January 27, 2023

Steve takes a walk down memory lane to present his best movies of 2022. But how many make your hit list? 

I didn’t start out the year thinking that 2022 was going to be a great year for movies. But boy was I wrong! I spent a lot of my free time in the theaters this year and saw a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t normally be interested in watching. While there were a few out there that caused me to nearly walk out of the theater, there were plenty of surprises. Here is a list of my 10 favorites from the year.

10 – The Northman

This Robert Eggers-directed historical drama is based on the legend of a Viking prince that is hell-bent on avenging his fallen father. Often Shakespearian in tone and theme, I enjoy a good historical drama/biopic type movie. And this one was one of those pleasant surprises of the year. Based on the trailer, I didn’t have high expectations for the movie. But the film was interesting enough to cause me to read up on the background of the main character. If you are a history buff or a fan of Norse mythology, this is probably right up your alley.

THE NORTHMAN
Alexander Skarsgård stars as Amleth in director Robert Eggers’ Viking epic THE NORTHMAN, a Focus Features release.
Credit: Aidan Monaghan / © 2022 Focus Features, LLC

9 – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Even though this film is on my favorites of the year list, I do have some criticisms about it. First, I liked the first Doctor Strange more than this one. I also didn’t really care for the horror aspect that director Sam Raimi gave it. Personally, I tend to think that, apart from the first Spider-Man movie, Raimi needs to stay away from superhero films. It’s really not his idiom in my opinion. Despite that, the film was entertaining overall.

I enjoyed the performance of Xochiti Gomez as America Chavez. And I felt like she played a great counterpart for Dr. Strange in the film. While I enjoyed the appearance with Illuminati folks in Multiverse of Madness, I did not particularly enjoy how they were treated in the film. Just my own personal gripe though I think. I also enjoyed the eventual redemptive ending that Wanda received (although there were some plot holes regarding her motivation in my opinion).

(L-R): Rachel McAdams as Dr. Christine Palmer, Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange, and Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez in Marvel Studios’ DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

8 – Thor: Love and Thunder

Taika Waititi returns to direct the sequel to his 2017 entry into the MCU, Thor: Ragnarok. This one is another Marvel movie that, while I found quite enjoyable overall, I have a small criticism about it. I am not sure whether or not I’m in the minority but I’m not really a huge fan of the goofy tone that the Thor films have taken. And that is my biggest gripe about this one.

That being said, the story itself was enjoyable to watch. I really liked how Waititi pulled from the Mighty Thor storyline with Jane Foster’s character. After you are able to step outside the silliness of the film that often occurs, the overall story was fascinating.

(L-R): Natalie Portman as Mighty Thor and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Marvel Studios’ THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER. Photo by Jasin Boland. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

7 – Violent Night

Another pleasant surprise, Tommy Wirkola-directed Christmas-themed action/comedy stars David Harbour as Santa Claus. It is the latest release of this film and tells the story of a family that is invaded by professional thieves on Christmas Eve. And how Santa is forced into helping the family repel the invaders. With hints of both Die Hard and Home Alone, I cannot recommend this film enough.

It was fun and hilarious and Harbour was the perfect casting as “jolly” old St. Nick. It presents an interesting take on the character’s origin. And while on the surface, it is a straight-up action/comedy film, it also weaves a tale of redemption that I think people will find enjoyable.

Violet Night
David Harbour in Violent Night, directed by Tommy Wirkola.

6 – Black Adam

I’m a big fan of the Shazam character so I had been waiting on this movie for a while. I was eagerly anticipating how the tale of Shazam’s long-time nemesis was going to be told. And how Dwayne Johnson would portray him. A few years ago, the comics took the character of Black Adam and brought him from supervillain to more of an anti-hero type role. And this is the approach that director Jaume Collet-Serra and the writers took with this one.

I thoroughly enjoyed the appearance of the Justice Society in this film. And how they were portrayed somewhat as the antagonist during their first encounters with the titular character. Whether or not Black Adam (or Shazam for that matter) is going to continue in the new DC movie universe with James Gunn at the helm remains to be seen. But based on this film, I certainly hope that we get to see another outing with Johnson in the role.

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam
DWAYNE JOHNSON as Black Adam in New Line Cinema’s action adventure “BLACK ADAM,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

5 – Elvis

I love music. I love a good biopic in general. Put them together and you get a great biopic that tells the story of the famed entertainer from the perspective of his longtime manager, Colonel Tom Parker. It was directed by Baz Luhrmann. I felt like Luhrmann told a good story with this film. He tells the side of the story that I don’t think a lot of people knew about and there were even bits of the story that I didn’t previously know about the king of rock ‘n’ roll. I especially loved the casting. Austin Butler and Tom Hanks both had amazing performances in their roles.

