As many people had been speculating for the past year, Avengers: Endgame was something of a time travel movie. The manipulation of time is something that had already been introduced in the MCU but Endgame fully embraced this genre staple in the Avengers' fight against Thanos and it led to some of the most entertaining moments in the film.
The concept of time travel can be a tricky concept to pull off in films. The shaky science behind it is always walking a fine line between believable and ridiculous. But as Rhodey and Scott point out in Endgame, this is a sub genre with plenty of outstanding entries. So if Avengers: Endgame got you in the mood, here are some of the best time travel movies for you to watch next.
10 X-Men: Days of Future Past
Time travel might be a hard pill to swallow in some films, but within the comic book genre, it doesn't seem all that outlandish. So it’s not too surprising that Avengers: Endgame is one of many films in the genre to use the time travel motif for their superhero adventures. One of the most popular successful examples is this X-Men film.
Set in a future where mutants are almost extinct, Wolverine is sent back in time to try to change the past with the help of young Professor X. The time travel element seems like just an excuse to merge the two casts of the X-Men universe together, but it’s hard to deny the result is a lot of fun.
Arrival is maybe one of the more thoughtful time travel movies you are likely to see. It also happens to be a beautiful quiet science fiction drama with some truly touching themes.
Amy Adams stars as a renowned linguist who is called upon by the government to help communicate with a species of aliens who have suddenly arrived on Earth. Though the scenes of attempted communication are compelling, it is the slow reveal of the time travel element that makes this film special. It packs a huge emotional wallop and will make you want to immediately rewatch the whole movie.
8 Source Code
Time travel, though a difficult concept to do well, is surprisingly versatile. It can be used in so many genres so long as some care and thought is given to the concept. Source Code adopts the gimmick to great effect in this unique and entertaining procedural.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays a government operative who sent back in time, into the body of another man in order to investigate a train bombing. The movie replays the same scene again and again, adding a new element each time. Instead of getting repetitive, the film keeps building on the mystery.
Before Rian Johnson entered the world of Star Wars, he dipped his toe in the science fiction genre with this time travel crime tale.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Joe, a hit man for a crime syndicate in the not-too-distant future. Joe’s targets are sent from the future to be disposed of but things get complicated when one of those targets is an older version of himself (played by Bruce Willis).
The film introduces explores the idea of how a person changes over time all within this unique crime story. The time travel elements are expertly done, building on well-known tropes while introduces its own unique ideas.
6 Doctor Strange
Endgame wasn't the first MCU film the play around with time. Indeed, the Time Stone which was introduced in Doctor Strange's first solo film played a significant role in Avengers: Infinity War. The movie follows the origin tale of Stephen Strange a celebrated surgeon who, after a terrible car accident, goes in search of a method for healing himself. He is soon brought into the world of the mystic arts and put on his path of becoming the Sorcerer Supreme.
The Time Stone allows to movie to have some fun such as a memorable action sequence played out in reverse, and a clever use of time loops.
Christopher Nolan's space epic Interstellar deals with a lot of fascinating and complex subjects. Most interesting, is its exploration of time in various aspects.
The film follows a group of astronauts who are sent on a desperate mission to find a new planet for the human race to inhabit as Earth begins to die. Their journey takes them through a black hole and far-off planets where time works much differently. In the film's most memorable scenes, characters have to deal with the devastating consequences of missing decades in what seemed like minutes. It also uses the concept of non-linear time is emotionally effective ways.
4 Twelve Monkeys
The thought of Terry Gilliam taking on a time travel mystery seems to good to be true, and yet Twelve Monkeys manages to deliver on that enticing promise. The trippy tale starts in a post-apocalyptic future in where a prisoner is sent back in time to find out what happened to the planet and how they might be able to undo the damage.
Needless to say, this is not a straight-forward kind of movie, even for the time travel genre. Gilliam throws a lot of curveballs and insanity that keeps the audience guessing all up until the climax with one of the best uses of the concept of time travel ever put to film.
3 Edge Of Tomorrow
The concept of an action movie version of Groundhog Day is so brilliant it’s amazing no one thought of it sooner. Add to it a couple badass action stars like Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt and you have some extremely entertaining, high-octane fun.
Cruise plays an inept military man who is pushed into the frontlines of a battle against an invading alien army. Though he is quickly killed, he wakes up at the beginning of the day, given another shot at saving the world.
The movie uses its time travel elements only as much as it needs to, instead focusing on the video game-like action and relentless pace that makes this such a good time.
2 Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Time travel has always been a big part of the Terminator franchise. And while the first film gets a lot of credit for introducing the idea of a killer cyborg sent back in time to kill the leader of an eventual human uprising, the sequel ups its game in every way.
In one of the boldest follow-ups to he hit movie, Terminator 2 turns Arnold Schwarzenegger's unstoppable cyborg from villain to hero, sent back to protect adolescent John Conner from a new threat. James Cameron returns and changes the thriller feel of the original into a full-blown action blockbuster. It also plays with the idea of events being inevitable.
1 Back To The Future
The hallmark of the time travel genre is also the film that has the most fun with the concept. Just as in Endgame's widely entertaining time-travel sequences, Back to the Future concerns itself with only as much science to allow it to have a good time with all that could go wrong with going back in time.
Marty McFly's misadventures travelling from the 1980 to the 1950s and accidentally interfering with his parents' eventual romance remains one of the most crowd-pleasing and rewatchable movies of all-time. The time travel components are kept fairly simple allowing the audience to have fun without getting a migraine.