Thinking back, I don't honestly recall where or how the question came about, but I believe there were a group of us debating SciFi's earliest influences. Answers were largely dependent upon each person's age -- as humans, we tend to often forget that things happened well before our time in this plane of existence -- but a few peeps threw out some early films and books and debated the merits of Jules Verne versus H. G. Wells. The point that I raised on more than one occasion was that it honestly wasn't until the emergence of SciFi-themed media -- print and, more likely, film -- that gadget and widgets and robots truly lit a fire collectively; at this point, folks could truly 'see' what Science Fiction looked like, and I've no doubt that these fledgling images -- however crudely captured or conceived -- brought more folks into the realm that we so dearly appreciate 'round these parts.
And, yes, one of the very earliest feature films to explore the cinematic potential of Science Fiction was Fritz Lang's Metropolis.
As one who just didn't quite 'get into' silent films, I honestly held off on seeing this one for quite some time. I'd seen snippets of it, mostly from my college-level film classes, and I was definitely interested in seeing; having never chanced upon a recommended silent film that I appreciated as much as the person who originally recommended said film to me kept me from it. When I did see it, I was mostly captivated with it: you really have to be patient with the story despite the strong visuals as it does take some time to fully appreciate what's going on in the tale. This isn't to say that it's hard to follow in any measure; it isn't. Rather, I think the conventions of silent films always require a greater investment by the viewer -- you're reading words normally spoken, and I've always found that challenging as I invest so much in 'how' things are said as opposed to what the words might be.
In any event, I stumbled across an article discussing Metropolis's enduring strengths this morning, and I thought it revelant to share. You can access the piece at ScreenRant right here.
As always, thanks for reading ... and live long and prosper!