Jason’s Movie Blog’s Top Ten Best Movies of 2022
Hello, everyone! With the year of 2023 in full swing, it’s time to exam the “worst” and “best” movies of the year. It took me a little bit longer than expected to get this particular list done (longer than intended due to my back catalogue of 2022 movie reviews that needed to get done), but here we are and I’m happy to share it. In truth, 2022 saw a number of pretty “good” films.
I’ve already posted my list for my Top 10 Worst Movies of 2022 and now I’m ready to share with my list for what were the best movies of the 2021 year. Whether the source material was solid (original or adapted), clever writing, great direction, visually impressive presentation, creative world building, great thematic / messages, superb performances, or even well-drawn-out characters, these movies were (at least to me) the “best of the best” of the year. But before I begin with number 10, take a look at some honorable runner-ups that almost made it on my top ten best movies of 2022.
(click on the picture for full review)
“And I love my pride!”
“What’s a bad miracle?”
“Into the sea of change….”
And now my top ten!!!
10: The Fabelmans
Rating: 4.3 Out of 5
Review: The Fabelmans Review
Does life imitate art or does art intimate life? A question for the philosophers out there indeed and maybe some for the cinephiles out there as well, with 2022 seeing the release of The Fabelmans. Director Steven Spielberg’s latest endeavors tackles a very personal journey for the famed visionary filmmaker by translating the inner turmoil of a family’s dynamic and a young man’s passion, with the two intermingling with one another. While the feature’s pacing becomes problematic as well as some clunky narrative elements that come in the later half, the film comes out on top with a very emotionally charged picture, especially with Spielberg’s direction, powerful thematic messages, a special affinity towards moviemaking, a solid presentation, and some great acting (most notably from LaBelle and Williams). This was definitely a passion project for Spielberg, one that speaks volumes towards him and those who share the same mindset of dreamers, storytellers, and those caught amongst the troubling family dynamics and personal goals. In the end, The Fabelmans, while not the quintessential movie release from the acclaimed director, still ruminates (and resonates) for some palpable and compelling storytelling of family, art, and the perseverance of one’s passion.
9: The Banshees of Inisherin
Rating: 4.4 Out of 5
Review: The Banshees of Inisherin Review
The values and importance of friendship are one of the most intrinsic and common bonds of humanity, strengthening the relationship of individuals through shared passions, experiences, and underlining character emotions. In 2022, director Martin McDonagh examines a once long and last friendship that quickly reaches its end amongst two men, who are at a crossroads within their lives and in their camaraderie in the movie The Banshees of Inisherin. The film takes a very simplistic (yet very human and layered) scenario amongst two particular individuals and their personal turmoil that comes out when their friendship reaches its end, with the lives of several people caught in the middle. The movie manages to cultivate something quite unique within its storytelling, especially in McDonagh’s direction, an intriguing mixture of some light comedy and heartbreak emotion, a great presentation, amazing cinematography, a good score, and a terrific cast across the board, especially in Farrell, Gleeson, Condon, and Keoghan. It was definitely an interesting watch, one that I did not expect to live as much as I did. As stated, I have to give such a commendable job to McDonagh for delivering a film that holds such emotional weight that is just as easy to follow, yet so emotional raw in its own complexity. A sort of juxtaposition of such different ideals and examinations and something that I think that we all can relate to. Plus, I really felt that the acting was so good in the movie. In the end, The Banshees of Inisherin is sobering tale of humanity characteristics study and the impasse of friendship that’s heartfelt and gripped in tender emotion.
