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Best Movies Of 2022 – Screen Rant

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With normal Hollywood service resumed, 2022 is delivering movie gems on the big and small screen. Here are the best movies of 2022 so far…
The field is strong, but this eclectic bunch are among the best movies released in 2022 so far. If 2020 was an abject disaster and 2021 a year of tentative recovery and streaming experimentation, 2022 is the year Hollywood got back to relative normality. Blockbusters are busting blocks, indie darlings are charming film festivals, and Kevin Feige is back in Hall H announcing the next 616 Marvel projects in development.
It's no surprise, then, to see 2022 already impressing in the movie stakes. From long-standing IPs to completely original concepts, a diverse palette of cinematic treats have attained accolades of the critical and/or commercial variety, earning the right to be considered among the very best movies 2022 has to offer. And the year isn't even over. Something tells us those December/January "best of" lists are going to be a lot more competitive than the past two years…
Related: The Most Anticipated Movies of 2022
Whether you're looking for the greatest movies you might've missed from 2022 so far, or just taking a retrospective glance before the next wave of film favorites lands, these are our picks for 2022's best movie releases.
Robert Eggers' graduation to the mainstream came with no small amount of hype in April 2022. A Viking-themed thriller with a supernatural slant starring Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy and Ethan Hawke, The Northman seemed destined to impress, and impress it did. Reviews were broadly in awe of Eggers' direction and Jarin Blaschke's cinematography, full of praise for the star-studded cast, and generally agreed the script had enough meat on the bone to compliment Eggers' visual intensity. But while most folks who saw The Northman had a good time, actually getting patrons into theaters proved Amieth's bane, as The Northman disappointed at the box office. A lack of audience appetite for dense historical pieces, the theatrical pandemic hangover, enigmatic marketing – all could've played their part. In a testament to The Northman's quality, however, home media performance has shown significant improvement, suggesting Robert Eggers' Norse epic will only be appreciated fairly in years to come.
Top Gun: Maverick did not share The Northman's box office misfortune. It was all too easy to feel skeptical about Tom Cruise's return as Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell. 1986's Top Gun is a cinematic classic, but only because of its unashamed era-specific brand of movie cheese and subsequent impact upon popular culture. Over 30 years later, was a sequel worth the effort? Was this just a cynical Hollywood cash-in on a dormant IP nobody cared about? Not quite. Joining Cruise and fellow Navy original Val Kilmer are Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, and Jennifer Connelly, as an aging Maverick weighs up his legacy and fights for the future of pilots in the Navy. Seamlessly blending past, present and future without ever devolving into outright nostalgia or losing sight of Tony Scott's film, Top Gun: Maverick received rave reviews, many of which boldly proclaimed it better than the original. Box office numbers followed suit – Top Gun Maverick is the highest-grossing movie of 2022, the highest-grossing movie of Tom Cruise's career, and one of 2022's best movies so far.
A million miles from Tom Cruise's airborne antics, Jim Archer's Brian & Charles released under-the-radar in June 2022. David Earl portrays the titular Brian – a failed Welsh inventor who crafts his own robot named Charles. What begins as a beautiful friendship soon turns into a story of parenthood and letting go, as Chris Hayward's sentient android grows increasingly keen to explore beyond the confines of Brian's humble village. One of 2022's strongest indie efforts, Brian & Charles is abundant with charm, humor, quirkiness, emotion and originality, and even though After Life and Derek fans will constantly expect David Earl to say something grossly inappropriate, Brian is perfect as a flawed protagonist starting a tentative relationship with Hazel (Sherlock's Molly Hooper, Louise Brealey).
Related: How Top Gun: Maverick's Box Office Beat Infinity War (Is Endgame Next?)
The Telugu-language RRR (directed by S.S. Rajamouli and written by Rajamouli alongside V. Vijayendra Prasad) perhaps wasn't on many western radars when 2022 began, but the fictionalized story of early 20th century revolutionaries Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (N.T. Rama Rao Jr.) has transcended typical barriers between territories, earning praise from the likes of Edgar Wright. An adrenaline-fueled 3-hour bombast, RRR isn't for the faint of heart, but has received worldwide acclaim after breaking records in its native India, celebrated for its combination of action, music and drama. For all RRR's ridiculous spectacle, it's the story of Raju and Bheem garnering the most effusive praise, as endearing performances meet snappy scripting to glorious effect.
Scott Derrickson bounced back from his MCU departure in the best possible way, teaming up with his Sinister star Ethan Hawke for The Black Phone. Hawke stars as the Grabber – a deliciously creepy masked child-napper who hides kids in his basement with, you guessed it, a black-colored phone. Through this eerie device, Mason Thames' Finney communicates with the Grabber's past victims, all of whom offer advice on how to get the better of their tormentor. Based on a novel by Joe Hill, The Black Phone evolves beyond the typical scares 'n' suspense formula Sinister helped popularize, with the relationship between Finney and his psychic sister, Gwen, giving Derrickson's horror comeback a stronger emotional spine than many would've expected. Earning strong reviews and performing well enough at the box office, Derrickson has already admitted sequel discussions with Hill and Blumhouse Productions have taken place.
