By Ollie B. ’25 and Ethan L. ’25
After a lackluster 2021 movie season, it seemed fitting that 2022 would have a better array of films. And while there are still a few months before the end of the year, with highly anticipated films such as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Avatar: The Way of Water yet to come out, many films have already been released this year and deserve some praise. And so, after countless hours of going to the movie theater, watching and analyzing the movies profusely, and devouring piles of theater concessions, here is a quick summary of our top four rankings of films already released in 2022.
Please silence your cell phones and enjoy.
In 4th place is Jordan Peele’s third film, Nope. Jordan Peele, known for his comedic personality and appearances in the comedy duo Key and Peele, first got into the directing chair for his 2017 debut horror film, Get Out. Despite being his first film, Get Out received massive praise from well-known critics, eventually landing him an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. In 2019, Peele returned to directing, releasing his next movie, Us. While it still received positive reviews, it was considered a weaker film than Get Out, only receiving a 6.8/10 on IMDB. After a three-year hiatus, Peele released his most recent and highly anticipated film, Nope. Like all his previous films, Nope was a horror that also added a nice new touch of science fiction. The premise revolved around capturing evidence of a UFO, where main characters Emerald and OJ go on a turbulent adventure to learn about this thing, Not Of Planet Earth.
And, while we hoped this film would take us out of this earth, unfortunately, we were left disappointed. On the positive side, this film had outstanding cinematography, with stunning shots at night of the UFO forbiddingly hovering over the scenery. Other notable aspects of the film included the acting, especially by Keke Palmer, who brought a lot of charisma and energy to the film. However, while the positives certainly made the film stronger and more entertaining, the negatives did make the viewing experience less enjoyable. First and foremost, the film was not a horror movie. With the audience expecting a couple of trembles and eerie feelings trickling down our backs, we were left bare and disappointed. Frankly, nothing seemed remotely scary, with the frightening moments feeling like they could have been straight out of a comic book movie. Also, the first and second acts dragged on for too long, making it a slow burn and having lots of exposition that added little to the story. The film suffered from frequent flashbacks, feeling oddly placed throughout the film and messing up the flow of the narrative. There was even a whole side story on a chimpanzee, which could have been entirely removed while still producing the same final product. In the end, while Nope definitely was an entertaining experience, it had several issues with its pacing and screenplay, making it an unsatisfying watch that did not live up to Peele’s previous films.
The menacing black mask and the majestic dark presence of Gotham’s nocturnal vigilante captivated us all when The Batman dropped in theaters this year. Matt Reeves and Peter Craig’s adaptation of the hero, starring Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz, gives us a more gritty and sinister take on the character, and overall, it works tastefully. The Batman is arguably the most different portrayal of the caped crusader yet. The directors transcend an oversaturated genre and deliver an eerie slow burn with constant tension and a menacing villain. But as expected, there were complaints. Some said Pattinson’s performance was the least intimidating yet, as his character was dull and did not have much presence on screen. Described as awkward and boring, Pattinson’s performance received some criticism, but we think overall, it was a refreshing experience. He played him in a “new way.” The mood of the film is what really made it pop to us. The score was menacing and foreboding. Michael Giacchino perfectly matched the filter and lighting of the film with his soundtrack, and this really added to the weight of the film.
The film follows Bruce Wayne (Batman), who embarks into Gotham City’s underworld following a trail of cryptic clues left behind by a heartless killer. He must forge new relationships, unmask the culprit, and bring justice to the abuses of power and corruption that have plagued Gotham City for so long as the evidence grows closer to home. Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz received lots of praise despite having to live up to portrayals by other talented actors such as Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway. Some could argue Kravitz’s Catwoman was the best to be seen in a film. Her intelligent, capable, and intuitive character and her chemistry with Robert Pattinson’s Batman felt completely natural. But what really set The Batman apart from its counterparts was its tone. The whole mood of the film seems nightmarish and intensely vivid at the same time. From the foreboding brass-heavy score to the detective noir filter of the film, Reeves masterfully combines fear, fight, and drama into his rendition of the character, making The Batman one of the more memorable watches of 2022.
