The Best Movies of 2022

From 'Everything Everywhere All at Once' to 'Top Gun: Maverick' and 'Avatar: The Way of Water,' we’ve rounded up the 10 best films 2022 has had to offer.

The Top 10 Best Movies of 2022
Image via Complex Original/Universal Pictures/Disney/Paramount/A24
The Top 10 Best Movies of 2022

2022 has been somewhat of a reawakening for Hollywood. After COVID delayed some of the most anticipated projects, this year was the time to set them all free, bringing the box office (somewhat) back to life. It was also a big year for sequels. Films like Top Gun: Maverick and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness have collectively brought in billions of dollars since they dropped, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Avatar: The Way of Water also did numbers upon their releases.

Top Gun fans waited 36 years for the sequel to arrive, and when it came out in May it flew straight to the No. 1 spot, making it the highest-grossing film of Tom Cruise’s career. Avatar 2 took 13 years to return but it was also well worth the wait. Not only were they a commercial success but they also received rave reviews, proving that when done well, reboots and sequels can be just as thrilling and successful as the original. 

Experiencing the reactions that this year’s best films, like Maverick and Nope, elicited from the audience in person was a treat. As much as streaming has shifted how we consume movies, films are meant to be communal experiences that unite movie lovers, and this recent box office boom looks promising for the film industry’s future—even if smaller, quieter films have taken a hit. 

We spent so much time inside movie theaters this year (thankfully!), and each experience was more rewarding than the next. From Everything Everywhere All at Once to The Batman, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best films 2022 had to offer. While there was no shortage of films to choose from, these are the ones you absolutely need to watch by year’s end if you haven’t already. Check out our picks below, and stay tuned for what 2023 has in store.

9. 'The Woman King'

Best movies 2022 the woman king

8. 'Till'

What to Watch This Week Till


Director: Todd Field

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Noémie Merlant, Nina Hoss, Sophie Kauer

Distributor: Focus Features 

Where to Watch: In theaters, Available for purchase on streaming

TÁR is well-worth its inclusion on this list for Cate Blanchett’s commanding performance that’s likely to earn her another Academy Award win. It also helps that the Todd Field written and directed film (his first since 2006’s Little Children) is a masterful piece of work. As a world-renowned composer-conductor Lydia Tár (Blanchett) begins work on an interpretation of Gustav Mahler’s “5th Symphony,” a series of revelations from Tár’s past begin creeping out of the shadows to haunt her present. While there’s an exploration of cancel culture at play, TÁR is much more interesting as a treatise on who is or isn’t worthy of wielding power and the consequences of actions.

Field’s deliberate directorial style is heavily influenced by Kubrick, crafting moments that linger and let the audience get deeper into Blanchett’s psyche with a sound design that’s a must-hear in a theater or on a superlative home audio system. The methodical pace and subject matter might not jell for everyone, but the film’s kaleidoscopic themes will leave you turning over the movie again and again until it burrows itself into your subconscious where it’s likely to linger and resonate long after its incredible final moments fade. — William Goodman

7. 'The Batman'

'The Batman' trailer image

6. 'RRR'

Best movies 2022

5. 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'

'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'

4. 'Nope'

Nope Keke Palmer

3. 'Avatar: The Way of Water'

Avatar Way of Water Review

Director: James Cameron

Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Kate Winslet

Distributor: 20th Century Studios

Where to Watch: In theaters

There was no other event more breathtaking at the movies this year than Avatar: The Way of Water. Sitting in a theater, with 3D glasses on and being transported and immersed into a stunning, underwater, and surreal world for 192 minutes is exactly what blockbuster films of this magnitude were created for. There are only a few people in the world who are as thorough, intentional, and dedicated to their craft as James Cameron is, and the sequel to his 2009 Avatar is vibrant proof of his incredible efforts. While the visual aspect of the film is a clear highlight of the experience, the story is just as compelling, emotion-driven, and as captivating as other action films should aim to be.

The first Avatar could be considered a love story between Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) and Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), but this one is about family and the lengths we are willing to go to protect our own. More than a decade after the Na’vi fought against the sky people’s invasion of Pandora, Neytiri and Jake find themselves not only fighting for their people but for their children—Neteyam, Lo’ak, Tuk, and their adopted daughter, Kiri (who was born Dr. Grace Augustine’s avatar). They also look after a human boy named Spider, who is Colonel Miles Quaritch’s son born on Pandora, and becomes one of the sequel’s most compelling new characters. Having offspring raises the stakes for them when the humans return with a more ruthless goal of taking over Pandora for colonization, and also inspires a powerful performance from Saldaña who doesn’t get nearly enough credit for her work on these films.

The Sullys then have to make a decision—stay and risk being destroyed or leave and protect the Na’vi. They find refuge among the Metkayina clan, who are the ocean’s Na’vi and live on Pandora’s reefs. Once there the film takes an even more exciting, gorgeous, and riveting turn that will satisfy nearly any movie lover. Cameron and the cast outdid the first somehow with its sequel, and thankfully, we only have to wait a year to see what’s next. —Karla Rodriguez

2. 'Everything Everywhere All at Once'

Everything Everywhere All at Once

1. 'Top Gun: Maverick'

Top Gun: Maverick

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