One of the best things about the science fiction genre is that it reaches far and wide. It’s such a varied genre that you will find a film in it that you love. The genre has produced many incredible movies. It’s easy to name some of the best science fiction movies of all time, such as Star Wars, Alien, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, but sometimes many great Black-led sci-fi movies don’t get enough praise and attention.
Many of these fantastic movies are underrated. Because there are so many entertaining and not-discussed enough Black-led science fiction movies, while developing this list, I had a hard time narrowing it down. However, I attempted to pick ten entertaining and well-crafted films.
Attack The Block
Attack the Block is a science fiction comedy that follows a group of kids living in a crime-filled part of London as aliens begin to invade their community. It stars John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, and Nick Frost. The action escalates from one battle to the next in an adventure movie that’s both very fun and genuinely intense at times.
It’s one of John Boyega’s best movies and a really clever and entertaining entry into the science fiction world. Attack the Block is the story of how young offenders go from criminals to heroes.
Men In Black
The Men in Black series includes four films. The first three movies star Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, while the 2019 spin-off, called Men in Black: International, stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. Though that film wasn’t as well-received as the first three, it would shock me if it marked the end of the franchise.
It is such a popular and well-liked series that it would excite many to watch more Men in Black movies. The first two were filmed during one of the peaks of Smith’s career. These movies helped make him such a beloved and bankable actor. His on-screen goofy charm contributes a lot to the success of the Men in Black movies.
Daniel Kaluuya makes his directorial debut with The Kitchen. It's also co-directed by Kibwe Tavares. The film follows a boy named Benji (Jedaiah Bannerman) and the man he believes is his father Izi (Kane Robinson) as they get to know each other. Izi is trying to escape from living in a rough community at a time of heightened tension. Benji just wants a new place to call home. Their different needs pull them together and nearly break them apart.
The Kitchen is a film that takes place in a dystopian future. The futuristic aspects are not that prominent, so it’s not the best dystopian film, but it’s a very compelling drama about connection and falling in love with a part of yourself that you buried.
The Creator is one of the best sci-fi films of 2023. It follows Sergeant Joshua Taylor (John David Washington) as he works to protect a robotic AI child, nicknamed Alphie (Madeleine Yuna Voyles). It’s set in 2070, in a world where Western society has made AI and all those who support it the enemy.
You’ll likely enjoy The Creator’s action adventure but the real appeal is the heartwarming relationship that develops between Joshua and Alphie. They develop a strong dynamic that breaks and warms the heart. The Creator tackles topics such as overcoming prejudice, lost love, an unbreakable bond, and extremist behavior.
See You Yesterday
See You Yesterday is a great time-traveling movie that explores the depth a person goes to for family, as it’s about a girl who invents a way to time travel to save her brother. Like all fascinating movies about altering events, her actions have consequences. The film stars Eden Duncan-Smith, Dante Crichlow, and Brian “Stro” Bradley.
The film addresses the problem of police brutality in a very thought-provoking and impactful way. You watch as C.J. endlessly feels helpless because she seems trapped in a no-win situation. It’s a powerful film that’s also entertaining and showcases why time-traveling movies remain special. They can act as catalysts for exploring internal and external issues facing the world and individuals.
Fast Color is a superhero film and a science fiction movie. The story revolves around three generations of Black women with powers. Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is on the run as scientists attempt to capture and experiment on her. Her powers cause her to have violent seizures that cause earthquakes. Ruth hasn’t been home to see her mother and daughter in many years.
This isn’t just a homecoming, but an escape from a world that she can barely survive in. Fast Color establishes an interesting mythology that I would have loved to see further explored in the TV show. But as of January 2024, there haven’t been any updates on it.
The Girl With All The Gifts
Based on the book of the same name, The Girl with All the Gifts is set in a world that has been nearly completely wiped out by a virus. However, a few of the child survivors, who are zombie-human hybrids, are being used as a possible cure. The disease turns most people into zombie-like creatures, known as Hungries. The film stars Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close, and Sennia Nanua.
The Girl with the Gifts falls more into the horror realm, but leans toward science fiction. It’s also a great zombie movie but has enough sci-fi aspects to work in the genre. The film has wonderful performances, and Nanua is particularly riveting in this role. Additionally, The Girl with All the Gifts has a haunting ending.
They Cloned Tyrone
They Cloned Tyrone is a science fiction comedy starring John Boyega, Jamie Foxx, and Teyonah Parris. After being murdered, drug dealer Fontaine (Boyega) discovers that he’s been cloned. This sends Fontaine and some of his associates on a quest to uncover the truth.
This is a comedy that borders on satirical. It tackles issues in a snarky but insightful manner, and the Netflix movie becomes more over-the-top as it continues. That commitment to the absurd adds to the fun ride. Underneath all the outlandish things in They Cloned Tyrone lies a discussion on oppression and keeping people in an endless cycle.
Jordan Peele has become synonymous with horror movies. Therefore, many may argue this is his third horror movie, but I would say that this is more science fiction than horror, though it falls within the horror, sci-fi and western genres. However you categorize it, Nope once again proves that Peele knows how to make a captivating movie. Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, and Brandon Perea star.
They all play fascinating and entertaining characters that leave memorable impressions. The storyline, performances, cinematography, and visual effects make Nope such an unforgettable cinematic experience. It also presents so much to analyze and explore, like the Nope ending.
Sorry To Bother You
One of the best things about Sorry to Bother You is that you don’t know how insane the plot becomes until you watch it. Knowing it is a science fiction movie is only a part of the journey. The story follows Cash (LaKeith Stanfield) as he uses his white voice to excel at his telemarketing job.
It’s one of Stanfield’s best films because he makes you have conflicted feelings about his character. He gives Cash depth. Sorry to Bother You is extremely funny, complex, ridiculous, and shocking in all the best ways.
While this list should keep you busy, these are some other great Black-led sci-fi movies to check out: Project Power, Independence Day, Synchronic, and Black Box.