Best movies of the year, ranked

Cinema offered some blessed relief in 2022, as our list of the year’s best films proves. The big screen allowed us to step away from what was a year full of political and financial turmoil.

Not only is sitting in a movie theater reclaiming its sense of newness after a prolonged COVID shutdown, but streaming services also seem to be ramping up the quantity and quality of their long-running output for those who tend to stay home.

Thankfully, iconic franchises old and new have stepped up to the plate to deliver those popcorn moments, while the steady stream of quality blockbusters on a smaller scale has given a certain indie spirit to this year.

To celebrate 2022’s contribution to film, ShortList has selected 15 of the best films. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite.

The best movies of 2022

The best movies of 2022

1. Batman

Matt Reeves’ fiery take on Batman sees Robert Pattinson don the iconic cowl. This is a younger, greener Dark Knight than we’re used to seeing in movies, and one that’s as likely to rely on his deductive skills as his fists. It’s much closer in tone and theme to the ’90s thriller Seven than any contemporary superhero movie, which proves oddly refreshing.

Image credit: Warner Bros

The best movies of 2022

2. Top Gun: Maverick

Really shouldn’t work. As much as everyone loves Tom Cruise’s 1986 Top Gun vehicle, the movie’s spirited poses and cheese whipping are a big part of its time. This sequel to capture the spirit of the original while simultaneously adding a modern edge, along with some truly amazing atmospheric set pieces, is an incredible feat.

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

The best movies of 2022

3….. Anisherin from Inisherin

In Bruges fans were thrilled to see Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson reunite with writer/director Martin McDonagh in The Banshees of Inisherin’. It’s a completely different movie, all about frustrating life on a remote Irish island, but it’s no less intense or brutal. Stunning scenery and great supporting performances from Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan round out the package.

Image credit: Fox Searchlight

The best movies of 2022

4. Everything everywhere at once

The undoubted hit of early 2022 was this insane action game, which stars Michelle Yeoh as a bored Chinese American laundry owner who gains access to the multiverse. Capable of uploading the skills of countless alternate versions of herself, our heroine finds herself navigating her way through one of the year’s funniest and most original adventures.

Image credit: A24

The best movies of 2022

5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

At once, a poignant tribute to the late franchise star Chadwick Boseman and a full-fledged Marvel remake, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever manages to balance the high wire with aplomb. Ryan Coogler’s epic sequel also marks a much-needed return to form for the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the back-to-back flops from the stables of Thor and Dr. Strange.

Image credit: Marvel

The best movies of 2022

6. Elvis

Handing Baz Luhrmann the keys to this Elvis Presley biography was either an inspiration or a really bad idea. As it turns out, it’s very much the former, with Luhrmann’s penchant for the stage and his apparent love of subject matter coming together to produce a riveting account of King’s life. Guaranteed to leave you all in awe.

Image credit: Warner Bros

The best movies of 2022

7. glass onion

Rian Johnson’s spiky follow-up to Knives Out is another great game, starring Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc. This time, the world’s greatest detective (take that, Batman) tackles an appropriately twisted mystery set on the private island of a tech billionaire and his brothers. Glass Onion is absolute bliss.

Image credit: Netflix

The best movies of 2022

8. after the sun

Superstars Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio and Celia Rolson-Hall star in this stunning film about a daughter contemplating a return to vacation with her father at a Turkish resort in the 1990s. Director Charlotte Wells is widely tipped to be a character to watch, and on the strength of this first effort, it’s not hard to see why.

Image credit: BBC Studios

The best movies of 2022

9. victim

Prey is the first really good entry in the Predator series since the 1987 original. There’s no Arnie to show his way through this one, but new lead Amber Midthunder is arguably a more compelling leader. She plays an ambitious Comanche hunter in 18th century America, who discovers that she and her tribe are being hunted across the Great Plains.

Image credit: Hulu

The best movies of 2022

10. belle

Belle is the latest animated extravaganza from Mamoru Hosoda, who previously produced The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars. It’s inspired by the classic story of Beauty and the Beast, but applies the kind of modern touch you might expect from a Hosoda joint. Stunningly animated and beautifully narrated, it is another masterpiece from the current King of Anime.

Image credit: Toho Co

The best movies of 2022

11. Decision to leave

South Korean supernatural director Park Chan-wook, of Old Boy and The Handmaiden fame, makes yet another crime-thriller with the decision to leave. Detective Hye Joon and recently widowed Seo Rae embark on an illicit affair, but soon questions begin to arise about the nature of Seo Rae’s husband’s death.

Image credit: CJ Entertainment

The best movies of 2022

12. Bob’s Burger movie

Undoubtedly the animated movie of the year, Bob’s Burger just got even more awesome because it doesn’t require prior knowledge of the series to enjoy. The plot sees the Belcher family struggle to avoid foreclosure on their burger shop, but what really matters is the massive hit rate of its hilarious singles and musical numbers.

Image credit: FX/Disney Plus

The best movies of 2022

13. X

X is a faithful homage to the schlocky B-slasher films of the ’70s, but there’s a proper postmodern layer of commentary backing it all up. The film follows a group of aspiring pornographers who seek to shoot an X-rated sly on a rented farm. Suffice it to say, elderly landlords have more to offer than meets the eye. You better believe there will be blood.

Image credit: A24

The best movies of 2022

14. The King’s Woman

A true historical epic of the kind we write and don’t tend to see often these days, The Woman King is popcorn entertainment of the highest order. Viola Davis leads the cast – and is often in charge – as the fearsome leader of an all-female warrior army in the 19th century African kingdom of Dahomey.

Image credit: Sony Pictures

The best movies of 2022

15. No

Get Out and Us author Jordan Peele is back in 2022 with another twisted slice of supernatural weirdness. This time around, the sci-fi genre is shifted to new shapes, with a creepy storyline that might make you pause before stepping out into the daylight. Nope is a real slow burner, but it masterfully builds a sense of heightened anxiety over the course of 130 minutes.

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

Is there something missing from our shortlist?

Tell us about it, and if enough people agree, we’ll add it.

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