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Described as “messy and glorious,” we did not know what to expect from Everything Everywhere All at Once. Its ambiguous and chaotic title and teaser left viewers wondering what the film was about or how good it would be. But I think we can all say we were pleasantly surprised, as the film exceeded our expectations. Everything Everywhere All at Once was an exuberant explosion of genre anarchy that, in our opinion, was the better Multiverse of Madness film this year by far. There are so many things going on in the movie, but from what we saw, Everything Everywhere All at Once is split into three parts: Part 1: Everything, Part 2: Everywhere, and Part 3: All at Once. The film follows Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), who struggles to cope with the stress of her failing laundromat, her ailing marriage to Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), and her disapproving elderly father (James Hong). As Evelyn discovers she’s just one in a vast multiverse of Evelyns and the only one capable of saving it, the growing emotional and familial gap between her and her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) threatens the fabric of existence. Despite not having a Disney-backed MCU budget, Everything Everywhere All At Once embraced the concept of the multiverse in greater detail and with greater ambition than Doctor Strange. In the multiverse, there are infinitely many universes and possibilities in addition to ours.
The familiar yet distant presence of the film makes it so unique. Throughout the entire movie, one is rooting for Evelyn and her family. Michelle Yeoh’s performance, along with her daughter and the other cast members, makes you laugh out loud and tear up all in a span of two hours and twenty minutes. Yes, the film is about magic and multiversal travel, but the theme of family and love really stuck out. With “the disapproval from parents” being a prominent theme throughout the film, it was easy to relate to the characters and fall in love with them for how “real” they were as people. Everything Everywhere All at Once is an extremely creative family drama in the form of a multiverse-jumping action film filled with unorthodox ideas and thrillingly staged martial arts action sequences. The movie’s message is particularly meaningful: it is up to each individual to find meaning within the life they’ve been given in each iteration of the universe. There is no “better reality” than the one you live in. It is about how good you decide to make your own. Everything Everywhere All At Once is a must-watch, and we guarantee hilarious and heart-shattering moments all packed into this masterpiece that you will enjoy.
Top Gun: Maverick
In 1986, the famous and nostalgic film Top Gun was released, making everybody want to throw on some aviators and fly for the Navy. Afterward, the main star Tom Cruise would enjoy an illustrious career, starring in films such as the Mission Impossible franchise, Rain Man, and A Few Good Men. However, he never starred in a sequel to Top Gun, leaving fans yearning for a long time. That all changed in 2019 when Tom Cruise announced at Comic-Con the sequel to the original 1986 film, Top Gun: Maverick. Showcasing the trailer, we now see Pete “Maverick” Mitchell go from student to instructor, teaching the top pilots in the Navy, including the son of his former friend, Goose. With an initial release date of 2020, fans could not wait to watch the Navy’s finest pilots in action again. After numerous delays due to Covid-19, the highly anticipated film was finally released on May 27, right at the beginning of summer. The film could not have been received any better, receiving numerous positive reviews and grossing 1.47 billion dollars worldwide, the 11th most all time. After watching the movie ourselves, we completely understand why.
Our whole love for the film stems from one core idea: it was a worthy predecessor to the original. Joseph Kosinski, the director of the film, knew what the fans wanted, embracing the nostalgia and cheesiness of the 1980s while also enriching the story and crafting tumultuous action set pieces that left the audience riveted to the screen. The film respected the original, paying homage to the characters while occasionally including exact copies of some scenes. However, it did not only rely on nostalgia but added more elements, especially a more meaningful story. While the original Top Gun was entertaining, the story was mediocre at best, with most of the characters being fairly one-dimensional. In Top Gun: Maverick, the main characters, primarily Maverick, are more fleshed out, allowing everyone to go through an emotional ride throughout the film. But the main aspect that carried the film was its enthralling action. Tom Cruise, known for his death-defying stunts, ensured no CGI was used, shooting actual F-18s being flown. Not only did Tom Cruise sit in the cockpit, but all the other actors also did, ensuring the action is as realistic as possible on screen. In the end, the aerial sequences were exciting and jaw-dropping spectacles to watch, making Top Gun: Maverick not only a worthy sequel to Top Gun but also a better film, improving on the characters, story, and action from the iconic 1986 original.
We hope you agree (or don’t) with our top 4. We might not have even mentioned a movie you thought deserved to be on this rank, so here is an honorable mention list just for you: The Black Phone, Elvis, The Northman, Turning Red, Prey, After Yang. There are still more movies coming out this year that could shake up our list but for now, we hope you get to watch all these notable films at some point, and we can’t wait for what’s to come.
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