Another year has gone by since the last time. First off, thank you to anyone who’s been reading my work throughout. They might not be the best written, but I’ve always tried my best. 2022 has provided us with enough entertaining material so that we may easily return to movie theaters throughout the world. But those who wanted to seek escapism from life’s problems had the opportunity to watch the most recent superhero films, films with Oscar potential, or franchises that had been absent for a while. I watched 110 2022 movies last year, of which I reviewed 86, dividing my time between this site and Film Yap. There were some disappointments I was sure would be great (Don’t Worry Darling, Amsterdam), but the surprises made up for them. Narrowing the list to ten wasn’t that difficult, but discussing why these represent the year well enough for me is always fun.
I caught everything I needed to watch before New Year’s Eve, which is primarily thanks to screeners and the first year of attending early screenings. Most lists probably included Triangle of Sadness, RRR, or Decision to Leave. I considered watching them, but considering their length, I just didn’t have enough time. And like always, this is a subjective list of what I thought were the most enjoyable this year.
Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order): Aftersun, Babylon, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, The Black Phone, Cha Cha Real Smooth, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, The Menu, The Northman, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Scream, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, The Woman King, X
So, without further ado, here are my top ten favorite films of 2022:
Despite solid reviews around it, there’s always a handful of exceptional movies that should’ve done better at the box office. Case in point, where was the love and support for Nicholas Stoller’s Bros? Maybe the world wasn’t ready for a big studio gay romantic comedy when it’s utterly charming in all the right ways. It will have you laughing into the next scene and make us feel confident about who we’ll find in our love life. There’s so much to love out of the chemistry/performances of Billy Eichner and Luke MacFarlane as Bobby and Aaron, two men who don’t find themselves as committed people but will ultimately find each other predictably. Judging by being in an audience of two when I saw it opening weekend, it’s safe to say Bros has the right to be labeled underrated and deserving of more attention. Full Review—> RIGHT HERE
9. ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’
In a year when we had not one but three movies centered around this character, was there any competition to be more impactful than what Netflix and Guillermo del Toro did? And yes, this was leagues better than whatever Disney released recently. Honestly, this version really grew on me more weeks after I had the chance to see it in theaters, and there’s so much to love about 2022’s finest animation: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. We’re touching on a darker re-telling of the famous Carlo Collodi children’s story that’s done with respect and care they become engrossing with each frame. Guillermo del Toro and co-director Mark Gustafson not only brought the most stunning stop-motion animation I’ve ever seen and a pitch-perfect voice cast (David Bradley and Gregory Mann), but it gets unexpectedly pin touching on morality for our beloved character and bringing kindness in the toughest of times. A lot that might be too much for children, yet it’s rewarding and heartfelt by the end. Full Review—> RIGHT HERE
2022 was the year for bringing a positive turn for the horror genre, taking that praise rightfully so with hits such as The Black Phone, Scream, and more. But was anyone prepared for an unexpected and twisted surprise from none other than The Whitest Kids U’ Know alum Zach Cregger? Because that is what Barbarian turned out to be. You don’t know where this story’s heading leading after one of the best setups of the year, turning into the most unpredictable experience that shouldn’t have worked, being nervously funny and scared as shit in seconds. Cregger could be our next Jordan Peele if he goes forward with another film in the same vein as Barbarian. And it wouldn’t have been superb without the outstanding performances of Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, and Justin Long in probably the best work I’ve seen him in. Full Review—> RIGHT HERE
7. ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’
Now, this is why you can never doubt James Cameron, a patient Oscar-winning director who can take 13 years to make the sequel to his most successful film. As someone who still enjoys the first and has never been one to hate on it, Avatar: The Way of Water exceeded my expectations with a sequel worth the trip back to the world of Pandora. I’ve seen it twice now, and while my first viewing was better (mainly because of seeing it in Dolby), it’s still an achievement not to scoff at. There’s so much out of this experience that’s a powerful reminder of why Cameron’s sequels are superior. The visual effects are an unbelievable spectacle, while significantly improving the story and characters to feel like it has a purpose. Even the final act, which is all about being immersed in the action, hit me more forcefully on the second viewing than it had on the first. Like before, Avatar: The Way of Water will have people loving or hating it; I’m definitely part of the former to still cares about this franchise. Full Review—> RIGHT HERE
6. ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’
Rian Johnson and sequels go hand in hand, which means we should show them respect. Just when you think he couldn’t deliver a better murder mystery with the original Knives Out, he managed to go bigger and better with an equally entertaining follow-up Glass Onion. It’s a shame it didn’t get a more prolonged theatrical release from Netflix when it’s another whodunit able to push being smarter and engaging that will have you picking up moments upon repeat viewings. From start to finish, it’s just a blast to have another installment subverting your expectations and delivering some iconic lines. Just like its predecessor, the ensemble is perfect, but Daniel Craig doesn’t disappoint returning as the famous detective, Benoit Blanc. But out of the new cast, it’s Janelle Monáe outstanding turn that still hasn’t left my brain because they’re that amazing. Glass Onion has everything: Wit, twists and turns, Jared Leto’s Kombucha. You have to be the biggest fool not to get behind this. Give me three more of these, and life will be perfect. Full Review—> RIGHT HERE
5. ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’
