Next year Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is positioned as a seminal temporal experience. It’s fresh out of Marvel’s time travel story, Loki. However, time travel is also notorious for being confusing, and time travel movies can be mind-blowing cinematic epics.
The logic of time travel is often inconsistent. While this is to be expected between movies, it can also happen during the runtime of a movie. While no film is free from logical errors, some films seem easier to take at face value.
ten Avengers: Endgame (2014)
Avengers: Endgame is not just a great time travel film, but one of the greatest films of the period. It’s a conclusion to the MCU’s multi-part saga, and it’s pretty complicated on its own. He also chose one of the more complex time travel variations of the multiverse theory. However, the film actually uses time travel in a fairly simple way.
The film centers on a “time puzzle” where the characters travel through time to steal items from the past, stealing duplicates instead to avoid paradoxes. It worked for most audiences because besides a reveal at the end, most audiences were able to accept it easily. It’s not the easiest movie to follow in general, but there are also more complex time travel movies out there that End of Game.
9 Hour After Hour (1979)
HG Wells is known for his classic science fiction novels, which include The time machine. The film hour after hour (and his subsequent TV show) sees Wells using a time machine to entertain his dinner guests. He takes them back in time to look for Jack the Ripper and accidentally causes the murders. What follows is a delightful chase through time.
The time machine in question has certain mechanics that make it a little complicated. Most notable is an “anti-passback key” that locks it to where it is in time. Other than that, though, the film is mostly a lighthearted play through different eras. If paradoxes are evoked, the film remains above all joyful in its approach to time travel.
8 The Time Machine (1960)
Being the modern codifier of time travel, one would expect The time machine to have a mere incarnation of it. The ’60s adaptation of the HG Wells classic handles it pretty well. Rod Taylor and Alan Young star in this slow-paced film that has special effects that are still impressive by modern standards.
Similar to hour after hour, this adaptation casts Wells as the time traveler, though it’s only a name change. Wells demonstrates a small-scale model, then a larger time machine. The time machine’s destinations in this film are almost exclusively in the future. As such, it’s more like a teleporter and doesn’t have to worry about paradoxes.
seven Idiocracy (2006)
One of the least complicated ways to travel through time is to time travel. It avoids any paradoxical idiocy common in the genre. Speaking of idiocy, it’s the central theme of the cult film Idiocracy. The film begins with protagonist Joe and female lead Rita being cryogenically frozen.
The protagonists wake up five hundred years in the future when the world has become significantly below average in intelligence. The plot centers around the protagonists looking for a way to go back in time, but no such way exists. The time travel in this film is extremely simple and makes it easy for the viewer to point out.
6 Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is inspired by one of the titans of the genre, Doctor Who. Doctor Who is known for playing fast and free with its rules and Bill and Ted is no different. Contrary to Doctor Who, Bill and Ted never tries to explain itself beyond temporal planning. Sequels use time more often, but this premiere uses it mostly for set pieces.
Bill and Ted are given their time machine by Rufus, who wants them to use it to complete their history report. This leads to Bill and Ted meeting tons of fun historical figures. They are brought to modern times, the consequences of which are never really understood. This is to the benefit of the film, as it keeps the tone fun and light.
5 Frequency (2000)
Later turning into a TV show, Frequency is an underrated time travel movie. The film stars John Caviezel as a detective and Dennis Quaid as his late father, Frank. On the anniversary of his father’s death, he discovers a crossover radio frequency that allows him to talk to his father in the past. Talking to his father changes the future.
The time travel aspect of this film is believable due to the small number of variables involved. While changes to the present can sometimes be drastic, changes to the timeline generally follow simple logic. Plus, since there’s no physical time-traveling matter, it’s kept simple even when an elaborate murder mystery forms.
4 About Time (2013)
About time is somewhat controversial as a romantic comedy, but where it shines is its use of time travel. It has a very relatable setup. The main male protagonist uses time travel to fix his mistakes in a relationship. Since this movie is not for sci-fi fans, it also features a simpler method of time travel.
Each member of protagonist Tim’s family has the ability to travel at any point in their lives. It’s much more magical than technological, and since it’s personal, it never really causes big personal problems. In fact, in the film’s narrative, it’s a metaphor for dependency on parents and growing into maturity, which is what Tim does at the end of the story.
3 Back to the Future (1985)
As far as time travel movies go, the original Back to the future is one of the most beloved. While the two sequels to the unintentional trilogy, its comics, video games, and other media have all their fans, it’s the first that’s the hub of time travel fiction. The film only involves one big trip down memory lane. When the hero returns to the future, the changes stem a lot from past events.
The concept is immediately obvious to those watching and doesn’t require a lot of long exposures. The only real thing that prevents BTTF to be the most accessible is the grandfather paradox that Marty narrowly avoids by succeeding, which has baffled some casual viewers for decades.
2 Groundhog Day (1993)
Time loops are perhaps one of the most relevant forms of time travel. Everyone can relate to the horror of being caught up in a predictable routine. This is what made the 90s comedy a classic groundhog day one of the best time travel movies. While a lot of movies try to be like groundhog dayvery few are willing to copy its simple approach to time travel.
Commonly, groundhog day never explains why the main protagonist, Phil, is trapped in the loop. There was an explanation in an early draft, but it was omitted during filming. It worked well, because despite the producers’ opinions, the lack of explanation kept the loop exciting and mysterious. The lack of explanation actually made it easier for most audiences to understand.
1 The Terminator (1984)
When it comes to closing a time travel plot without lingering plot threads, the original terminator succeeds. While the sequel might be a better movie, the original uses time travel neatly and cleverly. Sarah Connor will have a child who will become a major enemy of the evil AI Skynet in the future. Skynet sends an assassin back in time to kill her and secure her dominance.
Logic dictates that shouldn’t work because her child is alive in the future. However, the audience is kept on their toes by Kyle Reese, a man from the future sent to protect Sarah. However, it is later revealed that he was returned to father Sarah’s child and was fired by the child to keep the timeline consistent. At the end of the first film, the Terminator’s time travel ends in an easily understandable way.
NEXT: Terminator Movies, Ranked From Worst To Best, According To Ranker
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