clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The best sci-fi movies to watch on Netflix this December

Godzilla’s not the only monster on our list this month

Godzilla seen from above, about to fire his atomic breath skyward, in Godzilla vs. Kong. Image: Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

It’s never a bad time to find your new favorite sci-fi movie, so why not check out a few new ones before the holidays? Netflix has plenty of great sci-fi picks to choose from, but this month we’re looking to a some surprising choices that you might not expect.

With the end of the year upon us and Godzilla hype sweeping the world, we’ve got a pick worthy of the King of Monsters, as well as something to help get you ready for Netflix’s upcoming space opera epic and a little movie from just a few years ago that you may not have caught up with just yet.

Editor’s pick: Love and Monsters

Dylan O’Brien in Love and Monsters sitting next to a robot Image: Paramount Pictures

Director: Michael Matthews
Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick, Michael Rooker

Post-apocalyptic stories have a nihilism problem. It’s understandable how they get there: The end of the world sucks, therefore the circumstances (and people) in the end of the world must also suck. Station Eleven was a nice antidote to this very Last of Us problem, and while Love and Monsters doesn’t quite reach the soaring highs of the former, it is a post-apocalyptic story that eschews the latter’s tired view of humanity for a story of self-discovery and found family.

This variant of the apocalypse saw all cold-blooded creatures on Earth transform into monsters. The movie has strong creature work (it was nominated for a Visual Effects Oscar), and the premise gives some fun opportunities for creative monsters derived from recognizable creatures — frogs, ants, crabs, worms, etc.

The narrative follows Joel (Dylan O’Brien), the loser cook of a post-apocalyptic bunker, where everyone but him is coupled up. Missing his ex (Jessica Henwick), the chronically terrified Joel decides to venture out into the terrifying world to reunite with his lost love. Along the way, he teams up with a dog much more capable than he is and a group of fellow survivors (including the always reliable Michael Rooker).

Love and Monsters comes from director Michael Matthews (the neo-Western Five Fingers for Marseilles) and writer Brian Duffield (No One Will Save You). It’s newly added on Netflix, and has quickly soared into the platform’s top 10. If you can get past the hit-or-miss opening, you’ll be treated to a different spin on post-apocalypse life. —Pete Volk

Godzilla vs. Kong

Godzilla fights Kong on an aircraft carrier Image: Legendary Entertainment

Director: Adam Wingard
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry

With the excellent Apple TV Plus series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters partway through its run, Godzilla Minus One tearing its way through theaters, and the exciting-looking Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire on the way early next year, it’s the perfect time to catch up on the MonsterVerse.

Godzilla vs. Kong is exactly what it’s supposed to be. It’s an absolutely gorgeous movie about two giant monsters fighting each other, and it knows that it doesn’t really need to be anything more than that. Sure it’s fun, and funny, and the human characters are solid enough, but when it comes right down to it, what’s important here is Kong running through the beautiful neons of the hollow Earth and Godzilla kicking the crap out of him later in the movie. —Austen Goslin

Man of Steel

Henry Cavill crosses his arms while talking with a furrowed brow in Man of Steel. Image: Warner Bros.

Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon

I know, I know. A superhero movie is not necessarily what you’re after when you’re looking for sci-fi, but with the release of Rebel Moon just a few weeks away, it’s worth remembering that Zack Snyder already made a pretty excellent sci-fi movie about an alien defending a planet.

More importantly than the fact that the Earth’s greatest hero is an alien himself, the opening of Man of Steel is some of the most impressive science fiction filmmaking and world-building in recent memory, superhero movie or otherwise. Snyder’s vision of Krypton is beautiful and fascinating enough that it could have supported a full movie on its own. As it stands, though, Snyder creates an incredible race of aliens that feels like one of the most believable representations yet of Kryptonians. And that alone should merit a sci-fi rewatch for this under-appreciated Superman classic. —AG

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.