8: Avatar: The Way of Water
Rating: 4.4 Out of 5
Review: Avatar: The Way of Water Review
With so many movies to get hyped over and film releases to be anticipated throughout the year, the one movie that was on everyone’s mind was the long-awaited, follow-up sequel to James Cameron’s sci-fi blockbuster feature with the movie Avatar: The Way of Water. In 2022, the wait was over, and it delivered a solid return. Cameron’s latest film takes what he established in his 2009 blockbuster feature and helps elevate the narrative (and its characters) for another rousing, big-budgeted endeavor of visual storytelling that helps transcends the movie experience that’s both captivating and energizing the movie. The motion picture was definitely worth the wait and display and great blockbuster sequel, with especial thanks to Cameron’s vision / direction, amazing world building, fantastic visuals, a solid presentation, a beautiful score, and good cast to help propel the story forward in an engaging way. With the amount of money that the feature has amassed at the box office worldwide, it looks like Cameron’s true vision for the epic saga of the Sully family is far from over. For now, Avatar: The Way of Water succeeds in what it sets out to do by presenting a new adventure with a dazzling and visual spectacle tale that delivers on impressive cinematics, terrific action, and a wonderful experience of returning to the lively and luminescent world of Pandora.
Rating: 4.4 Out of 5
Review: Elvis Review
Elvis Presley…. the man, the myth, and the legendary “king of rock and roll” has made an illustrious musical career through his own unique style and songs. Everyone knows the icon, but in 2022…. moviegoers learned the truth behind the icon and the personal struggles he had to deal with in the movie Elvis. Director Baz Luhrmann takes a cinematic look into the life and times of Elvis Presley and how his rise to stardom and popularity as well as counterbalance challenges of his own personal demons and the greed and control of his manager. The feature delivers profound cinematic endeavor, thanks to Luhrmann’s direction, a stylish presentation (background setting, costumes, hair / make-up), great musical performances / execution, and a great cast involved, especially in Austin Butler and Tom Hanks’s performances, who were both phenomenal in the movie and deserve the utmost praise that the pair has received for their performances in the film. Personally, it was probably one of the better Baz Luhrmann movies. Overall, Elvis is both dramatically and musically charged project that does what it sets out to do by displaying a stylish and palpable experience of seeing Presley’s greatest lows and highs in his life, while wrapping it all up in Luhrmann’s signature flair of moviemaking. Much like what Elvis says in one scene in the film “This ain’t no nostalgia show. We’re gonna do something a little different” ….. and that’s what Elvis is….to the letter!
6: The Woman King
Rating: 4.5 Out of 5
Review: The Woman King Review
Historic epics pics are usually something hard to pull of nowadays, with not just large production budgets or helping to appeal to certain type of moviegoers, but also because of the feature’s knowledge of how it handles its own “world building” profile to make such a grand tale feel believable and genuine rather than just stark and generic. Such foundations can certainly “make or break” the feature’s entire endeavor, but, in the case of 2022’s The Woman King, it succeeds. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood latest film visions a gritty and realistic cinematic lens of a historical African epic that captures both character dramatics and action nuances in marriage that works for a compelling tale of honor, self-discovery, and community. The African kingdom of Dahomey stands upon the precipice of great conflict and change as General Nanisca leads the charge against the realm’s enemies as well as guiding young Nawi through the trials of becoming a Agojie in the movie The Woman King. The movie still stands tall and proud by overcoming those shortcomings, with especial thanks to Prince-Bythewood direction, a solid representation of African culture, a fully realized world building aspects, an intriguing dual narrative of its main lead characters, well-choreographed action scenes, a fantastic presentation, and some great acting talents across the board (most notably Davis, Lynch, and Mbedu). I was interested to see this movie, but I really didn’t have much of ultra-high expectations nor excessive anticipation to see it. To that end, I was wonderfully surprised on how much I enjoyed the film. It was well-acted, told an engaging tale, well-respecting the values of empowerment and African culture nuances, and just a great production presentation. In conclusion, it’s crystal clear for what The Woman King wants to convey and delivers on that promise (and more), with a stunning historical epic that’s filled great character dynamic, meaningful storytelling, and the inspiration appreciation that women can just be as strong and fierce as men.
