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

Greetings, Polygon readers!

Dune: Part Two has finally arrived and swallowed box-office expectations like a mighty sandworm across the plains of Arrakis. For audiences who haven’t yet had the chance to make it out to theaters to see this year’s sci-fi epic du jour, there’s still plenty of other exciting films on the horizon to look forward to, like Bertrand Bonello’s The Beast, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, and more.

For those looking for a great flick to enjoy at home, not to worry: We’ve gathered our picks for the best sci-fi movies to watch on Netflix this month, including an explosive double-feature starring cousins Robbie and Stephen Amell, a far-out space drama starring Adam Sandler, and a multiverse mashup that offers a little bit of everything, everywhere… all at once.

Let’s take a look at what this month has to offer!

Editor’s pick: Code 8 and Code 8 Part II

Scary robot cops with a red circle for an eye in Code 8 Part II Image: Netflix

Director: Jeff Chan
Cast: Robbie Amell, Stephen Amell

In 2020, a small Canadian sci-fi movie supported by more than 30,000 Indiegogo contributors dropped on Netflix. Code 8, produced by and starring real-life cousins Robbie Amell (Upload) and Stephen Amell (Arrow), would become a breakaway hit on the platform, helping spawn a straight-to-Netflix sequel a few years later. It’s easy to see why they became hits — their dedication to interesting world-building and the clear passion behind the projects make them enjoyable to watch, warts and all.

In the world of Code 8, superpowered people have existed since the early 20th century. Those people became a labor class, using their powers to perform dangerous jobs. But as the Industrial Revolution progressed and automation became more standard, society decided the dangers of superpowered workers outweighed the benefits, turning those former workers into a heavily policed, marginalized class of people. When a young man with electric powers looks for a job to help pay for his mother’s medical bills, he falls in with a gang of powered criminals looking to secure a big score.

The Code 8 movies are not the most polished projects — the version of Code 8 Part II uploaded to Netflix has multiple apparent editing errors that splice in asynchronous shots for a single frame. But in some ways, that works to the movies’ benefit, in concert with the “low-budget passion indie” mood of the projects. (It also makes you appreciate how good the evil robot cops look in the series — some are reminiscent of Automatons in Helldivers 2, while others are straight riffs on Boston Dynamics’ terrifying robot dogs).

Part heist movies, part sci-fi, part stories about power and who wields it, the Code 8 movies don’t always execute at a high level, but they are working with some interesting ideas and are committed to seeing them through. Sometimes, that’s what you want from low-budget sci-fi. —Pete Volk


An extreme closeup on the space-suit-helmeted face of Czech astronaut Jakub (Adam Sandler), with a purple, glowing space-cloud reflected in his helmet in Netflix’s Spaceman Image: Netflix

Director: Johan Renck
Cast: Adam Sandler, Carey Mulligan, Paul Dano

Adam Sandler doesn’t get nearly as much credit as he deserves. While his roles in films like Punch-Drunk Love and Uncut Gems may appear as outliers when compared to his more comedy-focused work, the sheer contrast of those roles speaks to his extraordinary range as a performer. His role in Spaceman, the new sci-fi drama from director Johan Renck, fits perfectly alongside those aforementioned roles, showcasing Sandler’s talent for dramatic acting at its best.

Sandler stars as Jakub, a Czechian cosmonaut sent on a lone mission to investigate a mysterious particle cloud that’s appeared at the edge of the solar system. Separated from his wife, Lenka (Carey Mulligan), who has seemingly stopped receiving or sending messages to him, Jakub is beginning to feel the effects of his extended isolation from humanity… that is, until he makes an unexpected new “friend” in the form of a telepathic arachnid-like creature who wishes to better understand humanity.

Is this creature real, or just a hallucination born out of Jakub’s ailing mental health and the anomalous effects of the particle cloud? While that question remains open for much of the film’s run time, what’s certain is that Sandler delivers one hell of a performance against type, capturing the nuances of a man struggling with his regrets, his hopes and fears for the future, and the eternal question of humanity’s place in the universe. Spaceman is a moving, unconventional sci-fi drama about the redemptive power of connection and the will to change. —Toussaint Egan

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything Everywhere All at Once: Michelle Yeoh protects Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu Photo: Allyson Riggs/A24

Director: The Daniels
Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan

Multiverses are so in right now. There’s perhaps no greater proof of this than Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s sci-fi spectacle taking home the Oscar for Best Picture in 2023 and earning, among several other awards, Michelle Yeoh her first Oscar for Best Actress. If you somehow haven’t experienced Everything Everywhere All at Once yet, or haven’t seen it since its initial theatrical run, it’s as perfect a time as any to watch it now that it’s on Netflix.

The film combines the directing duo’s anarchic, offbeat sense of humor with a riveting drama about multigenerational regret, forgiveness, and personal growth. Michelle Yeoh delivers a award-winning performance, as does Jamie Lee Curtis as an insufferable IRS auditor turned nemesis. But the true MVP of EEAAO is none other than Ke Huy Quan, who bursts onto the screen with a performance that encapsulates the full range of the movie’s strengths through his jaw-dropping fight sequences, dorky humor, and captivating vulnerability. As popular as multiverse stories may be at this moment, there’s nothing else that feels quite like Everything Everywhere All at Once. —TE