20 of the most popular movies of the year, ranked from worst to best


Robert Pattinson as Batman, Austin Butler as Elvis, and Keke Palmer wearing green and yellow in "Nope"
"The Batman," "Elvis," and "Nope" were all highly anticipated movies this year.

  • Several highly anticipated movies came out in 2022, but some wowed reviewers more than others.
  • Action flicks like "Top Gun: Maverick" and "The Batman" impressed most film critics.
  • Superhero installments like "Black Adam" and "Thor: Love and Thunder" got mixed reviews.
"Morbius" was written off by critics as sloppy.

Jared Leto as Michael Morbius in "Morbius."
Jared Leto in "Morbius."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 15%

Summary: Sick with a rare blood disorder, Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) goes to great lengths to cure himself and learns that his newfound strength comes at a grave cost. 

Many critics said "Morbius" barely ticked off the boxes required for a run-of-the-mill superhero movie. 

"If it were just a ride in a theme park, 'Morbius' would be fun enough. But it is not," Catey Sullivan wrote for the Chicago Reader.

Critics questioned the necessity of "Jurassic World Dominion."

jurassic world dominion
Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, and Laura Dern in "Jurassic World Dominion."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 29%

Summary: Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) team up the original "Jurassic Park" (1993) characters (Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, and Laura Dern) as they all reckon with a world overrun with dinosaurs. 

Most critics conceded that "Jurassic World Dominion" was an unwelcome sequel with uneven acting. 

"If you didn't know better, you'd think Chris Pratt had never acted before," wrote film critic Matt Pais.

Most critics were unimpressed by "Black Adam."

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam.
Dwayne Johnson in "Black Adam."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 40%

Summary: After 5,000 years of sleep, super-powered Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson) faces off against the Justice Society when they stand in the way of his path for vengeance. 

Some reviewers saw "Black Adam" as a DC movie that showed promise but ultimately ended up being a bit of a letdown. 

"The film might not always hit the right notes, but ultimately it serves its purpose as a solid origin story that has plenty of room for growth and expansion," Micheal Compton wrote for Bowling Green Daily News. 

"Uncharted" didn't fully translate the fun of the original video games to the big screen.

Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland in "Uncharted."
Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland in "Uncharted."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 41%

Summary: Treasure hunter Sully (Mark Wahlberg) tasks crafty thief Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) with helping him find Ferdinand Magellan's lost fortune, but they soon realize they're not the only ones on the quest for gold. 

"Uncharted" earned points from critics for Holland's acting efforts, but many felt like the creative team failed to translate the video-game franchise into a compelling film. 

"It's a fun ride, and there's a cool cameo for gamers to enjoy, but it is not quite the film I had hoped it would be," Ayelet Dekel wrote for Midnight East. 

"Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" garnered mixed reception from reviewers.

fantastic beasts the secrets of dumbledore
Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law in "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 46%

Summary: Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) tasks Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his friends with helping him track down the dark wizard Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen). 

Although it had its admirers, most critics said this latest "Fantastic Beasts" installment lacked the magic from the original "Harry Potter" series. 

"While perhaps the best 'Fantastic Beasts' film, 'The Secrets of Dumbledore' remains a dour movie with lots to say but not enough imagination or understanding to say it well," Tiffany Babb wrote for the Chicago Reader.

Overall, critics wrote mixed reviews for "Bullet Train."

Brad Pitt holding a bottled water
Brad Pitt in "Bullet Train"

Rotten Tomatoes score: 53%

Summary: While on board the fastest train in the world, an assassin named Ladybug (Brad Pitt) fights off a variety of adversaries with different agendas. 

Critics were quick to praise Pitt for carrying the film but most agreed the story itself went off the rails. 

"Brad Pitt's comedic chops are what saves an otherwise exhausting 'Bullet Train,'" Marriska Fernandes wrote for Exclaim. 

"Thor: Love and Thunder" fell short of "Ragnarok" in the eyes of critics.

Natalie Portman as Jane Foster/Mighty Thor and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Thor: Love and Thunder."
Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in "Thor: Love and Thunder."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 64%

Summary: In this Marvel flick, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must team up with Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and his ex, Jane (Natalie Portman), to fight Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) and bring New Asgard's stolen children home. 

