By Jack Stewart
2022 proved to be one of the most varied years for cinema in recent memory. The year provided many different movies for fans of every genre, but here are 10 of the most important watches.
Everything Everywhere All At Once (Dir. The Daniels)
Released in March 2022, Everything Everywhere All At Once is a science-fiction action movie focusing on a Chinese immigrant named Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), who is tasked to save the multiverse. It was praised for its action, which took influence from both classic martial arts films and modern science fiction movies. Critics also praised the acting, creativity, and themes of the film. The movie was a major success both critically and commercially, making four times its budget at the box office and being placed on IMDB’s list of the top 250 movies of all time.
The Batman (Dir. Matt Reeves)
The Batman was a step in a new direction for the superhero film industry. It took a far darker and mature approach to superhero movies, with director Matt Reeves claiming to have drawn inspiration from classic crime thrillers such as Se7en and Chinatown. With Robert Pattinson in the titular role, the film took a more grounded and gritty approach to the classic Batman story line. Many praised it for its innovations in the superhero genre and its desire to break the boundaries of what a superhero movie could be.
Top Gun: Maverick (Dir. Joseph Kosinski)
The long awaited sequel to the 1986 classic Top Gun was finally released this May after much fan anticipation since the first tralier’s release in July of 2019. The film was given the subtitle “Maverick” as an homage to Tom Cruise’s classic character. The film centers on a group of pilots, lead by a retired Maverick, tasked with preventing a foreign nation from achieving the means to build nuclear weapons. The film is fast-paced and features authentic flying scenes and stunts. At release, it was praised for its use of real planes in its aerial action sequences. At the box office, it made just shy of $1.5 billion, becoming the 11th highest grossing movie of all time.
Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever (Dir. Ryan Coogler)
After the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman from colon cancer in August of 2020, many felt as if the awaited sequel to Black Panther should have been held off. Marvel and Disney worked to not be disingenuous with the release of this film, so they focused this sequel on preserving Boseman’s legacy and honoring him in the way they saw fit. The film fondly remembers Boseman and his positive impact on the rest of the cast and the fans. It balances its dedication to Boseman’s legacy while also telling a new and unique story as it focuses on Shuri (played by Letita Wright), the sister of Black Panther, and her new found struggles once Wakanda is challenged. The film was a big commercial success, making over $180 million on its opening weekend.
Nope (Dir. Jordan Peele)
Nope is the third film from comedian-turned-horror director Jordan Peele. His horror films have been known to both provide a scary viewing experience, while also leaving the viewer thinking with their underlying commentary. Nope carries this tradition established in previous films Get Out and Us. With a large cast including Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Black Panther), Keke Palmer (Scream), and Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead). The film was another hit for Jordan Peele, and a bounce back from Us, which underperformed critically.
The Fabelmans (Dir. Steven Spielberg)
Director Steven Spielberg has undoubtedly had the most successful career of any filmmaker of all time. His work, spanning over 50 years, contains some of the most critically acclaimed and culturally impactful films. His filmography is one of the most diverse of any director, spanning from atmospheric thrillers like Jaws, science-fiction blockbusters like Jurassic Park, action-adventure movies like Indiana Jones, and historical dramas like Schindler’s List. His most recent work, The Fabelmans, has been stated to likely be one of his last. The film is an intimate, semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age story showing Spielberg’s early years, his family struggles, his difficulties growing up, and how he fell in love with film. The movie is inspirational to any aspiring artist and is by far Spielberg’s most critically acclaimed in 20 years.
Elvis (Dir. Baz Luhrmann)
In the way Bohemian Rhapsody serviced Queen and Rocketman serviced Elton John, Elvis finishes off this unofficial trilogy by narrating the rise and fall of Elvis Presley. Anchored by Austin Butler’s central performance, this film gives a behind the scenes look into Elvis and his relationship with his manipulative manager, played by Tom Hanks. The film features all the signature elements that make Baz Luhrman’s films so iconic. It’s flashy and over the top, but above all else, it captures how energetic of a performer the real-life Elvis was.
Avatar 2: The Way of The Water
(Dir. James Cameron)
The long awaited return to Pandora continues with Avatar 2: The Way of The Water. It serves as a rebirth for the Avatar franchise, bringing it back into the public eye. The film carries many of the original’s themes and concepts while introducing new, logical extensions of the universe. It is a beautifully shot sci-fi fantasy epic, and as a result of James Cameron’s creative mind, forms one of the most complete movie experiences of the year.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Dir. Rian Johnson)
2019 saw the introduction of Knives Out, which instantly became a loveable cult classic mystery film. It was praised for its loveable characters, sharp and witty writing, and its central plot. Glass Onion takes a lot of elements from the first film and brings new light to them in a familiar yet fresh take on a murder mystery. Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc is the only character to return, serving the same role of detective as he does in the first. He works through this mystery similar to the first, interrogating characters, looking for clues, before the film comes to its grand conclusion. It’s full of surprises, in line with the first, and keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout.
The Menu (Dir. Mark Mylod)
The Menu is a blend of many different genres and styles. It’s similar to the carefully crafted food at the center of the film, as it consists of many elements eventually brought together to form a complete experience. Led by Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit) and Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter, James Bond, Schindler’s List), the film explores many different concepts on a deeper level while still being a really entertaining and thrilling dark comedy-horror at the surface.