But there are some humdingers. In the spirit of not just listing every Star Wars movie, I’ve limited myself to what I feel is the best of the best.
With those disclaimers out of the way, here are our picks for the best science fiction movies on Disney Plus.
Avatar occupies such a strange place in our collective imagination. Not too long ago, it was the highest-grossing movie in history, yet somehow the cultural footprint it left behind feels surprisingly shallow.
That could change with the release of Avatar 2, if it ever comes. For now, it could be fun to rewatch Avatar, an imperfect, formulaic movie in some ways, but incredibly imaginative and bold in others.
Flight of the Navigator
If you’re aged between 38 and 42, chances are you’ve seen Flight of the Navigator roughly 37 times on average.
Flight of the Navigator is the very definition of cult classic. It was one of the very first movies to make use of CGI, and certain elements have dated, but this 1986 movie scratches a nostalgia itch like few others.
The Last Jedi
OK, here we go again…
The Last Jedi is easily the best Star Wars movie of the most recent trilogy and, arguably, one of the best Star Wars movies ever made. Its legacy has been somewhat tarnished by the truly abominable The Rise of Skywalker, but The Last Jedi is as good and as bold as franchise movies get. I love it.
The Empire Strikes Back
The Empire Strikes Back is your default choice for best Star Wars movie for a reason: It’s good! Very good, in fact.
It receives bog standard praise for being “dark” or “gritty,” but The Empire Strikes Back is simply a tight, well-structured flick that makes great use of its iconic character set. It’s also beautifully shot. Every frame of this movie is glorious to look at.
Many of the most iconic Star Wars moments take place in this movie. It rules.
WALL-E is far from my favorite Pixar movie, but it’s probably the most sci-fi of the bunch.
It’s also quite good. It has ham-fisted things to say about the environment and our overreliance on technology, but it’s still good.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Buena Vista Pictures
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is sci-fi, right? It involves fiction and science.
I rewatched it recently with my kids, and everyone had a blast. The 1989-era special effects haven’t aged well, but for the most part, it’s hilarious and fun. Perfect for a low-key family movie night.
Avengers: Endgame features travel through time and space, so it clearly belongs in the science fiction bucket.
It’s also clearly the best Avengers movie, and one of the best flicks in the extensive MCU. Great ending, great stakes, great characters. They nailed it.
I’m really stretching the bounds of science fiction with this entry, but Thor: Ragnarok is — for my money — the best Marvel movie.
It’s the most stylish, the most compelling and easily the funniest of the bunch. It’s pure joy.
Walt Disney Pictures
Now we’re talking.
Tron: Legacy is hardly a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s fun. Much like many of the films on this list, it’s objectively… not very good but enjoyable for reasons of nostalgia and the place Tron holds in our cultural imagination.
If you’re gonna watch Tron Legacy, why not watch the original? It’s dated about as well as you could expect, but come on! It’s Tron! Watch it.
Inside Out is hardly sci-fi, but I’m adding it here because…
1. It uses a beautiful, well considered sci-fi aesthetic.
2. It’s probably my favorite Pixar movie.
Everyone should watch Inside Out regardless of the genre.