GameSpot's Top Movies of 2022
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This year was packed with incredible films, but only 10 of them made the top of our list.
2022 represented a lot of things in the entertainment industry: The return to normalcy for some levels of production, the re-opening of most movie theaters around the United States, and the release of some of the best films any of us have seen in a while. From sci-fi epics to gritty superhero stories, this year was a boon across multiple genres and truly had something for everyone.
Our editors came together with the arduous task of witling down the best from the rest and eventually landed on ten selections, ranging from all-ages animated features to the sort of horror you'd definitely want to keep away from kids. We've got cape and cowl representation from both of the Big 2, a surprise showing from an old favorite with a decades-late sequel, and a biopic that boasts doing "absolutely no research" about its subject matter at all.
And don't worry, movies aren't the only things getting love this year. Check out our Top 10 TV Shows of 2022 to see what streaming services were providing the best content in this already crowded landscape.
Jordan Peele's follow-up to Us was the surprise none of us knew we needed this year. No, it's not a surprise that Peele made a fantastic film. What is surprising, though, is that he took his talent for weaving in social commentary into horror films and applied it to an entirely new genre. Nope is a sci-fi movie through and through. But it also speaks to exploitation--especially in Hollywood--and how that can lead those being exploited to chase a level of spectacle as long as they possibly can, eager to keep hold of any notoriety that may keep them afloat in the future.
Using the fact that the first ever movie was a collection of images of a Black man riding a horse, Nope paints a picture of a Black family with a deep Hollywood history being left in the dust, as digital imagery takes over. With their family business dwindling and the legacy of their ancestors becoming all but forgotten, the situation becomes dire for the Haywood family, who simply don't want to be erased from the medium their family has served and sacrificed for over generations. - Chris Hayner
I've seen Batman rebooted no less than four times in my life, and though I've enjoyed all iterations to varying degrees, none have fulfilled my Batman-loving dreams more than Matt Reeves' The Batman. Blurring the line between Nolan's realism and the more fantastical comics, The Batman keeps centered everything that makes the hero special without resorting to rehashing storylines we've seen overdone for 30 years.
This is especially well-handled in how The Batman brushes right past the origin story we've seen too many times to count. We all know how Bruce Wayne became Batman, so Reeves instead reboots us a year or so into Wayne's "Gotham Project." With Robert Pattinson taking up the cape and cowl, we get to see a Batman that's never been portrayed before--as an angsty Nirvana fan who is far from the perfect combatant and infallible detective he ends up becoming in most timelines. Pattinson's Batman--Patman?--hasn't quite figured out how to mask his alterego beneath an opaque veil of public escapades as a billionaire playboy, so The Batman feels like the start of a better-explored arc for Bruce as much as it will be for Batman.
But my favorite part about The Batman is the depiction of the iconic city itself. Gotham is fully realized in a way I've always wanted. It captures the dark essence and seedy atmosphere of The Animated Series in an incredible, never-before-seen way that other live-action renditions have always strayed from, often going for something similar, but either wackier or more restrained depending on which version you're watching. The Batman's Gotham is its best live-action version ever. It feels alive with major death dealers like Carmine Falcone and small-time crooks alike, and Batman's restless crusade to rid the city of its wickedness both at the top and bottom of its social ladder has never been more mesmerizing. Throw in a cast that stars the likes of John Turturro, Zoe Kravitz, Colin Farrell, and Andy Serkis, and I feel like after enjoying three decades of other people's live-action Batmans, I finally have the overtired but virtuous millennial Batman for me. - Mark Delaney
Before this year, there had been six movies that included the Predator aliens. However, it's a huge mixed bag with 1987's Predator and 2010's Predators being the only two fans considered to be "good." That was until 2022, when Prey released on Hulu. Without the Predator branding, and the stigma--one that's slowly going away--of a major franchise being released directly to streaming, many people didn't have their hopes up for the movie. Yet, when it was released, they were blown away.
