Best movies 2022: The most satisfying movies from ‘Avatar’ to ‘Everything Everywhere’


The movie industry is undergoing a transformation, fueled by falling box office revenues as more people prefer to consume entertainment at home. It also deserves to look back at the films released in 2022 in a slightly different way, from the most disappointing titles to, here, the most satisfying.

“Satisfactory,” in this case, differs from the traditional “best of” lists compiled by many critics, as it allows for the inclusion of more populist films that distinguished themselves by nicely achieving what they set out to do.

As it happens, this approach also reflects a year in which many of the traditional award-winning films were flawed in one way or another, and some of the highest-profile commercial awards (see “The Batman” and Marvel’s Thor, Black Panther and Doctor Strange sequels ) did not quite live up to expectations to varying degrees.

As for the sequels that made this list, in a movie business built on franchises and dependent on well-known properties, the challenge of pulling off these extensions is both crucial to the industry’s financial health and, creatively, deserves applause when done right. .

As for omissions, it’s worth noting that there were plenty of releases this year from acclaimed directors — including Darren Aronofsky, Noah Baumbach, Damien Chazelle, Antoine Fuqua, Martin McDonagh, Sam Mendes and David O. Russell — that were seen, considered and didn’t make the cut. In fact, if there was a bias here this year, it was towards movies that mostly entertained, with a few exceptions.

So what made the “nice” list? In alphabetical order:

“Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood”: Richard Linklater’s rotoscope-animated flashbacks to his youth growing up in the shadow of NASA are the kind of breezy nostalgic exercises that truly illustrate what life was like back then, in a time when TVs were small and before everyone carried a phone everywhere.

“Avatar: The Way of Water”: Overcoming the skepticism of a 13-year-later encore with a flurry of dazzling acting, James Cameron takes a fairly basic story and turns it into an epic, state-of-the-art display of cinematic magic that practically demands you get off your feet. couch, put down the remote control and drive to a movie theater to watch it on the biggest screen you can.

“Everything everywhere at once”: Not everything worked out with this foray into alternate universes and roads not taken, but this action-comedy-sci-fi mashup represented one of the year’s most inventive efforts and struck a chord with audiences, while showcasing the remarkable Michelle Yeoh and the rousing comeback of one-time Indiana Jones boy Ke Huy Quan.

Gabriel LaBelle as Sammy Fabelman in Steven Spielberg's

“The Fabelmans”: Steven Spielberg’s deeply personal window into how his childhood experiences forged him into the filmmaker he became is obviously filled with nostalgia, but it also provides a welcome ode to the power of film. A little scattered in its format, the film nevertheless works as a superhero origin story for a director whose half-century of filmmaking has etched so many moments into our memories.

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”: Writer-director Rian Johnson has managed to reload and still capture the whimsy, wit and fun of his original whodunit, with Daniel Craig as the lone stop in a film that really should have spent more time in theaters before landing on Netflix.

Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack enter

“Good luck to you, Leo Grande”: Sent directly to Hulu, this two-hander for Emma Thompson as a widow who keeps a sex worker (Daryl McCormack) and pepper him with questions about his life and his work was sweet, funny and generally delightful, a little gem in a year with a lot of rhinestones. (Thompson, as a footnote, is also crushing in “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical.”)

“RRR”: Like “Avatar,” don’t let the three-plus-hour runtime scare you (besides, you’ll most likely watch it on Netflix anyway). This Indian historical fantasy has it all, including an abundance of energy, wild action sequences and exhausting dance numbers. A film that draws on a number of genres, from superheroes to westerns, and still manages to feel fresh and invigorating.

Jalyn Hall as Emmett Till and Danielle Deadwyler as Mamie Till Mobley in

“Up to”: Danielle Deadwyler’s haunting performance as Mamie Till Mobley, struggling with the murder of her son Emmett in Mississippi in 1955, elevated and brought renewed attention to this tragic story, in a film that sensitively deals with the murder to focus on how it gave a civil rights activist her voice.

“Top Gun: Maverick”: Despite coming 36 years after the original (time flies, too, apparently), this sequel waited through the pandemic to share the experience with moviegoers, rewarding them with a moving flight that gave Tom Cruise a perfectly timed encore, as he flies a rescue mission for cinemas. Honestly, it would be nice to leave well enough alone after that, but nothing that makes that much money can be allowed to stay on the ground for long.


“Turning Red”: Pixar hasn’t been treated particularly well by its parent studio in the Disney+ era, which explains why this wonderfully warm and very funny coming-of-age story — a genre so overworked that it’s hard to do this well — was sent straight to streaming. The film works on several levels, but transforming into a giant panda proves to be a wonderful metaphor for the indignity and confusion associated with puberty.

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