Surprisingly, 2022 ended up being a very good year for movies. A combination of delayed releases of pre-pandemic films and tremendous lower-budget affairs have made for a very enjoyable cinema year. The below is a list of Nerdist‘s favorite movies of 2022. Many of these are on our personal top 10s of the year, but this list represents our collective favorites, things we’ve covered and reviewed. Horror, sci-fi, action, animation, and of course, comic book movies; if it’s Nerdist, it’s here on this list.
Here they are, in order of release.
The very-long-awaited first outing of Robert Pattinson as the Dark Knight eventually saw release in February. I had hoped it would be good, but I couldn’t have predicted it would supplant all other Batman live-action outings for me. Matt Reeves made his version of Gotham City both believable and thoroughly steeped in comic book lore. It’s a moody, emotional, actually mysterious adventure with some killer action and a whopping five major villains. Michael Giacchino’s score for the movie might be the most replayed in my Apple Music for the year, too. Just a triumph on every level. –Kyle Anderson
Though most of their recent output has gone straight to Disney+, Pixar’s Turning Red is yet another triumph. One of their strongest aspects is the ability to show slices of life that are specific to particular people that feel somehow universal. A girl turning into a giant red panda shouldn’t be relatable, but it super is, because everyone has felt embarrassed about their parents amid growing up. Adolescence may as well be turning into a monster, so hey at least it’s a really cute one. Great movie, deserved to be on the big screen. – Kyle Anderson
Everything Everywhere All at Once
After the movie where a farting corpse is someone’s best friend, I was willing to go with the Daniels anywhere they wanted to go. Turns out where they wanted to go was the multiverse! A small family drama that is at once a universe-altering action/sci-fi adventure. It’s genius, and Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan deserve Oscar nominations this year. In fact, if they don’t get them, I’m going to do glue googly eyes to the Academy voters’ houses. (Disclaimer: I’ve been asked to say I will not do that.)
– Kyle Anderson
Either of these movies from Ti West— X which came out in March and Pearl which came out in September—would have made a shortlist of movies we liked. However, the fact that they both came out in the same year and act as a fascinating exploration of similar themes in completely different ways makes the whole experience one of 2022’s best. X is a slick slasher set in the early heyday of porn against a backdrop of homicidal backwoods olds; Pearl backs all the way up to the 1910s and explores how the titular old from X got to be the way she is. Scary, funny, weirdly touching, and with three tour-de-force performances from Mia Goth. What’s not to love? – Kyle Anderson
Top Gun: Maverick
I’m on record as thinking this movie would be both not very good and not make much money. And that, friends, is why I don’t professionally prognosticate things. Top Gun: Maverick is better than the 1986 original, features a compelling narrative for Tom Cruise’s never-really-grown-up Maverick, and has some of the most outstanding aerial stunt work ever committed to screen. It made a lot of money, and while it wasn’t the greatest film ever made, it absolutely deserved to be seen as many times as it has. – Kyle Anderson
I love that we’re in a world where a new Jordan Peele movie is cause for excitement. With only his third feature, he went enormous and delivered a fascinating and troubling sci-fi story with visuals we haven’t seen anywhere before. Nope is his Jaws and Close Encounters all rolled into one. But the movie’s most upsetting bits have to do with thinking humanity has any control over nature. That goddamn chimpanzee… haunting. – Kyle Anderson
2022 is wild, man! Not only do we get a sequel to Top Gun that rules, we also finally get a Predator installment that lives up to the original. Prey takes us back to 1719 where an Indigenous youth has to fend off an alien hunter who is waaaaaaay overpowered for the time period. It’s not scary the way the first movie was, but its action sequences are outstanding. The franchise is one of the more convoluted and disparate in all of sci-fi (even more than Alien one could argue) but at least we finally got another entry worthy of the banner. – Kyle Anderson
The Woman King
The Woman King brings the fascinating real life story of the Agojie (also known as the Dahomey Amazons) to the masses, opening up a portal to the past that was mostly shut for American audiences. Gina Prince-Bythewood’s film explores this fierce 19th all-woman army in a heartbreaking narrative that parses through facing the repercussions of slavery and eschewing societal expectations. Through unforgettable performances from Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, and Lashana Lynch, we got a window into an unbreakable sisterhood as their characters parsed through self-preservation, vengeance, and pain in all its forms. Visually stunning action sequences and a terse marriage of tension and humor gave us a truly unique historical offering. – Tai Gooden
I often think spoilerphobia is worse than just knowing basic info about a movie. Like, who cares if you know the premise? But in the case of Zack Cregger’s Barbarian, the less you know beforehand really does enhance the experience. Yes, it’s on HBO now so you should be able to watch, but we still won’t spoil too much here. Suffice to say, this movie is truly buckwild and both scary and gory to the max and full of hilarious social satire. Dang. – Kyle Anderson
Wendell & Wild
Wendell & Wild affirms why stop-motion animation is an artform that’s here to stay. Henry Selick’s rather macabre meditation on the school-to-prison pipeline, PTSD, the afterlife, and community power is ambitious and at times strange, but wholly satisfying. The film pays gorgeous homage to Black punk rock while exploring the horrors and shady secrets that decimate small towns. Its heavy thematic focus on the duality of beauty and pain, the trademark wit of Key & Peele paired with a breakout performance by Lyric Ross, and intricate worldbuilding makes it a film that you’ll want to explore time and time again. – Tai Gooden
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
In many ways, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is exactly what we thought it would be… and that’s a great thing. The highly-anticipated Marvel film explores the in-universe and real life pain of losing T’Challa and Chadwick Boseman. Every frame is an aesthetic wonder. Humor, tears, action, and gripping dialogue coexist beautifully in its narrative. Shuri takes on the mantle, even if she’s not quite ready for it.
But in reality, Wakanda Forever digs far beyond previous speculation and theories. The exploration of grief splinters into many directions that all resonate. It centers Black and Native people in unexpected ways as they ascertain their real enemies. And while it is clearly in tribute to its fallen king, through the ashes of pain rise a new version of characters we love along with the delight of Riri “Ironheart” Williams. Without a doubt, Wakanda Forever is the best MCU film of 2022. – Tai Gooden
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Rian Johnson’s Knives Out was quietly my favorite movie of 2019. So the notion that he’d get to make more whodunit mysteries starring Daniel Craig as gentleman sleuth Benoit Blanc was beyond exciting. And while Glass Onion is a lot bigger and much more outwardly comedic than the first film, it nevertheless gives us lovely twists and anti-capitalist satire. Trade in your cozy sweater for seersucker beachwear. – Kyle Anderson