The No. 1 movie on Netflix is a modern sci-fi classic — and you should watch it now

Someone holding a remote pointed at a TV with the Netflix logo on it
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Sometimes Netflix brings in a movie we had no idea we needed to see. And such is the case for the current film at the top of the charts. Yes, it may feel like Netflix (which its fair share of entries in our list of the new movies and shows to watch in April) has been all bad news lately, what with the cancelation of Archive 81 after only one season,  but we're plenty amped to boot up Netflix tonight.

Right now, Blade Runner 2049 sits at the No. 2 spot in the Top 10 in the U.S. Today list, second only to Bridgerton (and right in front of Netflix hits Is It Cake?, Inventing Anna and The Adam Project). This high ranking alone is worth some applause, but it's interesting to see that a licensed film (and not a Netflix Original) can chart as high as the current big hits. 

Blade Runner 2049 is the top movie in the U.S. right now

(Image credit: Netflix)

As noted in our New on Netflix round-up, Blade Runner 2049 arrived on Saturday, March 26, right after Bridgerton season 2 debuted. The film has an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes (with a Certified Fresh sticker), and it was directed by Dune mastermind Denis Villeneuve. If that's not enough to get you to hit play, allow me to elaborate.

Why you should watch Blade Runner 2049 on Netflix

A giant hologram of Ana de Armas, as Joi, points at Ryan Gosling, as K

(Image credit: Warner Bros Films)

First off, we need to talk about Blade Runner 2049's arresting visuals. While Villeneuve's Dune had a rather dour color palette, this film is the exact opposite. 

Not only does it feature a neon-soaked cityscape that will look amazing on a big screen at home, but the abandoned buildings that Ryan Gosling's K goes to are situated in gorgeous states of despair and destruction.

Speaking of K, let's go over a spoiler-free version of his story. Gosling is playing a replicant — the bioengineered humanoids of the Blade Runner films — who just happens to stumble into a mystery that could break the peace/truce of sorts between humans and replicants. His boss Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright in another excellent performance) is concerned what he'll reveal, and along the way, K pulls in a number of interesting characters.

One of the best is Sapper Morton (played by Dave Bautista), an aging replicant whose soul is never going to be at peace. There's also Mariette (Mackenzie Davis), who has an amazing scene with K and a character called Joi (Ana de Armas), and I wouldn't dare spoil that for you.

But the true brilliance of Blade Runner 2049 comes from both Gosling on his own — his expressions of grief are tremendous — and when he finally encounters Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). The two play off of each other amazingly, and show a sort of evolution from the past to the present. 

Since Netflix loses big licensed films all the time — Pan's Labyrinth seems to come and go at a flittering pace — I'm going to make a point of watching Blade Runner on Netflix ASAP.

Want more sci-fi? In April, Pluto TV is making one of the biggest sci-fi shows ever free to watch — with multiple seasons of multiple shows and multiple movies. As for the next big thing to watch? We've got all the WWE WrestleMania 38 live stream details, including the full card for both nights, start times (including kickoff shows), our predictions and the matches we're most excited about. Looking for a jolt of YA sci-fi fun? We've got all the details on how to watch Moonshot online.

In other streaming news, a major Roku upgrade is about to fix one of the worst things about streaming — but we've got questions about who's getting it and how it's going to be implemented. Also, Disney Plus is editing bloody violence out of a surprising Marvel show — one that's been out for a year. We think there's a way to make it make sense, but it's still confusing. All the Potter fans out there will probably be excited to hear the very positive first reactions to Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.