Somehow, writer-director Martin McDonough can improve his talents as a filmmaker with each film he makes. For his long-awaited reunion with his In Bruges stars, I’d personally believe The Banshees of Inisherin might be my favorite project he’s done. As the story follows one man suddenly putting an end to a friendship in the background of the Irish Civil War sounds slight, but it’s much more compelling than you least expected. It’s a great script that goes forth with the dark humor, but rides a poignant line on what it means to be remembered and it’s one that almost resonated with me in how friendships abruptly fade. Colin Farrell as the empathizing Pádraic and Brendan Gleeson as Colm deliver the best roles of their respective careers, and some shining light upon the lovely Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan in their supporting performances. What can I say about this that hasn’t been said already? I feckin’ loved The Banshees of Inisherin from all corners. Full Review—> RIGHT HERE
4. ‘The Batman’
With tons of superhero content that seemed all over the place for many, no film would ever challenge or dare come close to beating The Batman, the first movie I loved from late February to early March. Live-action movies of the Caped Crusader aren’t new and have been done perfectly before on the big screen, especially by Christopher Nolan. But Matt Reeves made possibly the most realistic portrayal of the hero inside my favorite interpretation of Gotham City. Mixing the fantastic, grounded action with using the detective/ noir thriller angle to its advantage to really make Batman “the world’s greatest detective,” it truly stands out as one of the best live-action films. Robert Pattinson proved the naysayers wrong as the title character still figuring out his place in the city in the early years of putting on the mask and who he’s meant to be. Along with him were memorable performers from Colin Farrell’s The Penguin, Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, and Paul Dano as the year’s best villain, The Riddler. And have you heard Michael Giacchino’s score that wasn’t even shortlisted for the Oscars? Tragic. The Batman doesn’t deserve the hate it’s been getting since its release, and it’s one of the few wins for DC this year. Just can’t wait for the sequel to see what Reeves comes through next in this universe. Full Review—> RIGHT HERE
3. ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’
Is Everything Everywhere All at Once that good? Yes! Traveling into the minds of directors the Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) will be immensely insane for what they had to put this come to life, which they surprisingly accomplished with the weirdest film to come out last spring. This is your answer when describing the best film that was a true definition of a multiverse of madness, as it’s one bizarre, original trip down a rabbit hole to hold your attention. On the surface, it could’ve been very overstuffed with so many elements working against it. But it doesn’t when it balances everything from inventive fight choreography, laugh-out-loud moments, and family drama that’s cathartic. It might be too crazy for a few, but it’s one waiting to be taught in film classes. Michelle Yeoh gives the best performance I’ve seen from her as Evelyn Wong, especially when working with a comeback star in Ke Huy Quan (who should win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) and a showstopper in Stephane Hsu. You can’t possibly hate the best thing A24 ever released when it features hot dogs for fingers and Raccaccoonie. As someone who’s always been fascinated with the concept of multiverses and what my life could’ve been in otherworldly realities, it’s all love here for how absurd everything’s presented. Full Review—> RIGHT HERE
2. ‘The Fabelmans’
Why aren’t we talking more about a new Steven Spielberg movie? From the lackluster promotion and box office during this awards season, nothing is sadder than moviegoers missing out on one of his best in years: The Fabelmans. A semi-autobiography about his life and everything that inspired him to become a filmmaker is the most memorable out of the recent trend of dramas based on directors’ childhoods. The Fabelmans contains that magical Spielberg touch that helps us resonate with this family through their high and lows and captures the love for those who watches and makes films that have shaped our lives. His latest is definitely his most personal, equal parts full of heart and fun across two and a half hours. Topped with unforgettable performances out of Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, and especially Gabriel LaBelle as the teenage stand-in for Spielberg, Sammy (one of the most outstanding breakout performances of the year), The Fabelmans proves he’s not stopping after another win from him that shouldn’t be out of the conversation. If you missed out on checking this out and love film, support something that shouldn’t be overlooked. Full Review—> RIGHT HERE
1. ‘Top Gun: Maverick’
The summer movie season was officially over when it was the first movie worth seeing three times in theaters (the first two times in IMAX). Top Gun: Maverick was the sequel I didn’t think we needed when it was first announced. As someone who doesn’t hold much attachment to the 1986 original, this Joseph Kosinski-directed follow-up blows the first out of the sky literally and figuratively. This goes to the next level that would make the late Tony Scott proud. But why did Top Gun: Maverick hit every mark for me as an old-fashioned summer blockbuster for the ages? For one, this doesn’t copy the formula of the original. There’s a genuine objection to this mission with stakes, and for a legacy sequel, it didn’t need to rely heavily on nostalgia to bring fans back in as it perfectly stands on its own. Tom Cruise’s return as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell makes for one of his best performances, proving everyone should show him the respect he deserves. Bring back the legend who pushes the limit sometimes but knows the risk in teaching his Top Gun graduates, hoping to bring them home when it’s done, especially when building back this relationship with Goose’s son, Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, played by Miles Teller.
Every time I think about it, I immediately want to watch it over and over again. This explains why major sequels like this will always find a way to entertain that is on par with any superhero movie, and it’s what I’ve been missing from the theater experience for the previous two years. Everything stayed with me for months after still thinking about it and why it made over a billion dollars (Cruise’s highest-grossing film to date): The practical aerial flight sequences to put us right with the action, Claudio Miranda’s cinematography, the editing, the sound design, the emotional investment in the story, the best score I’ve listened to all year by Harold Faltermeyer, Lady Gaga (“Hold My Hand” is the best song of the year btw), Hans Zimmer, and Lorne Balfe, and a thrilling third act to cap it all off. For a film that had to be pushed back multiple times, we’re lucky to get something this rewarding and crowd-pleasing finally. If you were to tell me a couple of years ago this would be better than any MCU entry, let alone be in the conversation for a worthy Best Picture nomination, I’d say you’re crazy. More action films need to follow in the footsteps of this. Not only is Top Gun: Maverick the best film of 2022 or one of the greatest sequels ever made, but it quickly became one of my all-time favorite films ever. Full Review—> RIGHT HERE
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