Happy new year! The big ranking is here. Every single movie I saw in 2022. I don't think it was a great year for movies. There were some really cool original films (especially horror films) and some unexpectedly great sequels or remakes, but overall, there were a lot of disappointments. The MCU wasn't at the top of its game. Disney and Warner Bros. delivered some duds. It wasn't great. But there are a lot of movies to talk about. So, without further ado, here is my ranking of all thirty-one new releases I saw in 2022.
31. Halloween Ends
I have trouble talking about this movie because of how much I hate it. Halloween Ends is a bad movie. Not only is it a bad movie, but it's a bad Halloween movie. If you're going to make a Halloween movie and make it suck, at least make it fun. Halloween Ends isn't fun. Most of the movie is this twisted romance between Allyson and Corey, who acts as a replacement Michael Myers. Laurie and Michael are sidelined for an underwhelming third act that is too little too late. I don't know why they chose to make this movie about a new character. It's awful. It's unwatchable. And it's an extremely, extremely disappointing conclusion to this new Halloween trilogy.
Hustle is a garbage. I don't understand the high Rotten Tomatoes score for this film. Adam Sandler is great. But this is the single most generic film I think I have ever seen. I watched the first ten minutes of this movie and I could've told you what happened in the rest of the movie without having watched it. That's how predictable it is. It's the most mediocre take on an overused sports movie formula that I have ever seen, and I really didn't like it. Beyond that, the acting (besides Sandler) and writing is stilted and cardboard. It isn't even an entertaining sports movie. There's literally a twenty-minute training montage. It's awful.
On paper, this movie is awesome. A Christmas Carol comedy from the perspective of the ghosts starring Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds? It sounds fantastic. But it's not. The musical numbers suck. And this film is TWO HOURS LONG. Why? I don't know. It drags on...and on...and on. It repeats the same jokes over and over again. It uses the tactics of every other adaptation of the classic Dickens story. There's nothing unique here. It's dull. It's boring. And by the end of it, you'll just want to be put out of your misery.
28. Jurassic World Dominion
This movie was so disappointing. It promises this epic story that would act as a great climax for the entire Jurassic Park franchise. Dinosaurs are finally amongst humans. Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, and Ian Malcolm are all returning for the first time since the first film. Instead of taking that easily entertaining and super cool concept, they make this movie about locusts. It's not epic. It's not fun. It's convoluted and dumb. And as a conclusion to the Jurassic Park franchise, it was so, so, so lame.
I fully admire X for its creativity and its uniqueness. The direction here is fantastic. The performances are all great. But this movie...whoo, this movie is one of the most traumatizing films I have ever seen. There are some things in this movie that I did not want to see, and those images are now burned into my brain. This is genuinely just one of the worst experiences I've ever had watching a movie. It's unique. But I just did not enjoy this movie at all. As time has gone on, I've learned to like and appreciate this film a little bit more. It is well done. Do I ever want to think about it? No. Will I ever watch it again? Absolutely not.
26. Don't Worry Darling
Don't Worry Darling was a solid thriller for the first half, but it lost itself entirely in the second half. The creepy scenes and trippy images started to get repetitive and led into a disappointing and unimaginative plot twist that a five-year-old could've thought of. It then sacrifices all logic to have a giant car chase in the finale. This movie was so close to being good. But instead, it's a mid thriller with a terrible climax.
25. Death on the Nile
Death on the Nile was a mediocre murder mystery. Kenneth Branagh knows how to direct a slick, modern day blockbuster, so it's entertaining to watch this movie with his directing style. This also has a great cast and a cool Agatha Christie story. However, the beginning is way too slow. The inciting murder doesn't happen until almost halfway through the movie. The first half is an absolute slog. It gets better after the murder, and there's some nice twists and turns, but that first half takes a lot of endurance to get through. Not a great movie. But not really a terrible one either.
