My Top 10 Films of 2022

The first thing I would like to make clear about my top ten list of films for 2022 is that this is my list of films I enjoyed, which is not the same as best films. I adore going to the theater and watching movies at home, but I enjoy it for entertainment purposes. I am not a film critic, but I am film fan who likes to share my thoughts on movies and series. I came into 2022 very excited by the films that were coming, but then changes started happening and one of my most anticipated films of the years (The Flash) was moved to 2023. The Batman came out and Black Adam got released, but The Flash, Shazam: Fury of the Gods and Aquaman 2 were all moved to 2023. Despite The Flash being moved I still think 2022 was a fantastic year for movies as there are several films that I consider some of my favourite films ever. There are still films I have not seen that I cannot include on this list, but that I think might have been able to crack the list had I been able to see them. Luckily for me it is only a few films and those films are Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Tar, Empire of Light and The Triangle of Sadness. I personally think that at least one of those four films could be on my list. There are also films I saw and liked, but not enough to put them on my top ten list. Some of those films are Everything Everywhere All at Once, Black Adam, Nope, Prey, The Menu, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Thor: Love and Thunder and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. I liked all of those films a lot (except The Menu which was too dour for me), but I was surprised when I didn't think for a second of putting any of the Marvel films on my list. I think the Marvels films of 2022 were all good (with Doctor Strange being the best one), but they were all disappointing for one reason or another. I think my issue with the Marvel films has more to do with the post-Endgame films lacking in stakes for me. I think 2023 might start delivering on those stakes I want for Marvel, but I wish I would have liked the Marvel films of 2022 more than I did.

There were some films I just really enjoyed, and I really wanted to put on my list like Uncharted, Prey and Scream (2022). I really enjoyed Uncharted, and despite fans not liking that it was not more faithful to the game I thought the movie was a lot of fun. I was blown away by Scream (2022), I always liked the Scream films, but I thought the new breathed new life into the franchise. I never did a review for Prey (which was released on Star), but it was easily the best Predator film made since the original and I considered putting it on the list too. In the end despite me liking all of those films they just could not beat out the films I put ahead of them. I wish I liked The Northman more than I did, but I think Robert Eggers films are not for me. I watch artistic films, but the reason I watch movies is to be entertained and I find Robert Eggers films not entertaining. I will concede that Eggers is a talented storyteller, but I am not smart enough to appreciate his greatness. I liked Nope, but the reveal of the film was not what I wanted or expected and that affected what I thought about the movie. I thought The Black Phone was a really good thriller, and it came very close to making the list. There were a lot of enjoyable films in 2022, and I feel lucky that I was able to see almost all of the ones I wanted to see. There were also some films that were incredibly disappointing like Morbius, Don't Worry Darling and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. I think that The Secrets of Dumbledore was the worst film I watched in theaters in 2022, it is mind boggling how such a big budget film got released when it was obvious it was terrible. I was disappointed that Morbius did not deliver a horror film which I thought it should have been, the story of the film made little sense, and it seems that Sony needs Marvel's help to make the Spiderverse films work. Don't Worry Darling had a great debut trailer, and everything about the cast made it look interesting, but the off-screen drama took attention away from the film which makes sense if the film is not good. There is going to be film that win a lot of awards, and I am glad that those films will get the recognition they deserve. I will be curious to see how the films I put on my list perform during the awards season, I know some of the films I put on my list will not even be nominated for any major awards. I am going to start my list now so please continue reading.

10. Barbarian

A film that came out of nowhere and blew me away was a horror film (now on Disney Plus/Star), there are some twists and turns that keep you on edge. I wanted to review the film after I saw it, but I had no idea how to talk about the film without spoiling it. That problem still exists, but I think I can muddle through a very short review of Barbarian. The film starts with a very tense atmosphere, and it plays with the audience's wariness of strangers. The tension builds until the film switches tones completely, and a different type of film starts that eventually connects with the opening. The structure of the film got my attention, and while the end reveal was really weird, creepy and unsettling I wish we saw more of the flashbacks we were treated to. Barbarian is a very interesting film, and I wonder how people will view it as time goes by. I suggested the film to two of my coworkers and they were both angry with me as they did not like the film at all. I am sure there might have been better films to select, but this is my list and I think Barbarian was a film that surprised me in a good way. 

9. Bros.

Any time Judd Apatow's name is listed as a producer on a film I am instantly curious about that film, and Bros. delivers a smart, funny, sweet, and at times graphic rom-com. The film is written by and stars Billy Eichner, and it was co-written and directed by Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall). The films follows Bobby (played by Billy Eichner) and Aaron (played by Luke Macfarlane) who begin a relationship which is not easy for either of them. The film is very funny, but I was surprised by how deep the story was, and it felt authentic in a way that most rom-coms do not. I have only seen the film once, but I look forward to a second watch where I hope I enjoy it as much as I did the first time. I was surprised by how heartfelt the movie felt, and I think that Billy Eichner writing the film with Stoller allowed him to feel comfortable and give an incredible performance. The film only had one weak part to it in that it too closely conformed to the rom-com trope of having the couple break up at some point. The film was a fresh entry into the genre, and besides that one critique I had it was an entertaining film that had something on its mind. Had I reviewed the film I would have given it an 8/10 with a 9/10 possible if it held up on a second viewing. The movie had a point, and at times the movie steered closer to a drama than a comedy, but that is what made the movie so entertaining. 

8. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

The sequel to Knives Out was just as good as its predecessor, and in my quick review I suggested to know as little as possible about the film before watching it. I went to the theater to see it so I can experience it with an audience, and I wish Netflix had given the film a bigger theatrical release so more people could have experienced the film with an audience. Glass Onion is funnier and has more twists than Knives Out, and there are a lot of moments where you laugh out loud. The cast Rian Johnson (writer and director) assembled is impressive with Daniel Craig returning as Benoit Blanc along with Dave Bautista, Ed Norton, Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, Janelle Monae and Leslie Odom Jr. I gave the film a 9/10, and it is a highly rewatchable film that will rewards viewers who are paying attention. The pacing of the film is great; the movie never feels like it is going slowly, and Johnson's writing is sharp. Johnson at times in the film builds tension in a patient way, and when it releases it is always a lot of fun. Every single member of the cast does an amazing job breathing life into these characters, and in a mystery they all need to sell the idea that they might be the killer. Glass Onion is now available to stream on Netflix so do yourself a favour and watch it because I know you will be at the very least entertaining. 

7. Devotion

I think it has been an interesting year for both Glen Powell and Jonathan Majors as both actors got a lot more attention shone on them. Powell was Hangman in Top Gun: Maverick and Majors is going to be everywhere in 2023 as he is the new big bad in the MCU and he is going against Michael B. Jordan in Creed III. Devotion snuck up on me, and I missed seeing it in theaters, but it is streaming on Paramount Plus so I was able to watch it. I really enjoyed Devotion, but I did think the trailer for the film was a little misleading as it promised a film that was more action-packed than it was. Devotion follows two pilots post world war 2, and it shows the bond that forms between them. It is a moving film, and the ending caught me off guard so it packed a heavy punch. The performances by Powell and Majors were great, Majors showed why he is getting the opportunities that he is. The movie is based on a true story so I think that is why it spoke to me the way it did. If you are an aviation fan, and a fan of war films I think this movie is for you. I would give this film an 8/10 as it is entertaining, but it is also very emotional at times. The emotional impact of this film is why I placed it on this list where I did; if the film did not hit me the way it did I am not sure the film would be on this list.

6. The Fabelmans

I really wanted to see this film in theaters, but like Devotion the opportunity never presented itself so I waited. The film is directed by Steven Spielberg, but he also co-wrote the film with Tony Kushner, and it is semi-biographical of Spielberg youth. The film is about the love of movies and making movies, but the family dynamics of the film is where the heart of the film is found. This a dramatic film with some humor to it, but it is a film that likely will reach movie lovers more than the general audience. The film stars Paul Dano (The Batman) and Michelle Williams (Venom) as the parents of Sammy Fabelman (played by Gabriel LaBelle) who is the main character of the film. The film is a 9/10 for me, and I would give it a 10/10 if the ending did not feel so abrupt. This movie really spoke to me, and knowing where I am now it makes me wish I pursued my passion for movies at a younger age. The Fabelmans also has some quite adult themes in the complexity in the marriage of the parents, and there were moments where you could feel Spielberg really showing how good of a director he can be. I almost associate Spielberg with blockbuster films, but one of his strengths as a filmmaker is that he is able to craft three dimensional characters that the audience latches on to. While I think the ending to the film might annoy some viewers; this film is a must-watch for movie fans.

5. The Banshees of Inisherin

An incredibly dark comedy starring Colin Farrell (The Batman), Brendan Gleeson (28 Days Later), Kerry Condon (Better Call Saul) and Barry Keoghan (Eternals). The film is written and directed by Martin McDonagh who also wrote and directed In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths and Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri. McDonagh has a very dark sense of humor, and all of his films have an underlying theme of sadness. The Banshees of Inisherin reunites Farrell and Gleeson (the stars of In Bruges) as a pair of friends who stop being friends which leads to a series of increasingly horrific consequences. The film is very funny, and the performances by the four main actors are fantastic so I would give the film a 9/10. Despite the darker themes I think the film stays entertaining from beginning to end which is due to the great script and direction from McDonagh. When it was screened at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) it was getting a lot of awards buzz that has since quieted down. If I was more of an uptight film critic I would say that this is the best film of the years, but I appreciate films that prioritize entertainment over being artistic. The Banshees of Inisherin is worth a view just for the humor, and I'd be curious if the film causes more people to go back and revisit In Bruges (which is fantastic).