If Hollywood has proven anything, it's that revivals of beloved 1980s movies rarely live up to their originals. If Hollywood has proven two things, it's that rivivals of beloved 1980s horror movies definitely don't live up to their originals. Countless attempts have been made to modernize horror classics, and almost all of them have failed spectacularly, but lightning struck twice in 2022, as after Top Gun: Maverick proved rule one wrong, Prey came along and demolished rule two. This Predator prequel asks what would happen if one of the franchise's iconic aliens landed in 18th century North America. The answer, it turns out, is a properly great Predator movie. Directed by Dan Trachtenberg and starring Amber Midthunder, Prey is a stripped-down, violent, character-led affair infinitely more satisfying than anything the franchise has done since (and arguably including) 1987. Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem, this is not. Releasing in August on Hulu, Prey's critical success is already generating talk of a sequel.
Thanks to Get Out and Us, Jordan Peele's Nope arrived in July 2022 with bags of (mostly justified) hype. A deliberately enigmatic marketing campaign and an all-star cast featuring Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun didn't hurt either. We won't spoil any surprises here, but Nope lives up to the multitude of pre-release theories, and delivers all the trademark satire, psychology and quirk audiences expect from Peele's artistic palette. More than the director's previous efforts, however, Nope has been praised for upping the visual drama and scale, while also being the most outright weird entry in Peele's already-disturbing canon (that may partially explain Nope's more polarizing reaction compared to the universal acclaim of Get Out and Us). Box office has been solid, if not spectacular, but Nope's audience reaction has, at the very least, contributed to its director's growing reputation, even eliciting comparisons to Steven Spielberg.
Related: Nope Movie's Real Meaning Explained
Pixar's fortunes have been uncharacteristically mixed of late, taking an even darker turn as Lightyear fell without style at the box office. Released in March 2022 and directed by Domee Shi, Turning Red represents a rare bright spot for the famed animation studio. Starring Rosalie Chiang as Mei – a 13-year-old schoolgirl who must contend with transforming into the giant red panda every time she becomes emotional – and using Chinese mythology as a metaphor for puberty and growing up, Turning Red's Lee family (which also includes Sandra Oh as Ming) are wholly relatable in their dramas and disputes, while Mei's teenage travails translate across generations. Turning Red is Pixar doing what Pixar does best – beautiful animation that leaves audiences crying and laughing, but also a little wiser than when the movie began. And just like all the best Pixar movies, Turning Red pushes the envelope, in this instance by depicting teenage life with a realism few animated tales would dare try.
Would Matt Reeves' The Batman – Robert Pattinson's debut as the Caped Crusader – live up to the massive hype created by trailers? Of course it would. Benefiting from complete franchise isolation and a distinct lack of Bruce Wayne origin story, The Batman shows DC's Dark Knight like never before – an angst-ridden rookie tearing Gotham City a brand-new face, not yet the polished article Batman movies usually depict. The Batman's moody tone combined with Matt Reeves and Peter Craig's detective noir script also contribute to this injection of superhero movie freshness, while standout performances from Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle, Paul Dano as Riddler, and Colin Farrell as Penguin (not to mention Battinson himself) add a class and depth to the beautiful cinematography from Greig Fraiser, transforming Gotham into a character all of its own. The Batman swooped to box office success, and although a sequel isn't officially green-lit, it's surely only a matter of time.
When 2022 began, many expected a reality-bending dose of multiverse madness to rank among 2022's top movies. They may not have expected it would be Everything Everywhere All At Once. Released in March and directed/written by the Daniels (Kwan and Scheinert), Everything Everywhere All At Once pleased everyone, everywhere all at once, with Michelle Yeoh's Evelyn suddenly thrust into a world of alternate realities, parallel selves, and missed opportunities as a familiar face threatens to bring down all reality. Reviews unanimously championed Yeoh's starring turn, but also praised the Daniels for embracing their multiverse concept with far more vigor, ambition and bravery than Marvel's higher profile Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Impossible to pigeonhole or define in conventional terms, Everything Everywhere All At Once is that rarest of cinematic things: a truly original experience that has to be seen (and felt) to be believed. Everything Everywhere All At Once easily earns its place among the best movies 2022 has to offer.
Craig first began contributing to Screen Rant in 2016, several years after graduating college, and has been ranting ever since, mostly to himself in a darkened room. Having previously written for various sports and music outlets, Craig’s interest soon turned to TV and film, where a steady upbringing of science fiction and comic books finally came into its own. Craig has previously been published on sites such as Den of Geek, and after many coffee-drenched hours hunched over a laptop, part-time evening work eventually turned into a full-time career covering everything from the zombie apocalypse to the Starship Enterprise via the TARDIS. Since joining the Screen Rant fold, Craig has been involved in breaking news stories and mildly controversial ranking lists, but now works predominantly as a features writer. Jim Carrey is Craig’s top acting pick and favorite topics include superheroes, anime and the unrecognized genius of the High School Musical trilogy.


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