"Love and Thunder" earned a mix of positive and middling reviews, with some critics admitting that it was hard for director Taika Waititi to follow up the fun of the previous "Thor" installment. 

In a review for POC Culture, Ron Seoul-Oh called the film "hilarious, irreverent and full of crowd pleasing moments" but added "the story development suffers in favor of the humor."

Reviewers thought "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" was fun, if not a little zany.

sonic the hedgehog 2
Ben Schwartz voices Sonic in "Sonic the Hedgehog 2."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 69%

Summary: After the evil Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) recruits Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba) to find a powerful emerald, Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) and Tails (voiced by Colleen O'Shaughnessey) try to beat them to it first. 

Critics noted that "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" was mostly meant for kids under 12, but still regarded it as a silly and simple family adventure. 

"Dismiss it as another cash-in; you wouldn't be wrong," John Wenzel wrote for the Denver Post. "But it's pure and unapologetic fun, a thrill ride for kids that manages to fly by for adults, too."

"Minions: The Rise of Gru" left many critics smiling.

minions the rise of gru
Steve Carell voices young Gru in "Minions: The Rise of Gru."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 70%

Summary: In this "Despicable Me" prequel, young Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) bands together with his Minions to join supervillain group the Vicious 6 while growing up in 1970s suburbia. 

Critics largely agreed that the family film was an adorable addition to the "Despicable Me" franchise. 

"'The Rise of Gru's' story is instantly forgettable, but the film looks great, moves briskly, and boasts the vocal stylings of a cast that sounds like they're having the time of their life," Shirley Li wrote for The Atlantic. 

Critics mostly found "DC League of Super-Pets" heartwarming.

DC League of Super Pets
Dwayne Johnson and John Krasinski voice Krypto and Superman in "DC League of Super-Pets."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 73%

Summary: After Superman (voiced by John Krasinski) and the Justice League are kidnapped, Krypto (voiced by Johnson) steps up and puts together a scrappy pack of animals to help save his friends. 

Critics praised filmmakers for putting heart into a family flick that could've just been a cash grab. 

"While 'Super-Pets' often feels like an attempt to cash in on the superhero craze, it still touches on some worthy themes such as friendship, teamwork, and finding one's self-confidence," film critic Keith Garlington reviewed. 

"Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" earned merit for its unique direction.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."
Benedict Cumberbatch in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 74%

Summary: After Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) becomes obsessed with reuniting with her two sons at any cost, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) are forced to chase her through the multiverse. 

In the ever-growing Marvel Cinematic Universe, this "Doctor Strange" installment, along with Sam Raimi's direction, managed to stand out to a lot of critics. 

"Even when it feels like he is being held back, Raimi still pulls 'Multiverse of Madness' in intriguing directions through his sheer commitment to the craft," Chase Hutchinson wrote for Inlander.

Although it quite didn't live up to classic Pixar standards, "Lightyear" still earned solid praise.

Buzz Lightyear in a space craft
Chris Evans voices Buzz Lightyear in "Lightyear."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 75%

Summary: Space ranger Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Chris Evans) tries to save his stranded crew but finds himself intercepted by the evil emperor Zurg (voiced by James Brolin). 

Critics said "Lightyear" was best enjoyed if viewers went in with lower expectations. 

"To get the most fun you can from 'Lightyear,' only one requirement needs to be met: don't expect anything extending the 'Toy Story' universe," Leigh Paatsch wrote for Herald Sun. 

Critics said Baz Luhrmann's directorial style was in full form for "Elvis."

Austin Butler as Elvis with screaming fans behind him
Austin Butler in "Elvis."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 77%

Summary: In this colorful and unconventional biopic, Elvis Presley's (Austin Butler) life is told through the perspective of his conniving manager Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). 

Critics noted that director Luhrmann stayed true to his iconic style and put his own unique spin on Elvis' life story. 

"Flashes of color, lightning cuts, and the camera spins and needle drops are at times overwhelming, but it's an overall enjoyable experience that washes over you in waves of excitement," Adam Mullins-Khatib wrote the Chicago Reader. 