Following a Comanche tracker and hunter Naru (Amber Midthunder), this prequel film--it's not really a prequel, just marketed as one--takes place 300 years ago on the Great Plains as Naru is tracking a Predator--one that's tracking her back. What Prey delivers is a Predator movie that's reminiscent of all the things in the franchise we love: hunters taking down prey, cool sci-fi aliens, out-of-this-world weapons, and bombastic action sequences.
Midthunder's character shines in the role and is one of best protagonists in the Predator series--probably right behind Arnold Schwarzenegger's Dutch from the first film. While this is a movie about Naru on a journey to find this elusive alien, the film felt bigger than it actually was. It was a smaller-scope story with limited sets that never felt restrained. Between this and 10 Cloverfield Lane, director Dan Trachtenberg has made a great name for himself. - Mat Elfring
Top Gun: Maverick
There's no way anybody expected Top Gun: Maverick to meet the hype of being a sequel to one of the most beloved films of all time. Ultimately, though, it surpassed that hype. There are even some who believe it's better than the original--and that isn't an unreasonable stance to take. Maverick is as perfect as a sequel is ever going to get. It doesn't stray far from the original, but is bigger, louder, with a slew of new and interesting faces, all while never forgetting the core relationship that made the first film work so well.
In Top Gun, the key was the dynamic between Maverick (Tom Cruise) and Goose (Anthony Edwards). In Maverick, Cruise is matched up against Miles Teller in the role of Goose's son. The movie also fills us in on Maverick's life since the first film, brings back a familiar and important face in Val Kilmer's role of Iceman--and succeeds in making his role be more than just a cameo thrown in to appease fans. This movie is far more emotional than the first Top Gun, with action sequences as beautifully done as the first movie, if not more. It's like a perfect Top Gun storm. What more can you ask for? - Chris Hayner
Prior to 2022, writer/director Zach Cregger was known for his work in the sketch comedy show The Whitest Kids You Know. Now, that's been completely overshadowed by Barbarian, one of the best movies of the year. 2022 was a huge year for horror. Look at the rest of this list, as there are multiple horror movies on it, and there are plenty more films that easily could have been in the top 10.
As for Barbarian, it's best to know as little as possible going into it. It stars Georgina Campbell as Tess, a woman who is interviewing for a job in Detroit and gets an AirBnB in a rundown neighborhood. She arrives and finds it's been double-booked by a man named Keith (Bill Skarsgård). And that's all we'll say about the plot because that's the first few minutes of the movie, and it goes in wild directions from there.
Barbarian is a movie that will constantly have you screaming, "What the f*** is happening?" multiple times during the viewing. It takes you in so many unexpected directions, and yet, is incredibly easy to follow and digest, two elements of horror movies that aren't mutually exclusive. Barbarian is a triumph for presenting an audience with a story that's exceptionally familiar while surprising us at every corner. - Mat Elfring
One of the biggest surprises of the year is the dawn of the incredibly inventive X franchise of horror movies. X, a slasher set on a Texas farm in the '70s, mixed porn, murder, and a long list of tried and true horror troped into one of the best original horror films in ages. It's not a sequel, a reboot, or a reimagining. Instead, it introduced brand new characters in a movie that stands out from the crowd.
Even better, it was just the beginning. What we learned after is that right after X finished filming, a prequel was shot that became the truly remarkable Pearl--a film about the old woman on the farm and how she became, well, the monster we meet in the first movie. And now, a sequel is in the works about the final girl from X. This franchise is a spotlight shining on Mia Goth, the actress at the center of each of the movies, and we're all better off for it. - Chris Hayner
While coming-of-age stories are a dime a dozen, coming-of-age stories centered around women--and more specifically, women of color--are still sorely missing from mainstream media. However, Pixar's Turning Red isn't notable solely for helping to remedy this problem. What makes the film stand out as one of 2022's best movies is its charm, sincerity, and willingness to explore complex topics--topics like generational trauma, being a first-generation immigrant, and mother-daughter relationships--while also making you feel all the joy, magic, and "cringe" that comes with simply being a 13-year-old girl.
