The Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movie of 2021 – IGN

From the desert planet of Arakkis to the remote tundra of Iceland, the MonsterVerse to the MCU, 2021’s best sci-fi/fantasy films took us on unforgettable, awe-inspiring journeys through time and space.

These are our picks for the best sci-fi/fantasy movie of 2021.

The Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movie of 2021

Dune is often described as one of the great, unfilmable science fiction novels. Leave it to director Denis Villeneuve to prove everyone wrong. Dune is a lavish, visually stunning take on Frank Herbert’s classic tale. While not every character and subplot makes the cut, the film captures the heady political and philosophical themes of the source material while also kicking off a grand hero’s journey for young Paul Atreides. The worst that can be said for Dune is that we have to wait two years for the sequel. –Jesse Schedeen

For more, check out IGN’s Dune review.

Godzilla vs. Kong

As movie audiences slowly, hesitantly dipped their toes back into the water at the top of 2021, the right movie for the right time was Godzilla vs. Kong. Available on the big screen for some, but also simultaneously on streaming for those not ready to head back to the multiplex, this monster masher was designed for those in desperate need of watching two gargantuan goofballs kicking the s*** out of each other. The movie, from You’re Next and The Guest’s Adam Wingard, delivered what was promised – souped up, mindless fun involving two titans taking each other to the wood shed. With a cheeky spring it its step that was missing from the previous MonsterVerse movie, Godzilla vs. Kong was anything but wrong. –Matt Fowler

For more, check out IGN’s Godzilla vs. Kong review.

The Green Knight

While the Arthurian myths have inspired a great many film adaptations over the years, it’s safe to say there’s never been an adaptation quite like The Green Knight. Writer/director David Lowery cleverly deconstructs the classic 14th Century poem to present a thoroughly different take on Sir Gawain’s quest for adventure and glory. From the elaborate costumes to the hand-painted matte backgrounds to the titular character himself, The Green Knight is among the most visually interesting releases of 2021, and one that stays with you long after the credits have rolled. -Jesse Schedeen

For more, check out IGN’s The Green Knight review.


From The Witch to Midsommar, independent film company A24 is no stranger to fantasy/folk horror, but Lamb might be their weirdest offering to the subgenre yet. Set in a remote farm in Iceland, Lamb tells the story of grieving parents who witness the birth of a very different baby lamb and decide to take it in as their own child. What happens from there is a haunting push and pull between man vs animal and human nature vs nature itself that twists and turns in bizarre and unsettling ways. Director Valdimar Jóhannsson’s feature-length directorial debut is a strange one, to be certain, but the genre deserves no less. –Brian Altano

For more, check out IGN’s Lamb review.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

2021 was a fairly uneven year for the MCU as a whole, but it’s hard to complain about Shang-Chi’s long-awaited big-screen debut. This Marvel epic veers off the beaten path in more ways than one, focusing on a largely Asian and Asian American cast and mixing high-impact martial arts with pure fantasy. Along the way, the film dramatically reinvents iconic characters like Shang-Chi himself and the Mandarin, and paves the way for a worthy new cinematic superhero franchise. –Jesse Schedeen

For more, check out IGN’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings review.

All IGN Best of 2021 Entertainment Categories

IGN’s Best of 2021 Awards were designed by:

Lead Design + Art Direction: Julia Rago

Motion Graphics: Will Batchelor

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