Winner of the best sci-fi / fantasy film of 2021

From the desert planet of Arakkis to the isolated tundra of Iceland, from the MonsterVerse to the MCU, the best sci-fi / fantasy movies of 2021 have taken us on unforgettable and awe-inspiring journeys through time and space.

Our winner for Best Sci-Fi / Fantasy Film of 2021 is …

Dune is often described as one of the great non-filmable science fiction novels. Leave it to director Denis Villeneuve to prove everyone wrong. Dune is a lavish and visually stunning take on Frank Herbert’s classic tale. While not all characters and subplots are retained, the film captures the gripping political and philosophical themes of the source material while also kicking off a great 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 rest. –Jesse Schedeen

To find out more, consult IGN’s Dune review.

Watch Dune director Denis Villeneuve’s reaction to his victory:

Here are our nominees for the best sci-fi / fantasy film of 2021 …

The best sci-fi / fantasy film of 2021

Dune

Dune is often described as one of the great non-filmable science fiction novels. Leave it to director Denis Villeneuve to prove everyone wrong. Dune is a lavish and visually stunning take on Frank Herbert’s classic tale. While not all characters and subplots are retained, the film captures the compelling political and philosophical themes of the source material while also kicking off a great 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 rest. –Jesse Schedeen

To find out more, consult IGN’s Dune review.

Godzilla vs. Kong

As movie audiences slowly and hesitantly dipped their toes into the water in early 2021, the right movie at the right time was Godzilla vs. Kong. Available on the big screen for some, but also simultaneously streaming for those not ready to return to the multiplex, this monster purifier was designed for those who desperately need to watch two gargantuan goofballs get high. The movie, from You’re Next and The Guest’s Adam Wingard, delivered on what was promised – bloated, insane fun involving two titans leading each other into the lumber shed. With a cheeky spring, this was the step that the previous MonsterVerse movie lacked, Godzilla vs. Kong was anything but wrong. – Matt Fowler

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

The green knight

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

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

Lamb

From The Witch to Midsommar, independent film company A24 is no stranger to fantasy / folk horror, but Lamb might be their strangest offering to the subgenre yet. Set on 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 as their own child. What happens from there is a haunting push and pull between man against animal and human nature against nature itself twisting and turning in weird and unsettling ways. Director Valdimar Jóhannsson’s feature debut is odd, to be sure, but the genre deserves no less. –Brian Altano

To learn more, check out IGN’s Lamb review.

Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings

2021 has been a fairly uneven year for the MCU as a whole, but it’s hard to complain about Shang-Chi’s long-awaited debut on the big screen. This Marvel epic is off the beaten track in more ways than one, focusing on a predominantly 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 sets the stage for a new cinematic superhero franchise worthy of the name. –Jesse Schedeen

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

All IGN Best of 2021 Entertainment Categories

The IGN Best of 2021 awards were designed by:

Lead Design + Artistic Direction: Julia Rago

Animated Graphics: Will Batchelor


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