for the mysterious entity. Reporters, photographers, and a sleazy former child star all have their own designs. "Nope" tackles society's exploitation of tragedy, humanity's relationship with animals, and the treatment of below-the-line crew on film sets. This makes for a layered experience that will have you questioning your own assumptions from the very edge of your seat.

Prey

"Prey," the latest installment in the "Predator" franchise, goes back to 1719, when one of the first Predators comes to Earth. This hunter is pitted against Naru, a Comanche woman looking to prove she has what it takes to be a great hunter. "Prey" has breathtaking vistas, bloody action, and excellent performances. A tease in the credits and Easter eggs from other "Predator" films will please franchise fans, but the biggest reason to see this sci-fi gem is definitely Amber Midthunder's Naru, who uses her wits and training against an alien foe far larger than she.

  • Starring: Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Stormee Kipp
  • Director: Dan Trachtenberg
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Strawberry Mansion

This surreal sci-fi-rom-com adventure stars Kentucker Audley as James Preble, a government agent who audits people's dreams. That's right: In the future this movie imagines, dreams are taxed. He soon discovers something more sinister afoot as he audits Bella, an elderly artist and the sole occupant of the titular home. Full of bizarre logic, oddball characters, and striking imagery, "Strawberry Mansion" is a splendid head-trip guaranteed to expand your imagination.

  • Starring: Kentucker Audley, Reed Birney, Grace Glowicki
  • Director: Kentucker Audley, Albert Birney
  • Runtime: 91 minutes
  • Rating: NR
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes

"Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes" is a delight from start to finish. Kato lives upstairs from the café he owns, and one evening, he discovers a time anomaly while looking at his computer monitor, allowing him to see two minutes into the future. Once his friends find out, they want to see if they can expand the anomaly to take advantage of the ensuing foreknowledge, and things spiral from there. The recursive nature of the repeating two minutes leads to some philosophical debates, but "Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes" never gets too heavy. It's light and breezy — even when danger looms — and a whole lot of fun.

  • Starring: Kazunari Tosa, Riko Fujitani, Gôta Ishida

  • Director: Junta Yamaguchi

  • Runtime: 70 minutes

  • Rating: Not rated 

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The sequel to "Black Panther," and the 30th movie overall in the MCU, introduces a second incredibly powerful and hidden nation to the MCU with Talokan. Talokan is the cinematic update of Atlantis, home of the submariner Namor who doesn't want the outside world to discover his homeland for fear that imperial powers will attack and steal their resources. But things aren't that simple — Namor also demands the life of the young scientist who unintentionally allowed one of Talokan's vibranium deposits to be discovered, leading his country into conflict with Wakanda. 

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is a major scale movie even for the planet-hopping franchise. Its international conflict creates a plot that feels like a political thriller with global stakes, and its action scenes are some of the most exciting we've ever seen in the MCU. Of course, the main thrust of the movie deals with honoring the legacy of the late Chadwick Boseman and his character, King T'Challa, and by the end of the film, there isn't a dry eye in the audience.

  • Starring: Letitia Wright, Tenoch Huerta, Angela Bassett
  • Director: Ryan Coogler
  • Runtime: 161 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

Something in the Dirt

"Something in the Dirt" has a deceptively small scale for its big ideas. The movie centers on two neighbors who meet shortly after one of them moves into an apartment building. They quickly develop a friendship, and when strange things start happening in the newly leased apartment — like things floating inexplicably and wild light refractions that create patterns on the wall — they decide to make a documentary about the phenomena. But as they continue to explore what may be causing these strange occurrences, they begin to split in their theories and the methods they want to employ until we're left with more questions than answers. "Something in the Dirt" is a fascinating movie not only for the questions it poses in its plot but also because it's a strange mix of mockumentary, home-video collage, and straightforward narrative that makes it one of the most formally inventive science fiction movies of the year.

  • Starring: Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson
  • Director: Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead
  • Runtime: 116 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Significant Other

Maika Monroe is a genre darling for a reason, and this year she's offered us not one, but two great new genre movies. "Watcher" delivered a skin-crawling story of a stalker, and "Significant Other" brings us a high concept sci-fi movie. "Significant Other" follows couple Ruth and Harry on a backpacking trip in the Pacific Northwest where they discover a series of strange and disturbing occurrences in the wake of a comet's arrival. The movie doesn't offer answers for a while and instead keeps the audience guessing in an equally fun and unnerving game of "what's really going on here?" It also helps that Monroe and costar Jake Lacy are giving incredibly charming performances and that the forest setting is beautiful.

  • Starring: Maika Monroe, Jake Lacy, Matthew Yang King
  • Director: Dan Berk and Robert Olsen
  • Runtime: 84 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

The "Dragon Ball" franchise has always been about aliens, as the central Saiyan characters came to Earth from a different world. But "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" is one of the most science fiction heavy movies in the franchise as it focuses not only on aliens but also androids and a genetically altered "bio-android." 

The plot follows the often sidelined character Piccolo as he takes center stage in investigating the resurgent Red Ribbon Army, a potential threat to the franchise's ensemble and the world. Like all "Dragon Ball" media, the movie includes some incredibly exciting and visually stunning animated fight sequences, but it's focus on Piccolo allows for a new character to be the emotional center of the film.

  • Starring (Japanese dub): Toshio Furukawa, Masako Nozawa, Miyu Irino
  • Starring (English dub): Christopher Sabat, Kyle Hebert, Zach Aguilar
  • Director: Tetsuro Kodama
  • Runtime: 99 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%