24. The Fabelmans
If I had to choose between watching The Fabelmans again and watching Death on the Nile, I'd go with the latter. However, I do think The Fabelmans is a better movie. This is another one that I've learned to appreciate with time while still not really liking it. I think there are elements of a great movie in here, but everything surrounding Michelle Williams brings this movie down a whole lot. Her character and her performance are terrible, and they just make this whole film so much worse. It's a difficult story to digest, but not necessarily in a good way. It has Spielberg's touch. It's almost really good. But there are just some major things that made me not really like this movie.
Nope was another one that was a little bit underwhelming. Now, to be fair, my expectations were really high for this movie, because I love Jordan Peele. However, it feels like Peele exchanged story for symbolism at the end. Nope was a good sci-fi thriller for the most part, but it just collapses in the third act under the weight of Peele trying to shove all of his symbolic meaning into a place that doesn't fit within the story. It leaves you unsatisfied and annoyed, even though Nope is not a bad movie.
22. Terrifier 2
The last few entries have been high quality movies that haven't been as entertaining or satisfying as I would've liked. Terrifier 2 isn't high quality at all. It's the complete opposite. But it's tons of fun. This movie is bananas. I did not know any movie was capable of showing me the things that Terrifier 2 showed me. It's a bloody, brutal film that will test your immune system. Art the Clown solidifies himself as a horror icon with his menacing but also somewhat quirky attitude. Is this movie really that good? No. But is it loads of fun? You bet.
21. Thor: Love and Thunder
Thor: Love and Thunder should've been better. It should've been a lot better. Gorr the God Butcher was a great villain that could've been utilized better in a better film. Jane Foster is redeemed here. She's given a lot to do here, and they really, really improve her character. But this film is just way, way, way too goofy. The tone is all over the place. You have scenes of god orgies...then you have a scene of children being kidnapped by monsters that come straight out of a horror film. The comedy isn't very funny. When Love and Thunder wants to be serious, it's good. But the serious moments don't feel genuine, because the tone of the rest of the movie is just so goofy.
20. The Adam Project
The Adam Project was a fun, old-timey blockbuster that felt like an Amblin film in the vein of E.T. or The Goonies. It was short. It was sweet. It had a cool story. Walker Scobell gave one of the best performances of the year. However, this film felt like it was written by seven hundred different people. There are plotlines that are setup...and then just abandoned. The characters are all over the place. The timelines and stories tend to get mixed up. It's a mess of a movie. A good mess, but a mess nonetheless.
Lightyear was a solid outing for everyone's favorite space ranger. Buzz gets an Interstellar-like origin story that has some really great emotional moments. The story here is compelling. They take Buzz's character in an interesting direction. I love the sci-fi setting. I love the direction and animation. Chris Evans is great as Buzz. There are definitely frustrating elements. It's not as good as it should be. The story plays it safe. The supporting characters (besides Sox) aren't good. It's nowhere near the quality of the Toy Story films. It's not really even on the level as most other Pixar movies. It's a decent sci-fi adventure that I really feel like could've been better.
Smile gets the award for scariest movie of the year. This movie genuinely terrified me. There are some fantastic jump scares and some ultra-creepy imagery in this movie that sticks with you long after the credits roll. There are deep, resonant themes of trauma and mental illness here that I really liked. Sosie Bacon was fantastic in the lead role. It has an unsatisfying ending and it can get extremely derivative of other movies at times, but I had a ton of fun with Smile.
17. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Multiverse of Madness was probably the biggest disappointment of the year for me. This movie, while still solid, is not the madness it promises. Instead, we get a very contained story about Wanda chasing America Chavez through the multiverse. It does a good job of developing Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch. I loved the horror aspects. But this film does not deliver on the promise of the premise, and that was a huge letdown. Also, as it has sat with me, I'm not a fan of the Illuminati cameos. I don't like that they forced John Krasinski as Mr. Fantastic into this movie. It felt like Kevin Feige taking control over a movie that Sam Raimi should've had full control of. Overall, this movie is good. I enjoy it. But I wanted to love it, and I really didn't even come close to that.
16. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
I thought that The Secrets of Dumbledore was a solid return to form for the Fantastic Beasts franchise. I'm not a big fan of either of the first two movies, but Secrets of Dumbledore felt like it had some of the Harry Potter magic. The climax of this film had the high tension that the later Potter films had, and I really hope that can carry into future installments in this franchise. I dug this movie. It's not great by any means, but it was a good continuation of this dumb cash grab of a franchise.
Oh my. Barbarian. What a film. I went into this movie totally blind. I hadn't seen a trailer. I hadn't seen a plot synopsis. And I went through an absolutely insane experience. This movie is all kinds of nuts. There are so many things that you will not see coming. It's tense. It's scary. And it's also surprisingly funny. I don't like the villain. She was a little generic for my taste. And the ending was underwhelming (seems to be a recurring theme this year), but it didn't fully take away from my experience. This is a good movie. I highly recommend to horror fans.
14. Jackass Forever
Jackass Forever is hard to judge from a film perspective. All that matters in this movie is that it makes you laugh. And it does. This movie is funny. I think it suffers from having individual segments, though. They obviously vary in comedic value, so sometimes there will be a run of segments that are really funny and then other times there will be a run that isn't as funny. There are also way too many penises for my liking. But this movie is still tons of fun.
13. Black Adam
Black Adam is fun. A lot of people criticized it for being exactly like a million other superhero flicks from the 2000s, but I think that's the movie's charm. It isn't anything new, which is odd, because it almost feels refreshing. It's simple. It's not really focused on story and character development. It's mostly just blockbuster action and fun one-liners. I enjoy Pierce Brosnan and Aldis Hodge as additions here. It's not the movie that will change DC forever. It certainly isn't a great movie. But it's really, really fun.
12. Everything Everywhere All at Once
I think I expected a little bit more out of Everything Everywhere All at Once. Now, don't get me wrong, this movie is good. It's one of the most unique movies I've ever seen. There's so much imagination poured into this movie. It feels like a feature-length live-action episode of Rick and Morty. For most of the film, I was tracking with it. It was really cool. Great performances from Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan. However, this is another movie that just dies in the finale. It tries to do too much. It bites off way more than it can chew. And that makes for a really frustrating finish, because this movie was almost great. It's good. But not great.
11. Turning Red
Turning Red was weird. It was good. However, I think it was a weird direction to take a Pixar movie. The whole metaphor was a little bit much for a kid's movie, so that was just nagging me while watching it. The movie was fun. I was entertained while watching it. I think the story, despite the metaphor, is actually kind of clever and makes for some funny situations. The characters were unlikable, and (shockingly) the finale was bad. But this is a good movie.
10. The Menu
What's the biggest problem with The Menu? The third act. This film was going very well for a long time. It was able to be funny and thrilling at the same time. Ralph Fiennes gives a sinister but somewhat nuanced performance as the lead chef here. I absolutely adored him. The dialogue was almost Tarantino-esc with it's crisp, crackling cleverness. Unfortunately, the story didn't fully come together in the end, so, while The Menu was great for the first two-thirds, the final third knocked it down a good bit. I still really enjoy this movie. But I wish I could say I loved it.
9. Violent Night
Violent Night is Die Hard with Santa Claus. That is an incredible concept, and the only person you could ever cast in that role is David Harbour. This movie oozes entertainment. It's a violent, bloody action film that also manages to be really funny and have a bit of heart-warming Christmas spirit in there. It's not great cinema, but when you mix Die Hard, Home Alone, and David Harbour as Santa Claus, you end up with a buttload of entertainment. And that's exactly what Violent Night is.
8. The Black Phone
So many movies this year have had underwhelming endings. The Black Phone is not one of those. The climax of this film is great. The Black Phone is a simple story that benefits from a self-contained atmosphere, great direction from Scott Derrickson, and one of the best new horror villains in years. Ethan Hawke steals the show as The Grabber, a psychopathic child murderer that has so many different layers to his personality. This film combines coming-of-age with supernatural thrills so well. I wish the story was a little more layered. The film does feel a little bit shallow. But this is a very effective and very good horror flick.
