2022 was a good year for movies, as good as a year can be following a global pandemic. Fingers crossed, the COVID-19 situation seems to be improving every day, although it’s not officially over at the moment of writing. Yet, fans finally returned to theaters, proving that audiences still love to watch a good movie the old-fashioned way. Will streaming services totally replace theaters in the future? Maybe, but for now, there is nothing that can offer the same level of excitement as watching a movie like Top Gun: Maverick or Avatar: The Way of Water on the big screen.
Here are my picks for the five best 2022 movies, with the wish the new year will bring even more thrilling stories.
Matt Reeves’ take on the Dark Knight was the best superhero movie of the year. DC heroes have always been grimmer than the joyful — and sometimes silly — Marvel heroes, and The Batman perfectly fits that imagery. Fans saw a few actors alternating under Batman’s cape and cowl in the last two decades, but Robert Pattinson put on an outstanding and memorable performance as Bruce Wayne’s alter ego. Pattinson also had a great dancing partner in Paul Dano, who smashed it as a very Internet conspiracy-driven version of the Riddler. The Batman set the base for a bright future for Pattinson’s Dark Knight. Hopefully, Warner Bros. won’t waste it.
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Everything Everywhere All at Once is one of the most peculiar movies of 2022, a true genre-bending breath of fresh air. The protagonist (Michelle Yeoh) is a Chinese-American immigrant who deals with a series of issues in her personal and professional life. In a particularly rough moment, she discovers the existence of the multiverse and that she can connect with parallel universes, which are in great danger. Everything Everywhere All at Once takes inspiration from different genres — including fantasy, traditional martial arts films, and sci-fi — to create a delightful story that deals with relationship issues, immigration, and the incommunicability between parents and their children, among other things. The Daniel Kwan- and Daniel Scheinert-directed comedy is a must-watch movie that’s getting much critical acclamation.
Triangle of Sadness
When people embark on a journey, they’re never the same when (and if) they return home. That’s what happened to the unlucky passengers of a luxury cruise in Triangle of Sadness. The Ruben Östlund-directed black comedy could just be seen as a luxury cruise that goes wrong for its uber-rich participants. Yet, it has so many layers that it becomes a metaphor for our society’s decay. In 147 minutes, Östlund deals with the application of Marxist theories, underlines the critical aspects of capitalism, proves that a matriarchal society wouldn’t be much better than the patriarchal one, and more. Triangle of Sadness rightfully won the Palme d’Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival in a rare combination of critical and audience approval. The cast included Woody Harrelson and the late Charlbi Dean, who tragically passed away a few months after the movie’s release.
Top Gun: Maverick
Ahead of its release, Top Gun fans feared the Joseph Kosinski-directed sequel would have just been a mere nostalgia operation. Top Gun: Maverick is more than that. The Tom Cruise-led movie savvily mixes a good story, thrilling action, and reliable characters without forgetting to pay homage to the 1986 blockbuster at the right moment. Years have passed, but “Maverick,” just like the actor that plays him, still has an itch to be in the danger zone, an innate desire nothing could ever extinguish. “Maverick” is chosen to guide the new generation of Top Gun graduates, including the son of Maverick’s late best friend, “Goose,” who is wonderfully played by Miles Teller.
Avatar: The Way of Water
If James Cameron didn’t exist, Hollywood should invent him. 2022 marked the blockbuster kingpin’s return with another hit, the 13-year-in-the-making Avatar sequel. Cameron expanded the already-impressive world he first showed in 2009 with new creatures and new sides of Pandora in a remarkable world-building effort. While audiences expected Jake Sully to be the same fearless Toruk Makto seen in Avatar, years — and family — have changed the former Marine, who now puts the safety of children in the first place, even before his pride. Too bad the ghosts of his past are still haunting him, and old enemies present themselves in a different shape. There wasn’t a better way to end 2022 than with a giant blockbuster movie that makes you feel the magic of filmmaking.