Annlyel takes a retrospective look back at the best films of 2022 to compile her best of the best. But how many of your favorites make the list?
It’s been quite a year of movies. Stop-motion animation was brought back to the spotlight with stunning brilliance in Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. Action soared to new heights with Top Gun: Maverick. We were reminded how emotional a cinematic experience can be with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Rian Johnson’s Knives Out series is the most exciting franchise since the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And James Cameron showed who’s still the king of visual effects with Avatar: The Way of Water. But of these exciting movies, which films of 2022 made my top 10? Let’s find out.
10. The Batman
It’s very hard to make a great Batman movie. Christopher Nolan, one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, managed to make an incredible trilogy for the Dark Knight that has become the pinnacle of Batman supremacy. In short, Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson had a lot to prove and boy did they put worries to rest.
From the opening scene to the last, Matt Reeves transports us to a Gotham that is dark, lawless, dank, and corrupted; the perfect setting for a certain bat-suit-wearing vigilante. There’s never a dull moment in this three-hour film that utilizes every minute for storytelling and an eye-widening spectacle. And how can we forget Zoe Kravitz’s Selina Kyle who steals the show whenever she’s in a scene? Her story alongside Bruce Wayne’s puts them down similar paths of revenge and rebirth. Batman and Catwoman have always had a very interesting dynamic and it’s nice to see Matt Reeves embrace that so eloquently.
I knew The Batman had a chance to be a good movie but I’m thrilled to discover it’s a great movie. I can’t wait to eventually see the sequel.
9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Witty, funny, filled with cameos, and brimming with personality, Rian Johnson’s highly-anticipated sequel to his whodunnit smash hit is nothing short of a good time. Grab some friends, prepare a platter of hor d’ oeuvres and some drinks, and get ready to be taken on a rollercoaster ride of enjoyment with a cast that is undoubtedly one of the best assembled this year. Rian Johnson has beaten the sequel curse, now I need him to make a third film asap.
I was expecting Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio to be good, I wasn’t expecting it to utterly wreck me. His brilliance to take a classic tale people know and adding tiny new additions to the story to make it all the more heartbreaking and hopeful was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen from a remake. This isn’t just another version of Pinocchio, it is art in motion.
An underrated hit. David O. Russel brings together a stellar trio of actors – Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, and John David Washington – and crafts a movie that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. From the first seconds, I was hooked. And to my great shock, there was never a dull moment through the film’s entire runtime.
It was just another reminder that it is always paramount to watch a movie for yourself despite its reviews or film scores and determine your own opinion of a film. You may find a hidden gem.
Michael Bay isn’t known for always making great movies. But when he gets it right he gets it right. Ambulance is one of the first films I saw in theaters this year and it was an IMAX experience I won’t soon forget. The story is a rollercoaster ride of emotions with a magical duo in Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul Mateen-II who are utterly magnetic. And we can’t forget Eiza Gonzalez who plays the co-lead to their shared brilliance to perfection. By the time I reached the end of this film, I was blown away.
This movie is so good it’s worthy of standing alongside one of the greatest action movies of all time, Speed and I do not write that lightly.
5. All Quiet on the Western Front
When I decided to watch All Quiet on the Western Front I was expecting to watch another somewhat entertaining World War I film. What I didn’t realize was that I was about to watch the best war movie I’d ever seen. Yes, I think it’s even better than Saving Private Ryan.
There is nothing glamorous about war and this movie illustrates that in heartbreaking abundance. The score, minuscule as it seems at times, is chilling when it wants to shine. The action scenes are the most horrifying I’ve seen in any war movie, and the needlessness of death inflicted on so many unfortunate soldiers because of petty men in fancy suits is honestly, quite sickening.
At a time when Ukrainians are under assault by Putin’s ego and Russia for no reason other than existing, this movie felt all the more poignant.
4. Top Gun: Maverick
The quintessential blockbuster is back. This wasn’t another superhero movie among dozens of superhero movies featuring an all-star cast dressed up in fancy costumes having to save the world with CGI heroics. This was a movie about a veteran pilot played by 60-year-old Tom Cruise having to train younger pilots in what could easily be considered the greatest action movie of the century.
Because the stunts are actually performed by the actors, there is a visceral awesomeness to the flight sequences that is unparalleled in this type of film. Not to mention, the story, laced with an emotional core and an honorable tone of patriotism, is extremely well-written. Put all that together and there’s no surprise this is the highest-grossing movie of the year and has a real shot at maybe becoming not only nominated for Best Picture but its recipient.
3. The Banshees of Inisherin
On the surface, this could appear to be another boring Oscar-buzzy type of film. In reality, it’s brilliant. With outstanding performances by its primary cast – Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, and Barry Keoghan – and a dazzlingly original screenplay, Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) has created himself another stunning masterpiece. Let’s see if this time he’ll finally be able to nab that Best Picture win.
2. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
I always knew that if Ryan Coogler managed to make a decent storyline I was going to enjoy Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The fact he created an even greater story than I could’ve ever imagined which played as a beautiful tribute to Chadwick Boseman while becoming an origin story for Shuri’s Black Panther and a striking debut for one of the oldest and most important comic book characters of all time, Namor, is nothing short of astounding.
There are movies that are enjoyable and then there are movies that you obsess over. Wakanda Forever is a movie that has me under its spell because there are so many things that excited me about this movie. The cast’s performances, the musical score, the production design, the costume design, the cinematography, etc. Honestly, I’m counting down the days so I can watch this over and over again on Disney+. By the way, if this movie ends up garnering Angela Bassett an Oscar, who rightly deserves it, I will shed real tears.
Earlier this year there were two movies I kept hearing excited buzz about; Everything Everywhere All at Once and RRR. I finally watched RRR in June and what I experienced was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before.
I smiled, I laughed, I cheered, I cried, I gasped, and I expressed roughly every emotion you could imagine while watching a good movie. But this movie lasted three hours. Imagine my sheer, awe-induced exhaustion afterward. It’s the best movie I’ve seen since Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar blew my mind eight years ago. It’s undoubtedly a top-three action movie while also managing to be the greatest epic period piece I’ve seen since Gladiator and Braveheart. And the fact that it contains one of the most exciting, visceral musical sequences I’ve ever seen is just the icing on the cake.
RRR may nab a Best Picture nomination without having gone through the Best International Film route. And if that happens I would be more than pleased. It’s a true work of art and a testament to the power of cinema and how it brings audiences together. Just watch a clip of people watching this film in theaters. The shared awe on the audience’s faces is a reminder of why watching films in the theater is still one of the best things on Earth.
Let’s see what new spectacular cinematic experiences await us in 2023.
How many of your favorite hits of the year made my list? Sound off below and share your opinion.
Annlyel James is a Senior Correspondent of The Future of the Force. She is passionate about Star Wars and Marvel but loves a wide variety of movie genres. Aside from her role with Future of the Force she also writes for her blog: annlyelonline. Follow her on Twitter where she channels the Force frequently!