In Meilin and her boyband-obsessed best friends, I saw myself and my own friends, fawning over some emo band or the latest vampire-filled young adult novel. In her risque drawings she tries her hardest to keep her overbearing mother from finding, I saw my folder of fanfiction I would have been mortified to let my own mother so much as glance at. And, in the dynamic we see between Meilin and her mother that leads her down the well-trodden path of people-pleasing and repressing her own needs and emotions, I saw myself and my own mother.
Despite Turning Red using vibrant colors, a bombastic animation style, and mythical transformations to symbolize a young girl's loss of control over her emotions and body that culminate in kaiju fights, it somehow manages to feel earnest and grounded. It's an incredible accomplishment and a beautiful ode to loud, brilliant daughters and the mothers who love them in every way they know how. - Jessica Howard
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
When describing Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, it's nearly impossible to describe the movie without accidentally saying, "It's really weird." Most musical biopics revolve around the real-life struggles of a musician trying to make it in an industry that tells them "no" over and over again. Additionally, said musician also deals with addiction issues as they are their own worst enemy. Weird follows this same format, but there's just one difference: the vast majority of what happens in the movie never happened.
Most biopics take some liberties here and there with history, Weird decides to spew inaccuracies for two hours in the funniest way possible. Hitting major moments in Yankovic's career--again, with all the liberties taken--Weird tells the story of a parody artist rising to fame. It is undoubtedly the funniest movie of the year.
Daniel Radcliffe's portrayal of the polka parody king of music is beyond perfect--even though Radcliffe never actually sings in the movie, Yankovic does with Radcliffe lip-syncing. The film features great comedic actors as well, and there isn't a scene that won't leave you laughing your ass off. Best part yet, it was and is free to watch on Roku--with ads.
Weird is amazing, and it has changed the course of history as we know it. "Beat It" by Michael Jackson is actually a parody of "Eat It," and now we all know it. - Mat Elfring
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
The second Black Panther had what seemed like an insurmountable task ahead of it. After the untimely passing of star Chadwick Boseman, the film had to reset the franchise's course by enlisting a new Black Panther, while also paying tribute to the actor. With such heavy emotional stakes coming at the tail end of what has largely been a very scattershot Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it would have been easy to falter.
Ultimately, though, this was the best post-Avengers: Endgame film by leaps and bounds. It set up massive stakes for the future and introduced new characters. However, it also managed to celebrate the life of Boseman and the character he played, King T'Challa. This was an incredibly emotional movie, made by a cast and creatives mourning the loss of a dear friend and leader. The care and respect for Boseman was felt throughout the film and made for a unique viewing experience. - Chris Hayner
GameSpot's Top Movie Of 2022: Everything Everywhere All At Once
Timing, as they say, is everything. It's impossible to imagine a better year for a movie like Everything Everywhere All At Once to have hit theaters. The little indie movie, with a visual effects department made up of self-taught amateurs, barreled full-steam into the sci-fi trope and concept of the multiverse, which the MCU juggernaut had recently set its own multi-billion dollar sights on and, against all odds, did it better.
On the surface, Everything Everywhere is the story of the deeply mundane Wang family. They own a laundromat that's struggling with taxes, there's a potential divorce looming on the horizon, their daughter is constantly at odds with them and they're constantly at odds with their in-laws. It's the furthest thing from a sci-fi epic until suddenly, it isn't. Matriarch Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) is abruptly thrust into a multiverse-hopping journey when an alternate version of her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) interrupts her meeting with the IRS to tell her she's the chosen one.
It's funny, sure–maybe one of the funniest movies this year–but more importantly, it's completely original. Everything Everywhere is the antidote to corporate IP burn-out, a hilarious and deeply self-aware movie with a massive heart and a message that goes beyond promoting the latest sequel or hawking streaming service subscriptions for new TV shows. And, hey, no other movie this year involved a sex toy-based martial arts fight scene or a tear-jerking scene with stop-motion boulders wearing googly eyes. - Mason Downey