Best of 2022: Spencer Legacy’s Top 10 Movies of the Year

By | January 4, 2023

Best of 2022 is ComingSoon’s weeklong celebration of the entertainment that made this past year so memorable.

For my first year working at an entertainment website, I managed to check out a lot more movies than I usually would. I’ll surely be making a habit of this, as it helped me fully realize how much is out there beyond my usual taste. Plus, I do love the cinema experience.

Here are the 10 movies that I enjoyed most in 2022.

The Menu is a delightfully dark look at everything from pop culture to obnoxious critics, served up by a wonderfully unsettling Ralph Fiennes. The entire cast is exceptional at being realistically unlikeable in a way that keeps you watching, which makes the last third of the film an enthralling thrill ride all-around. It’s the sort of movie I may not have checked out in theaters prior to working here, but am I ever glad I did.

9. Elvis

Everything I knew about Elvis Presley prior to seeing Elvis came from Lilo & Stitch. With such fresh eyes, I went into the film with no preconceptions or knowledge. I came out of it simply wowed by the ludicrous amount of style Baz Luhrmann brought to the table and the dedication Austin Butler put into portraying the “King of Rock n’ Roll.”

I’d also be remiss to not mention how interesting the experience of seeing Elvis with my grandma was, as she spoke about how she remembered all the events of the film and how accurate certain moments were.

8. Turning Red

Quite simply, Turning Red is the best Pixar movie since Coco, and one of the best films from the studio in general. Generational trauma can be a heavy subject, but Turning Red never loses its upbeat attitude. It looks incredible, is full of excellent comedy, and has a real beating heart at its center. Plus, it’s set in 2002 Toronto, which was very fun to see as a Canadian millennial myself. Any quality movie that prominently features Daisy Mart and the then-SkyDome has a place in my heart.

7. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Though reception to Multiverse of Madness seems to be a bit more mixed as of late, I had a blast watching the Doctor Strange sequel. Sam Raimi’s influence was a big part of this, as the horror visionary was able to squeeze a good deal of his style into 2022’s first theatrical Marvel Cinematic Universe installment. The Illuminati and wacky universes were good fun, but it’s the character of Strange himself that has always greatly appealed to me. Seeing him accept that, despite all his power, some things are immutable was moving, and I hope we see that development carry on in whatever Marvel film Strange pops up in next.

6. Avatar: The Way of Water

I never found the original Avatar to be all that memorable as a 13 year-old, but The Way of Water did the trick and pulled me into this universe. The Avatar sequel continues to show just how skilled James Cameron is at making enjoyable blockbusters after decades of honing his craft. The action is thrilling, the visuals are beautiful, and the performances demonstrate just how dedicated the entire cast is to Cameron’s vision. It’s a truly cinematic experience that deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible.

5. The Batman

My favorite part of Batman’s character has always been his detective side — an aspect which was woefully underrepresented in the Caped Crusader’s cinematic offerings. The Batman changed that, pitting the incredible Robert Pattinson against Paul Dano’s masterfully deranged Riddler in a battle of both brain and brawn. Riddler is my favorite Batman villain, so I had a blast watching Dano go off the deep end as Edward Nashton. Here’s hoping he returns in some way in the future. Until then, I simply can’t wait to see the next case that Pattinson’s Batman tackles.

4. One Piece Film: Red

One Piece is one of my favorite things ever, so any theatrical film set in that robust universe is going to have my attention. The emphasis on the enigmatic Shanks and the many emotional beats toward the end made it a One Piece fan’s dream, even if it isn’t technically canon. The unusual character pairings were a lot of fun to watch as well, as that’s something that can only happen in these movies. Film: Red‘s catchy soundtrack (with plenty of songs by the immensely talented singer Ado) was stuck in my head for weeks after seeing it, though that could also be because I watched it three times.

3. Top Gun: Maverick

I chronicled the personally fulfilling experience I had watching Top Gun: Maverick with my dad, but even beyond that reasoning, Maverick is just an exceptional blockbuster. Every beat hits exactly as it should, and every flight sequence is nothing short of exhilarating. The drama between characters had me riveted from the get-go and assured me that Maverick would be just as good as the legendary film that preceded it. No matter who you are, Top Gun: Maverick is very likely to be more than worth your time, as it’s simply a brilliant movie

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything Everywhere All at Once is a beautiful film that has you leaving feeling more affirmed about life than you were before watching it. It ponders upon life’s very purpose and explores it through excellent action scenes, touching drama, and, despite the supernatural framing, grounded characters that you grow to care a great deal for.

Ke Huy Quan, in particular, gives a moving and awe-inspiring performance, but the rest of the cast is nothing to scoff at, as they bring such life to the characters and give the film an incredible emotional core. Everything Everywhere All at Once is a true work of art and an example of how powerful film can be.

1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

I’ve had a big soft spot for the story of Pinocchio since I was a little kid, and I thought we’d seen pretty much every interesting variation and take on the classic story that could possibly be made. Guillermo del Toro proved me wrong, as his take on Pinocchio — set in Italy between the two World Wars — is unlike any other version in the best way. All the staples of the fairy tale are here, but done in new, exciting, and novel ways that remind you why del Toro is considered one of the best in the biz.

The painstakingly crafted stop-motion animation is stunning, making the final product one of the most impressive examples of stop-motion animation ever done. The performances give life to del Toro’s plethora of memorable and realistically damaged characters, who are further examined through the film’s emotionally resonant songs that are narrative tentpoles instead of melodic garnishing. Plus, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio has the titular puppet singing a poo-themed parody song about dictator Benito Mussolini right in front of the fascist himself. What could be better?