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With the year 2022 coming to a close, it’s time once again to celebrate the best of the best of the past 12 months — the films that have wowed us, floored us, and of course, moved us.
From the mind-bending antics of The Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All at Once to the upping of the superhero cinema ante that Matt Reeves achieved with The Batman, 2022 gave us a bunch of great movies to choose from when it came time to pick our nominees. That includes the incredible action spectacle of Indian filmmaker S. S. Rajamouli’s RRR, the unique vision of Jordan Peele’s sci-fi/horror outing Nope, and even the return of Maverick himself in Tom Cruise’s surprise mega-hit Top Gun sequel.
These are our nominees for the Best Movie of 2022… Be sure to check back next week for our winner!
The Best Movie of 2022
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Everything Everywhere All At Once is the kind of weird and wonderful movie that only comes around once in a generation. Wildly original and imaginative, The Daniels’ masterpiece uses high-octane action, a fresh take on the multiverse, and a stellar cast to turn a story about depression and uncertainty over one’s life choices into something hopeful, empathetic, and constantly entertaining. It’s both a comedy and a relatable tragedy, all wrapped up in a stunningly creative sci-fi bow whose fight sequences can be put up against The Matrix’s with ease; it has everything, everywhere, all at once.
Nope is a movie about movies. It’s also a movie about cashing in on sensationalism. And, it’s also, incredibly, kind of about the gig economy. Oh and a flying saucer. More than anything though Nope is a film that manages all of those things seamlessly. That all of these seemingly disparate ideas are pulling in the same direction is a testament to Jordan Peele and his complete mastery of the craft. Nope weaves legit summer blockbuster energy into a satirical tale of trauma, erasure and selling pop culture where power outages and inflatable-wavy-arm-used-car-lot-guys signal the approach of danger. The film is an old school Spielberg adventure injected Peele’s introspective brand of social thriller and it’s easily one of the best films of the year.
RRR is a rrrevelation. The story, the cinematography, the effects, the performances… There isn’t a single aspect of this film that isn’t firing on all cylinders. Writer and director S.S. Rajamouli brought something truly unique to the silver screen by playing with a fictional version of India’s history to develop an emotional, impactful, and uplifting story that will leave fans quite literally on the edge of their seat. You’ve heard “this film has it all” a million times by now, surely, but never has it been more true than in the case of Rajamouli’s incredible spectacle of brotherhood and revolution. For more on the film, check out why (and how) you should watch RRR.
A gritty, grounded Batman movie may not be a novel idea these many years after Christopher Nolan’s groundbreaking Dark Knight Trilogy, but director Matt Reeves nevertheless found a unique, insightful, and engaging way to explore Bruce Wayne/Batman in this neo-noir detective thriller. Told from Batman’s point-of-view, Reeves’ film is a far more cerebral and personal Batfilm than most, one anchored by Robert Pattinson’s measured performance as a relentless, often vicious Dark Knight who learns to evolve beyond his own single-minded need for vengeance and become a symbol of hope and justice for Gotham. Pattinson is surrounded by a stellar ensemble who give their all, from Zoë Kravitz’s sultry Selina Kyle to Colin Farrell’s scene-stealing Penguin to Jeffrey Wright’s overwhelmed, deadpan Jim Gordon to Paul Dano’s chilling, Zodiac-inspired Riddler. The Batman put fresh and fully realized spins on these oft-portrayed DC icons and the terminally corrupt city they call home, managing to succeed as both a brooding, psychological character study and as an intense crime thriller.
Top Gun: Maverick
After waiting for two years to release Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise and co. finally unveiled one of the most iconic action flicks in recent memory. Is it the greatest sequel of all time? It’s definitely a contender. And in 2022, where most of the other huge blockbusters were superhero sequels, dinosaur sequels, and other CGI-fueled make-believe, the Top Gun sequel is the real maverick among the crowd because it focuses on the absurd lengths the filmmakers went to get real-life video of its actors pulling seven gs in F/A-18 Hornets that were insanely close to a mountain. Amazing action aside, Maverick’s other huge benefit is that it doesn’t require hours of viewing homework to catch up on the story. Even if the last time you saw the original Top Gun was in the ‘80s, odds are you’ll still remember everything you’ll need to know for this one. And if you’ve never seen it, the movie makes sure to fill you in on everything you might have missed if you haven’t. Leave it to Tom Cruise to make an entire movie that is essentially “What if we made a movie that is only about the Rebel pilots preparing for the Trench Run on the Death Star?” We’ll be honest, no one’s watching this one for the plot, but beautifully photographed breakneck action and some surprisingly engaging performances make this one a real crowd-pleaser.