7. The Batman
The Batman was my most anticipated movie of the year, but even that doesn't capture how excited I was for this film. I was SO hyped for this movie. I had trouble focusing in school the day I went to see it because that was all I could think about. And it was good. It was a really good Batman movie. I wanted it to be great. I wanted to love it. And it's a very good movie that I really like. Robert Pattinson as Batman? Yes. Paul Dano's Riddler? Yes. Colin Farrell's Penguin? Yes. I loved so much about this film, but it was held back by some bad pacing and a runtime that is excessive. I cannot wait for more of this franchise.
6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
I wasn't sure about Wakanda Forever. How could you be? This movie had tons of production trouble at face value. They rewrote it five times. There was controversy surrounding Letitia Wright. It was filmed during COVID. All of that would've made me nervous...and I haven't talked about the fact that Chadwick Boseman died. Ryan Coogler was faced with an impossible task, and he took that challenge head on. He crafted a cathartic and deeply powerful sequel to Black Panther that has all of the stuff it should with an additional weight because of the absence of Chadwick Boseman. It isn't a great movie. It is far from perfect. But the fact that they were able to make this a very good movie at all is impressive. And I give it massive, massive props for that.
5. Avatar: The Way of Water
Avatar: The Way of Water brings audiences back to Pandora in thrilling, visceral fashion. An enormous blockbuster with an original story and characters isn't something we get enough of, so, despite The Way of Water being way too long, I love that this movie exists and I cannot wait for more Avatar in the future. James Cameron is an absolutely powerhouse of a creative force, and he puts that on full display here. This movie isn't as good as the first and definitely has its flaws, but it's still a masterful display of what you can do with film.
Prey was a massive surprise. I saw the trailer for this film and immediately went "Nope. That's gonna suck." And news flash: it's great. This movie is a much-needed jolt for the Predator franchise. Amber Midthunder shines on the screen as Naru, a young Native American woman who tries to prove herself as a hunter to her tribe. I LOVED how much they integrated Native American culture into this movie. I also loved that they made it so much about two hunters hunting each other. It was a really, really cool movie that absolutely shocked me with how good it was.
One of the most fun movies of the year, Scream gave us a great return to everyone's favorite meta horror franchise. With hilarious new meta humor and a merciless Ghostface, Scream honored Wes Craven's legacy with a sequel that maintains the magic of the first four films while also creating its own vibe. My fingers are crossed for a new era of Scream movies with these characters. I loved this movie. It's one of the best horror films of the year and one of the best movies of the year in general.
2. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
I have never felt so similarly about a film and its sequel. I adored Glass Onion. It was a highly entertaining and interesting sequel to Knives Out. Daniel Craig has solidified Benoit Blanc as one of the greatest fictional detectives ever. And Rian Johnson has solidified that he is a great director and writer and just needs to stop being associated with Last Jedi so people can recognize how talented he is. This movie is so well written and so well acted. It's funny. It's mysterious. It unravels it's central mystery perfectly. The third act gets slightly bloated, but that doesn't take away from what is an otherwise fantastic film. And I cannot wait for a third Knives Out.
1. Top Gun: Maverick
I have no words to describe this film. I really don't like Top Gun. I was not excited for Maverick at all. Then early buzz started circling, and I became more excited. No amount of excitement prepared me for the absolute masterpiece that this film is. Yes, I called it a masterpiece. This is a true, crowd-pleasing blockbuster. Fantastic characters and pulse-pounding action is just scratching the surface of the many amazing things that this movie has. I am in awe of Tom Cruise. He clearly poured his heart and soul into this film, and audiences got something truly special. As soon as I saw this movie, I knew it was going to be my favorite of the year. It's fantastic. If you have not seen Maverick, do yourself a favor. This is one of the best movies of the decade. Watch it. It's the best.