"Smile" left critics truly horrified.

Sosie Bacon standing in front of a wall with a red telephone handing on her right side a distraught expression on her face in the movie "Smile."
Sosie Bacon in "Smile."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 78%

Summary: After a disturbing session that ends with a dead patient, a therapist (Sosie Bacon) finds herself overwhelmed by a strange new terror taking hold of her. 

Although some reviewers pointed out pacing issues, the payoff of "Smile" stuck with critics long after the credits rolled. 

"The combination of a committed central performance from the increasingly gaunt and haunted Bacon, and a jarring, tortured score, makes for an enjoyably nasty brush with the smiling face of evil," Wendy Ide wrote for the Observer. 

Critics were charmed by the romantic comedy "The Lost City."

the lost city
Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum in "The Lost City."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 79%

Summary: After romance novelist Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) writes about an ancient city in her latest book, a billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) kidnaps her under the belief that she can lead him to gold.

The movie might not have broken fresh ground in the romance genre, but critics appreciated its nods to favorites from the past. 

In a review for Loud and Clear Reviews, Zoë Rose Bryant called "The Lost City" a "terrific throwback" to rom-coms from the 1990s and 2000s, praising Bullock and Channing Tatum's performances. 

Reviewers said Jordan Peele had another hit on his hands with "Nope."

keke palmer nope
Keke Palmer in "Nope."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 82%

Summary: California horse ranchers OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer) are stunned when an otherworldly presence hovers over their small town. 

According to critics, "Nope" continued Peele's successful run of films as an inventive horror director. 

"Brimming with tension but laced with gaiety so as to never feel hostile, 'Nope' is an operatic and sweeping thriller that celebrates cinema and simultaneously condemns it as an industry built on obscured violence," Eric Francisco wrote for Inverse. 

"The Black Phone" kept critics glued to their seats.

Ethan Hawke in a mask
Ethan Hawke in "The Black Phone."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%

Summary: 13-year-old Finney (Mason Thames) is taken by a serial kidnapper — dubbed The Grabber (Ethan Hawke) — and fears he might never get out until a mysterious phone connects him to previous victims from beyond the grave. 

The horror film was lauded by critics who appreciated its quality direction and memorable story. 

"'The Black Phone' is a solid, classical horror flick by a team who love the genre and excel at their craft — what more could you ask for?" wrote film critic Travis Johnson.

"The Batman" breathed new life into DC's filmography.

Catwoman and Batman in The Batman
Zoë Kravitz and Robert Pattinson in "The Batman."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%

Summary: Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) dons his cape and cowl to take on the grisly underworld of Gotham City and finds that his path keeps intertwining with Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz), who's on her own quest for vengeance. 

This latest "Batman" entry wowed critics and was welcomed as a refreshing change of pace for the future of DC. 

"'The Batman' transcends an oversaturated genre and gives arguably the best portrayal of the caped crusader yet," said film critic Cody Leach in a video review.  

"The Bad Guys" kept the laughs coming.

Animated Mr.Wolf driving car in "The bad guys"
Sam Rockwell voices Mr. Wolf in "The Bad Guys."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%

Summary: Career criminals Mr. Wolf (voiced by Sam Rockwell), Mr. Snake (voiced by Marc Maron), Mr. Shark (voiced by Craig Robinson), and more take on their hardest con yet — becoming good guys. 

Critics found this DreamWorks movie funny and fresh. 

"The terrific voice cast and delightful characters make this one a real winner," wrote critic Ruth Maramis.

"Top Gun: Maverick" took critics by surprise.

An image of Tom Cruise in "Top Gun: Maverick."
Tom Cruise in "Top Gun: Maverick."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%

Summary: Maverick (Tom Cruise) finds himself back on the Navy base where it all started and reopens old wounds when he and his best friend's son (Miles Teller) are tasked with a dangerous mission. 

Critics agreed that "Top Gun: Maverick" exceeded expectations in an era of constant reboots and sequels. 

"Somehow Cruise's foray back into the danger zone will be remembered more than the original, setting a new standard in the era of reboots," Maxwell Rabb wrote for the Chicago Reader. 


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