5: Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
Rating: 4.5 Out of 5
Review: Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris Review
The classification of “feel good” movies have always been quite the crowd pleaser endeavor, with typical films of this subgenre conveying not high-octane thrills, disturbing horrors, or complex plot twists, but rather evoking emotions and passions within their respective cinematic context; something that resonates with a viewer with a sense of hopefulness and peace of mind long after the film has concluded. In 2022, such a tale is presented in the film about a working-class woman (Ada Harris) makes it her mission to head to Paris, France and buy a dress from the House of Dior in the movie Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris. Director Anthony Fabian takes the literary source material from Paul Gallico’s novel and translates it into a cinematic tale, one that speaks to its kind-hearted nature and feeling of lighthearted goodness, which is a reflection upon its main character. The movie itself delivers a solid and charming presentation, with special thanks to the film’s direction, a wholesome “feel good” premise, a lighthearted endeavor, a fantastic visual representation / presentation, great costume designs, and an all-around great cast, with actress Lesley Manville leading the charge. In closing, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris represents that not all cinematic endeavors need to have some flashy blockbuster visuals or heavy-handed drama to make a compelling motion picture. Sometimes all that you need in a movie is a hopeful dream, inherent goodness, and good dose of sensible charm to make for appealing “feel good” feature film, which this movie has….in Dior spades!
4: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Rating: 4.5 Out of 5
The year of 2022 saw the return of several animated projects that were once presumably closed, seeking new opportunities to renew interest in these once popular IP franchises in children’s entertainment. While the poorly received (and conceived) The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild scrapped the bottom of the barrel in the Ice Age franchise, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, the second spin-off film for the Shrek franchise, offered up a fantastic, exciting, and visually dazzling cartoon adventure that surely revitalized an interest in this animated realm of fairy tale characters and creatures. Director Joel Crawford latest film takes what was established in the 2011 film and propels the narrative forward, with plenty of merits to make this second spin-off cartoon endeavor worth telling and experiencing for both old and new fans of Shrek universe. The movie finds great experience within its narrative, with attention to detail from Crawford’s direction, a deep and meaningful themes / messages, great action sequences, hilarious comedy, an amazing visual animation / presentation, a great soundtrack, colorful characters, and terrific voice acting across the board. Like The Woman King, I was interested to see this movie, but wasn’t super excited to see. That being said, I was completely surprised by how much I enjoyed the feature. It was funny, had plenty of heart, a lot of flashy action scenes, and proved to be quite effective spin-off endeavor (i.e., able to stand on its own). My expectations were definitely exceeded and that’s a great thing. It’s probably the best movie of the Shrek franchise since Shrek 2 and definitely much better than the first Puss in Boots movie….at least in my opinion. In the end, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is an exciting and widely animated spin-off project to the Shrek main narrative, providing a dazzling adventure that has plenty of heart, humor, and spectacle from everyone’s favorite feline.
3: Everything Everywhere All at Once
Rating: 4.5 Out of 5
Nowadays, movies have recycled many ideas around from remakes to reimaginings to being film adaptation of popular books, video games, and based on a true story. Thus, proving the age of old saying that an original idea has been less favorable choice / decision against one a popular IP moniker or narrative that is considered a surefire bestseller. 2022 proved that idea wrong with the movie Everything Everywhere All at Once. Directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinart (the Daniels) latest film is perhaps one of the most ambitious projects to date, with such lofty and big blockbuster ideas / concepts and present it within a small budget indie / arthouse feature film. The end result is something that miraculously works and delves into something widely entertaining and meaningful, with especial thanks to the Daniels’s direction, a sometimes goofy, yet through-provoking narrative, several humorous and clever concept usage of the multiverse tropes, delving into deeper thematic messages and commentary, a solid visual presentation, and a terrific cast with notable performances from Yeoh, Quang, and Hsu. Yes, it was completely bonkers at times and definitely had those “WTF” moments littered throughout the movie, but it was very unique and different movie that what I was expecting to be. It had some originality to it and was creatively done in way that subverted my expectations in a highly enjoyable way. Definitely the big surprise hit of the year…. Bar none. All in all, Everything Everywhere All at Once is an ambitious gamble of a project that pays off with immense satisfaction and demonstrates that there still is clever juice still left in Hollywood from Some hidden gems out there. As some are calling it to be, Everything Everywhere All at Once isn’t just a movie…. it’s an experience!
