2022 has been another fantastic year for movies. Whether it was the over-the-top insanity of Bullet Train or the grounded emotions of The Banshees of Inisherin, this year had something to offer every moviegoer. However, these were my personal ten favorite movies of the year.
Honorable Mentions: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, The Fabelmans, Smile, Violent Night, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, DC League of Super-Pets, Cha Cha Real Smooth, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.
10. The Adam Project
One of the year’s most underrated films is The Adam Project, a Netflix sci-fi action-adventure starring Ryan Reynolds as a fighter pilot who time travels to the past and teams up with his former self to save the future. This loving tribute to Amblin Entertainment films is delightfully Spielbergian, matching the high-octane action sequences with a healthy amount of emotional drama. Walker Scobell is a revelation as he nails his portrayal of a younger Reynolds, and it is a shame this blockbuster from the star and director of last year’s Free Guy flew so far under the radar.
Perhaps the best romantic comedy of the decade, Bros is a delight from start to finish. It takes the rom-com genre tropes we’re familiar with and depicts them with a beautifully unique sense of humor. Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane are a mismatch made in heaven as two commitment-phobic men awkwardly beginning a relationship with each other. Universal Pictures distributed one of the first rom-coms with an openly LGBTQ+ cast to underwhelming box office results, but don’t let that stop you from watching this movie that will make you belly laugh and hit you in the feels.
8. The Good Nurse
The chilling true story of a nurse who discovers her colleague is responsible for many mysterious patient deaths is brought to life in Netflix’s The Good Nurse. Jessica Chastain plays Amy Loughren to perfection in a restrained, naturalistic performance where she vanishes in the role. The friendship between her and Charles Cullen (Eddie Redmayne) is heartwarming, making the second half of the movie so brutal as the tension builds. Nevertheless, it’s gripping from start to finish and doesn’t waste a minute.
7. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
An Oscar-winning cinematic auteur brings a tale as old as time to life through stop-motion. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is easily the best adaptation of the classic story to come out this year. He and co-director Mark Gustafson assemble a world-class voice cast and animation team to tell the story of a wooden boy coming to life, with gorgeous craftsmanship behind every frame of the picture. This movie embraces the dark nature of this fairy tale and sets it in fascist Italy. The screenplay is superb, and the work that went into bringing this story to the big screen is marvelous.
6. The Batman
The greatest superhero movie of the year is The Batman, a dark, gritty crime thriller from Matt Reeves that tells a brand new story with decades-old comic book characters. This is a grand, 3-hour epic told to perfection, with Paul Dano and Colin Ferrell giving incredible villainous performances and Robert Pattinson anchoring it all in his fresh take on the character of Bruce Wayne. Complete with Greig Fraser’s beautiful cinematography and Michael Giacchino’s hard-hitting music, there is not a single weak link in this phenomenal DC film.
5. Avatar: The Way of Water
It took 13 years for James Cameron to take us back to Pandora, and it was well worth the wait. Breathtaking, visually dazzling, and stunning from start to finish, Avatar: The Way of Water is proof that years of hard work can pay off. A return to the iconic moon of the Na’vi offers everything audiences can hope for from a blockbuster of this size, with terrific underwater motion capture work. The film’s final hour is Cameron in classic fashion, giving you the non-stop thrills he once gave in Titanic and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. He has mastered the art of the blockbuster to a tee, combining the action with the emotional stakes of every character.
4. Decision to Leave
Park Chan-wook operates on another level. He slowly and carefully crafts Decision to Leave, a seductive, romantic crime thriller filled with twists and turns. The film follows a detective investigating the death of a man while becoming unexpectedly attracted to the man’s wife. The tension
between every character, Chan-wook’s mastery of the cinematic visual language, and the fantastic performances bring an ambitious concept to life. The second half of the film takes our existing knowledge and puts everything on its head, leading to an unpredictable film that you won’t be able to look away from, all while telling a devastating love story.
To call RRR an excellent, uproarious time at the movies would be an understatement. This Indian film about two revolutionaries from opposing sides who become best friends blends an incredible amount of genres: action, comedy, drama, history, musical, dance, and everything in between. Of course, the friendship between the two main characters is a significant part of what makes this movie work, but it’s mind-blowing how much this movie commits to the insane action set pieces. Motorcycles, horses, bows and arrows, animals leaping from cages, and a lot of explosions are just the tip of the iceberg of what this endlessly entertaining movie offers. It balances the line between lighthearted and dark while giving you a remarkable experience.
2. Top Gun: Maverick
Tom Cruise already solidified himself as one of the greatest action heroes of all time with the Mission: Impossible franchise. However, he cannot seem to get enough of outdoing himself as he brings back a character he hasn’t played since 1986 with Top Gun: Maverick. This movie is a masterclass in action cinema, giving you an absurd amount of practical flying sequences. However, what makes this movie work is the tear-jerking emotional stakes between the characters built on the ground, which makes the breathtaking aerial action that much more thrilling. This movie is a lean, mean action machine where the stakes build and build in intensity, pulling you toward the edge of your seat in a finale where you will gasp and cheer.
1. Everything Everywhere All at Once
My favorite movie of 2022 may be one that I share with many. Everything Everywhere All at Once is everything a movie can be and should be. It offers exciting martial arts sequences and rich themes about nihilism and existentialism, and it delivers on every emotional aspect you can think of. This is a love story between an aging married couple that has lost their way, a mother-daughter tale between two culturally different characters, and a woman’s complex relationship with her father. Everything is shown through an absurdly hilarious multiversal premise depicting Asian-American identity to perfection and the performance of the year from Michelle Yeoh. Ke Huy Quan’s groundbreaking return to the big screen and Stephanie Hsu’s ridiculously charismatic performance make this the best movie of 2022, as it will make you laugh, sob, and look at life through a pair of googly eyes.