(L-r) AUSTIN BUTLER as Elvis and OLIVIA DEJONGE as Priscilla in Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “ELVIS,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

4 – Bullet Train

This one was another pleasant surprise of 2022. When I had originally seen the trailer for this film, I had no intention of watching it. But after several viewings of the trailer (having gone to so many movies this year), the idea of the film eventually grew on me. While I did not read the novel that it was based on (2010 Kotaro Isaka written by Maria Beetle) I did read some background on the book. And I started to think that the movie sounded like an interesting idea and was worth checking out.

It was directed by David Leitch and included a cast of folks such as Brad Pitt, Joey King, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Shannon, and Sandra Bullock, among others that gave us great performances. Bullet Train was a fun ride (pun intended) with lots of action mixed with humor.

Bullet Train
Brad Pitt stars in Bullet Train.

3 – Lightyear

I really love when I go into a movie with low expectations and get something incredibly entertaining. This spin-off of the Toy Story franchise focuses on the titular character was directed by Angus MacLane and starred the voice talents of Chris Evans (in the place of Tim Allen), Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, and James Brolin, among others. The absence of Allen in the role of Lightyear, which I originally thought was going to hurt the film, was not a detriment at all. Evans is amazing in the role.

One of my favorite characters was the robotic cat, Sox. I especially liked the interactions between Buzz and the recruits that he must team up with in order to defeat Zurg. Speaking of Zurg, talk about an unexpected twist! Lightyear is fun for the whole family. And whether you are a fan of the Toy Story franchise or not, I can’t recommend this film highly enough.

TO INFINITY… — Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear” is an all-new, original feature film that presents the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear (voice of Chris Evans)—the hero who inspired the toy—introducing the legendary Space Ranger who would win generations of fans. Prepare to blast off for a thrilling adventure that will take you “To infinity… and beyond.” Directed by Angus MacLane (co-director “Finding Dory”) and produced by Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot”), the sci-fi action-adventure releases on June 17, 2022. © 2021 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

2 – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

This is another film that I didn’t have high expectations for. How are they going to do this with Chadwick? Why are they using Namor as the antagonist? Oh good lord, they’re putting the wings on his feet? Who is going to wind up taking on the mantle of the Black Panther? All questions that came up before having ever seen a trailer and during the first viewings of the trailers. While I did not enjoy this film as much as the first one, this sequel was fantastic! Ryan Coogler returned to direct this follow-up to the 2018 original film and it was not hard to see his mark on it.

Namor turned out to be an amazing antagonist and Tenoch Huerta Mejia in the role was perfect. I really liked the retelling of the origin of Namor and how the creator’s incorporated Mayan mythology into it. I also really liked how we got to see more of M’Baku (leader of the Jabari tribe) in this one. The acting was beautiful, especially that of Letitia Wright as Shuri and Danai Gurira as Okoye. Also, when are we going to be more Ironheart?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
A scene from Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

1 – The Batman

I’m not even sure where to begin with this one. When it was first announced that Matt Reeves was taking over for what originally was supposed to be another film with Ben Affleck as the Bat turned into something completely different. I was especially not fond of the idea of Robert Pattinson in the role. But then again, I can say the same thing about hearing that Affleck would be playing the role years prior. And he turned out to be my favorite live-action Batman actor. Anyway, my reservations about this film were completely off base because this movie was absolutely amazing in every way.

The story was amazing! The acting was amazing! And the visuals were amazing! What about this movie wasn’t great? I have no idea. I loved that we were getting the story of a Batman that was new without it being an origin movie. And I loved the choice of antagonist. Riddler is one of my favorites in his rogue’s gallery. And the different take on the character in this one, played by Paul Dano was incredible.

And back to acting in general. Everybody in the film played their role so incredibly well. A couple of the highlight performances for me included Andy Serkis as Alfred (so amazing), Jeffrey Wright as Gordon, and John Turturro as Carmine Falcone (chilling and creepy). And that Batmobile! I can’t wait for a sequel to this one.

ROBERT PATTINSON as Batman in Warner Bros. Pictures’ action adventure “THE BATMAN,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Did any of your best movies of the year make my countdown? Sound off below and share your favorites with us. We’d love to hear from you.

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