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Best Alien Invasion Movies, Ranked

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The possibility of life beyond Earth has always fascinated the common man. Even celebrities have gotten on board. Thankfully, cinema allows us to explore the thrilling notion and turn our imagination into a “reality.” It’s no wonder, then, that some of the best films of all time are centered around alien life forms. The end results often blend some of the broader film genres, collectively featuring elements of comedy, horror and drama — in addition to science fiction, of course. They can also shed light on real-life events and tragedies: Think about Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds release following 9/11. It’s a tough subgenre top narrow down, but see below for our top 5 of the best alien invasion films of all time.

Sure, there was War of the Worlds and Oblivion, but Edge of Tomorrow takes the cake when it comes to alien invasion flicks starring Tom Cruise. Based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s Manga All You Need Is Kill, Cruise continues his blockbuster pursuits in an Emily Blunt-starring war zone. The English setting, featuring American actors, is a refreshing change of pace for such a massive Hollywood movie. Fans have advocated for a sequel for the surprise-hit film, which follows a man Cage (Cruise) who receives the alien’s ability to travel back to the beginning of the day every time he dies. He seeks out the help of a special forces fighter who formally had the same power. Together, they live the same day over and over again in an attempt to conquer the alien species.

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Sure, the MCU may have formally kicked off with 2008’s Iron Man, but The Avengers still feels like it holds the universe’s official genesis. The beloved superhero characters have grown immensely since their first introductions to each other. In the groundbreaking 2012 film, they must come together and learn to fight as a team if they’re going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity. The Avengers spawned arguably superior sequels, but this introductory effort easily made our top 5 when it comes to alien invasion-centered masterpieces.

“I think Joss [Whedon] loves Loki because he loves complexity and the great thing about Loki is that there is almost no ceiling to his complexity as a character,” Tom Hiddleston once told Collider about his Loki character, who is responsible for bringing the aliens to Earth in The Avengers. “He is a shape shifter, he’s intelligent, and he has strategic gifts but he also has reservoirs of pain. I think when you’ve got so much color and heroism in a film like The Avengers it needs to be balanced by a degree of pain, I think.”

Centered on a diverse group of people who assemble in the Nevada desert in the aftermath of a worldwide attack by destructive aliens, 1996’s blockbuster sci-fi action flick Independence Day stars Will Smith, Bill Pullman, and Jeff Goldblum as mankind’s last hope. Smith memorably portrays family-man Captain Steven Hiller, a Marine pilot who rises to action to protect his beloved planet from the menacing extraterrestrials. Independence Day went on to become the second highest-grossing film in history at the time and was an unexpected star-making role for Smith, certifying him as a prime box office draw and cementing his movie star status.

“I just think it would be arrogant of us to think that humankind is the only ‘kind’ that exists in the entire universe. How is that possible? But I’m a conspiracy junkie, though, so I believe all that stuff,” Smith once told ET upon the film’s release. “You kind of have to go to that next level inside yourself to try to figure out, ‘How would you actually react if the world was coming to the end?'”

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