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Like the Netflix sci-fi movie Atlas? Then watch these three great films now

A woman looks at an AI interface in Atlas.
Netflix

Netflix’s latest action movie, Atlas, takes on one of the more pressing and existential issues of our time: artificial intelligence. The film, which stars Jennifer Lopez, follows a data analyst with a deep mistrust for AI who discovers that it may be the only way to take down a super soldier who is hell-bent on destroying humanity.

Although AI and movies about it feel more relevant than ever, this is hardly the first time that AI has been featured prominently in this kind of story. Long before we had the kind of real-world AI that we see today, we had movies that tackled the question head-on. We’ve selected three movies that expertly tackle the subject.

The Creator (2023)

The Creator | Official Trailer

One of the most stunning blockbusters of recent years, The Creator is set in a future in which humanity has gone to war with artificial intelligence, and the AI is winning. The film follows one ex-special forces agent who has been tasked with finding someone called The Creator, who has developed a weapon that will destroy humanity and end the war.

When he discovers that the weapon is actually an AI child, he reevaluates everything he believed he knew about the war and the mission he was tasked with completing. The Creator is beautiful to look at, and gets every penny out of its relatively small budget.

The Creator is streaming on Hulu.

Upgrade (2018)

Upgrade Trailer #1 (2018) | Movieclips Trailers

Set in a future where AI can be implanted into your body as a healing mechanism, Upgrade tells the story of a man who is viciously attacked, and then uses his new AI-given abilities to seek revenge. The twists and turns of Upgrade are best experienced unspoiled, but the movie is great both as an action movie and as a warning about assuming that you’re actually in control.

What’s most chilling thing about Upgrade, though, is that it seems to be set in a reality that closely resembles 0ur own. We don’t have chips that can heal us yet, but it’s not hard to imagine a near future where we get there.

Upgrade is streaming on Netflix.

Ex Machina (2015)

Ex Machina | Official Trailer HD | A24

One of the classic AI movies of recent years, Ex Machina tells the story of a developer who is recruited by his company’s founder to test a new piece of AI. The movie is largely composed of a series of conversations between the AI and each of the two men who are trying to test her, but it’s thrilling nonetheless.

Featuring sharp performances from all three of its leads, as well as a great script and a sharp sense of style from Civil War director Alex Garland, Ex Machina punched way above its weight when it was first released in 2015. Since then, its reputation has only continued to improve.

Ex Machina is streaming on Max.

Editors' Recommendations

Joe Allen

Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.

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