4. Bullet Train

The Brad Pitt led action-comedy film is so much fun, and it is highly rewatchable because of just how entertaining the film is. The action in this film takes a backseat to the comedy which was something I did not expect coming from David Leitch (John Wick). Brad Pitt gives a great performance as our main character, but the duo of Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass) and Brian Tyree Henry (Eternals) stole the film for me. The film follows a group of dangerous people on a bullet train and how they are all there for similar reasons. The action is always great, but the way the actors bounce off one another really made the film work for me. I don't anticipate Bullet Train winning any awards, but I am sure nobody could watch this film and not enjoy it. There are some twists and turns throughout the film, and some big cameos so avoid spoilers if possible. Bullet Train is a 9/10, but I think it might be a 10/10 just based on how much fun I had watching it. The film is based off a book (that I want to read), and I will curious if the book can match the chaotic energy of the movie. Brad Pitt is a movie star; he can do blockbusters, dramas and he can do a fun action-comedy, and it looks like he is having a blast in Bullet Train. The characters of Lemon and Tangerine are the characters I think most people will connect with, and I hope those actors can work together again very soon.

3. The Batman

I kind of forgot that The Batman came out in 2022 since it was released in March, and after seeing it a few more times after I reviewed it I settled on it being number three on the list. I gave the film a 10/10 when I reviewed it, but after seeing it a few more time I think a 9/10 might have been better. The film starring Robert Pattinson, Colin Farrell, Zoe Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright and Paul Dano was a tension filled detective story. I have longed to see a Batman movie where we saw him be a detective, and The Batman delivered on that in a wonderful way. The Batman was written and directed by Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), and his Batman story feels like it is set in the same universe as Se7en is. Paul Dano plays a serial killer version of The Riddler, and it is a very unhinged performance by Dano. Dano also played the father in The Fabelmans so he had a year in which he played two characters who are polar opposites of each other. Pattinson transforms himself into a version of Batman that is part Michael Keaton and part Christian Bale. Colin Farrell is unrecognizable as the gangster Ozwald Cobblepot (The Penguin), and Zoe Kravitz is magnetic as Selina Kyle (Catwoman). The car chase sequence featuring the coolest sounding Batmobile ever is awesome to watch and listen. The score by Michael Giacchino is moving, and the cinematography by Greig Fraser is exceptional. The Batman is a fantastic film on all levels, and the only two criticisms I have is the lack of humor and the length of the film which stands out on multiple viewings.

2. Avatar: The Way of Water

I could be accused of recency bias by placing Avatar: The Way of Water this high on the list, but I truly believe if it were not for the film at number one this would easily have been number one. James Cameron is one of the greatest directors of all time, but because he takes so much time between films he is often overlooked for how special each one of his films is. When I reviewed The Way of Water I gave the film a 9/10, and since I have only seen it once I am no position to change my score. It has been over a month since I saw the film, and I still think of it and I still want to see it one more time in theaters. The film is an experience, and one best done in IMAX, but if theaters are not your thing the movie should be available on Disney Plus in March or April. The story of The Way of Water is simple, but very effective in that despite the long run time I never felt bored or impatient. The viewpoint that humans are the villains is something I connect with, and while some may find Cameron heavy-handed in his portrayal it is perfectly inline with the first Avatar film. The one thing upon reflection that might keep it from being a 10/10 is that the musical score is essentially the score from the first film. The visuals of the film are stunning, and I wish there was another planet like Pandora. The Way of Water had the biggest budget of any film in 2022, but it has already become the highest grossing film of the year and it is currently 6th all time and will likely be in 4th before it goes to Disney Plus.  

1. Top Gun: Maverick

I don't think that any film really came close to taking the top spot from Top Gun: Maverick; this is a perfect film. I regret giving the film a 9/10 in my review of it, and in hindsight I should have just given it a 10/10. The film was great from the beginning to the end with Tom Cruise being his most likeable self, and the young cast around him did a great job too. Jennifer Connelly costars as Penny Benjamin (the character mentioned in Top Gun), and Miles Teller is great as Rooster the son of Goose. Glen Powell is a 1000 watt bulb as the arrogant Hangman with Jon Hamm being the Admiral that is reluctant to trust Maverick. As a lifelong admirer of jets, this film satisfied my need for speed, and I cannot wait to go to my next airshow. The score by Hans Zimmer is very moving, and there were times that the score combined with the what is happening in the film got me emotional. I would not trust a movie fan's taste if Top Gun: Maverick is not in their top ten films of 2022. I think this film is something we all needed to get over the pandemic, and I think that is why films like Top Gun: Maverick and Bullet Train resonated with me like the way they did. If for some reason you have not watched Top Gun: Maverick please do yourself a favor and set aside the time to watch it, and even better to watch it after a bad day. 

Thank you for checking out my list of my top ten favourite films of 2022; please share your favourite films of 2022. 

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