Thursday 29 December 2022

2022 in Review: Top 10 Movies

2022 marked another solid year for movies as the movie industry continued its recovery from the devastating effects of the 2020 pandemic. There were still a few delays sprinkled throughout the year, mainly from Warner Bros. and their planned slate of DC movies, as we watched as Shazam: Fury of the Gods, The Flash, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom were once again moved, this time into 2023.

But looking back at my most anticipated movies list from earlier in the year, I am surprised by how many of those movies turned out to be either financial or critical disappointments. I was of course always dubious about the viability of the likes of Morbius, but I was crushed when others like Lightyear and Black Adam had failed to take flight. The year did still have its fair share of surprises though, a few of which have made it into my Top 10.

10. The Woman King

Never judge a book by its cover, or in this case, a film by its trailers. At least that was the lesson I'd learnt when I'd watched The Woman King and discovered a film that had a lot more to say than it originally let on. A lot of my love for the movie is due to its excellent characterization and heartfelt narrative. So you can imagine how perplexed I was to discover that much of the discourse surrounding the film at the time of its release focused solely on the Dahomey and their historical role as slavers. But anyone who actually bothered to watch the film would have seen that those aspects were tackled with all the care and attention-to-detail such a delicate subject matter deserves.

9. RRR

In a year that was full of pleasant surprises, RRR was one of the bigger ones. The Tollywood movie is as ambitious as they come, currently ranking as the most expensive Indian film ever made. And all that ambition shows in the form of its incredible production design and stunning visual effects, both of which give some of Hollywood's best a run for their money. But it is actually its endlessly engaging story, coupled with its ridiculously over-the-top stunts, that make it a must-see movie. This is Tollywood at its most excessive and one of those movies you simply have to see for yourself.

8. Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

There were a total of three Pinocchio adaptations released in 2022 but only one of them is worthy of inclusion in any year-end list. That is of course Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio, a stop-motion animated film that recently released on Netflix following a limited theatrical run. The film boasts del Toro's signature flair for striking visuals and dark subject matters while still managing to retain a lot of the heart found in the source material. I predict we can expect some Oscar love for this version of the beloved classic next year but only time will tell.

7. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was one of my most anticipated films heading into 2022, so it should come as no surprise to find it on my list of Top 10 Movies. Following in the wake of last year's Spider-Man: No Way Home, expectations for this one were sky-high. And the movie didn't disappoint, proving that the MCU still has room for directors with singular visions and signature styles. The sequel saw Scott Derrickson handing over directorial duties to Sam Raimi of Evil Dead fame, following creative differences. Apparently, he'd been gunning to make an even darker version of the film. And in a way, a part of me wonders what that other version of the film would've looked like, even though I'm perfectly happy with the one we got.

6. The Banshees of Inisherin

Colin Farrel reunites with Brendan Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin after they'd starred opposite one another in 2008's In Bruges. Their latest film is once again helmed by Martin McDonagh and centers upon the growing rift between two men when one of them suddenly decides to end their lifelong friendship. It almost feels wrong to call the movie a comedy at all, since it deals with heavy subject matter like depression, but I don't believe I'd laughed harder during any other film this past year than I did while watching this one.

5. Top Gun: Maverick

I must confess that I didn't exactly have much faith or interest in Top Gun: Maverick when it was originally announced, primarily because I felt it was coming too long after the 1986 original that helped make Tom Cruise a household name. The rest is history now of course as the movie had not only shattered my expectations but also gone on to become the Hollywood star's most successful film to date, as it rose to the very top of the 2022 box office. Most of that was down to how well it resonated with moviegoers of all ages with genuine thrills and some truly breathtaking aerial sequences.

4. The Northman

The Northman was another film that wasn't particularly high on my list of most anticipated movies for 2022. But you can consider me a convert to this artsy historical epic after bearing witness to its splendor and majesty. Directed by Robert Eggers, the film serves as a retelling of the legend of Amleth, a story that had itself served as the basis for William Shakespeare's Hamlet. It is a bloody revenge-fueled story about a young Viking prince on a journey to right the wrongs that befell his family, with an acting ensemble that includes Alexander Skarsgård and Anya Taylor-Joy.

3. The Batman

Much like 2019's Joker, The Batman exists outside of the established DCEU, giving director Matt Reeves a totally blank canvas on which to paint his masterpiece. And so he'd decided to go back to the Caped Crusaders detective roots for his iteration of the character, resulting in a film that owes as much to film noir as it does the classic comics that helped establish Batman as the World's Greatest Detective. The film felt like it had a lot to prove, especially coming in the wake of Christopher Nolan's brilliant Dark Knight trilogy, and it more than manages to do so in its almost three hours of length.

2. Avatar: The Way of Water

Speaking of sequels that took too long to release, Avatar: The Way of Water had garnered a lot of notoriety over the years. This was following several delays and what appeared to be ballooning production costs. But as we all should have learnt by now, never bet against James Cameron, because the finished product more than justifies all the time it spent cooking in the oven. He once again raises the bar for 3D and special effects, but even more significantly, he has crafted a story with enough thrills and emotional beats to resonate with moviegoers. Plus the film has already surpassed $1 billion at the global box office, after just two weeks in theaters, so its overall financial prospects are looking rather promising if you ask me.

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once

What else can I say about Everything Everywhere All At Once that I didn't already say in my review of the film? I could perhaps point out how it has since gone on to become the most successful film in A24's entire slate. Or maybe say something about how the film had stayed in my mind many weeks after my initial viewing. For a film that defies classification, what it manages to accomplish is nothing short of remarkable. It has shown that you don't need a massive budget to make a competent science fiction film or one that perfectly captures our existential crisis as we ponder our place in the vastness of the cosmos. The film's greatest accomplishment though is how it does all that without forgetting to still tell an engaging story filled with action, gags, and heart.


  1. I liked The Batman and Dr. Strange. Maverick was OK. I think The Northman is on Amazon Prime so I have to watch that at some point. Everything Everywhere I think went to Showtime, which I don't have, so I have to rent it somewhere but I do want to see it.

    1. You should definitely try to see Everything Everywhere All at Once because it was amazing. 😁 The Northman as well. Glad to hear that you liked both The Batman and Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness though.