2: Top Gun: Maverick
Rating: 4.7 Out of 5
Review: Top Gun: Maverick Review
While Hollywood might have run out of ideas and plays up nostalgia endeavors for too frequently, it can be a very promising venture…. if done thoroughly, correctly, and having a proper balance of old and new. Naturally, there have been dozens of examples of this, with most failing to recapture that particular “spark” that the original source material was able to capture. In 2022, such “lightning in a bottle” was indeed captured and brought to cinematic life with the “crowd pleasing” release of Top Gun: Maverick. Director Joseph Kosinski’s latest film is the long belated sequel to the original 1986 Top Gun motion picture; expanding upon the original source material in a genuine way that honors its past and updates the visual flair. The movie manages to soar above the commonplace trappings of nostalgia sequel films to create an entertaining action drama, especially thanks to Kosinski’s direction, the reinvention of the narrative substance, terrific aerial combats, a clever (and smart) way to utilize callback elements, a realism of sweeping dramatic cinematics, a fantastic soundtrack, and a sold and entertaining cast across the board. It’s fun, intense, and just a great way to escape in an aerial cinematic narrative. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser and one of those movies that you’ll love to watch over and over again. In conclusion, Top Gun: Maverick is a rousing and wholesomely fun action blockbuster feature that honors its legacy and exceeds its job by making a endearing and widely entertaining sequel that’s worth the hype and anticipation.
1: The Batman
Rating: 4.8 Out of 5
Review: The Batman Review
So, what could beat out the long-awaited Avatar next installment, a stylish biopic of the “king of rock and roll”, an African historical epic drama, a huge crowd-pleasing Top Gun sequel, a very original conception of bizarre oddities and meaningful moments in a multiverse premise, and a visually fun next chapter in “everyone’s fearless hero” saga …. the only one I could think is The Batman. Yes, even beating out the highly praised of Top Gun: Maverick and the highly profitable Avatar: The Way of Water. It was definitely something I wasn’t expecting, especially since I wasn’t super keen on seeing this latest iteration of Gotham’s cape crusader. Yet, despite that notion, I was completely blown away by the feature, which definitely left is mark on the cinematic Batman world and on the 2022 movie releases.
Director Matt Reeves latest film takes a cinematic examination of different shades to DC Comic’s dark knight character, with a more brooding, unhinged, and gritter story that is grounded with realism and feeling more of a hard-boiled detective formula than a blockbuster endeavor. A great majority of the film works tremendous well, especially from Reeve’s direction, a gripping narrative, a more grounded tone, detective nuances, intense action, dynamic / well-rounded characters, and a solid cast all the way around. I did have a few reservations going into this movie, but those lingering doubts were quickly put to rest as the film itself was orchestrated masterfully in a way that feels different from the “status quo” of atypical Batman feature, but still retains the nuances one would come to expect from such iconic brooding character. Plus, I love the whole detective story angle, which was handled incredibly well, with the third act producing a gripping and satisfying conclusion. Loved it all! It subverted expectations from a comic book superhero film as well as a bit more unconventional than the big studio tentpoles of late. As I said previous, the movie is definitely worth the hype!
While the movie itself is sort of a self-contained narrative, the ending leaves the door open for a possible continuation of this latest iteration of the cape crusader and, I for one, would love to see where this franchise will go. Given what has recent happened with the “shake up” at Warner Bros. with their DC Comics movies, with James Gunn now overseeing a new cinematic universe and actors / actresses being ousted from playing their already established superhero characters, it’s hard to figure out what will become of this particular franchise. Will it remain it is own cinematic universe? Will it be brought into Gunn’s new vision of DC’s shared superhero-verse? Will it even continue onward? All of these questions remain elusive for now. Only time will tell. In the end, even if the movie will just a be a stand-alone project, Matt Reeves’s The Batman is a darkly beautiful take on the Batman character; presenting a tale that completely blows away expectations, establishes a more complexed potency within infamous superhero, and showcases a more super sleuthing crime solving within the seedy underbelly of wealthy, corruption, and power.
And it is for that reason why The Batman is my best favorite movie of 2022!
And so that’s my top ten “best” movies of 2022. There were some movies that I didn’t get to see, so (naturally) I can’t critique them and pass my movie critic judgement on them, which is why they might not be on my list. So, what do you guys think? What were your “best” movies of 2022?