The best movies released in 2022, according to CNET editors

These days, it’s a testament to the greatness of film when it lures us out of our inner sanctuaries. A handful of films have hit big at the box office this year – Top Gun: MaverickFor example – without sacrificing high cinematic standards.

Then there were the small budget movies that made big waves, namely Everything everywhere at once. This multi-layered kaleidoscope of film combines filmmaking, moving performances, and a highly creative narrative to earn its place as one of, if not the best films of the year. the The best.

Let’s not ignore those stories that may have attracted more eyeballs while streaming in homes after shorter stints in theaters. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio was out later this year, but boy did he bring home a solid victory in stop-motion animation.

Without further ado, here are the movies CNET editors picked as their best movies of 2022.

Read more: CNET’s favorite TV shows of 2022


Glass Onion is not yet on Netflix, but it will air before the end of the year, on December 23rd. The sequel to Knives Out, written and directed by Rian Johnson and starring Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc, involves an unexpected death that occurs when several guests gather at a billionaire’s lavish home on a Greek island. I saw the clever, funny, and surprising film during its limited release in theaters in November and I couldn’t get over how amazing it was. I can’t wait to watch it again (and look for clues) when it hits Netflix.

– Mira Eisenberg

Warner Bros.

There have been many versions of gloomy old Gotham in the movies, but none appealed to me as much as writer-director Matt Reeves — I felt giddy after watching it. Batman is designed to make you feel uncomfortable with the opening shot, which is exactly what I need in a superhero movie.

Instead of serving a wider cinematic universe, this movie is drawn into its intense world of gangsters, corruption, and serial killers. Colin Farrell gobbles up the scene, John Turturro exudes sleaze, and Paul Dano is clearly the Riddler watching Seven.

Electric though, Robert Pattinson is as a vigilante teetering on the brink, with Batman radiating menace unprecedented in any other cinematic interpretation.

– Sean Kane

Disney, Pixar

Turning red didn’t appear in 2022, did it? There’s no way I’ve watched a movie that many times and it only came out this year. But yeah, as a parent of a 3-year-old, I’ve watched this animated coming-of-age movie from Pixar a few times, and it’s still fun. The story of a teenage girl who discovers she is cursed to turn into a fluffy, chaotic giant panda, this is a hilariously funny story about teenage angst, unbreakable friendship, bands, and ancient magic. My daughter calls it The Red Panda (as in “Daddy, can we watch Red Panda?”). Oh, go on then. At least not frozen.

— Richard Trenholm

Marvel Studios

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Despite the massive success of its predecessor, this inevitable sequel was stacked against it – not least because of the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman.

Instead of replacing Boseman, though, or giving us an iconic Marvel movie, director Ryan Coogler delivered a great take on grief and how it can cause us to lash out — or shut us down. Having lost my mother and father in the past two years, and a dear friend just in the past month, I am amazed at how much this has affected me.

And how can you make a superhero movie about such things.

Casting an action-packed superhero movie franchise opposite women of color was a treat. And as a longtime Marvel Comics fan, I can say that the movie that featured the Sub-Mariner and the Atlanteans grounded them in a way the comics never could. Namor as the embodiment of Quetzalcoatl was a stroke of genius, and matched the organic multiculturalism of the Wakandans’ future.

–and Avery


Streaming on Netflix, this Australian film is a perfectly paced stand-up psychological thriller based on a heartbreaking true crime. It stars English actor Sean Harris as Henry Teague, a man suspected of kidnapping and murdering a teenage schoolboy. Australian actor Joel Edgerton is an undercover cop tasked with getting the truth out of Tig after years. It happens through an elaborate police sting that recruits Tig into a fake drug-trafficking ring, promising a huge payout and a place to belong for the unemployed.

The film explores the uneasy relationship between Teague and Frame, as well as the enormous burden and cost of keeping their true identity a secret, as both men do. It haunted me for a long time after I watched it.

– Leslie Katz

Nick Wall/Netflix

Many fans of Jane Austen — Janet — have been sorely disappointed with the latest version of Persuasion, with some reviewers calling the sort of newness a “disaster” and others criticizing the option to update the original (and admittedly cool) script to appeal to those who might not be into dialogue. XIX century. I get it. I’ve read all of Austen’s work and watched every movie and TV series, including the very good BBC adaptation of Persuasion in 1995.

But did you know? I enjoyed Dakota Johnson’s interview with shy Ann Elliott and the way she broke the fourth wall to share her funny and deeply poignant thoughts. I still see in my mind the moment when Captain Frederick Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis) regains his lost love, his face capturing his amazement, longing, and happiness. And I thought Anne’s self-indulgent younger sister Mary was spot on.

Yes, this is less than a faithful retelling of Austen’s latest book, but we’ve had enough of those already. I’ll agree with reviewer Holly Thomas who called the movie “brilliant” because it gave the Jennets something to talk about – and for the curious a chance to glimpse the genius of Jane Austen.

–Connie Guglielmo


In the middle of my stage showing of Top Gun: Maverick, my wife leaned over and whispered, “This is just middle-aged men porn.”

And you know what? She was right. And you Also You know what that is Fabulous.

Top Gun: Maverick is basically middle-aged men porn. I should know: I’m a middle-aged man, and I’m watching another middle-aged man turn back the clock and show these know-it-alls how to get things done I finish, Amidst some of the best action scenes I’ve seen since Mad Max: Fury Road, it was exactly what I needed to get my ass back at the movies.

Top Gun: Maverick is a throwback. It is the beginning of an entire industry. It’s also an incredibly good allegory for the movie star’s death and a perfectly drawn metaphor for Tom Cruise’s entire film career.

It is also the best action movie of the year. Easily.

– Mark Cyrils


Even though Everything is Everywhere at Once is technically a multiverse movie – joining Doctor Strange 2 and Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse – it’s unlike either. In the case of Doctor Strange, it’s even better than that. Everything Everywhere simultaneously delivers kung fu action, absurdist humor, and existential despair in a film like no other. There are some great performances from Jamie Lee Curtis, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan of The Goonies, who are now enjoying a long overdue comeback. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll get a great Halloween costume idea.

– You’re Pendlebury


Guillermo del Toro rarely disappoints, and his situation with Pinocchio is no exception. Making this more than just a children’s story, del Toro reveals a poignant brand of gothic fantasy rooted in the meaning of being alive. With big deviations from the story we’re all familiar with, and memorable new creature creations, including a skeletal rabbit and an ethereal woody imp, this version of Pinocchio just might be the best – not least because it keeps the amazing art of stop-motion animation alive. must be watching. Warning: you will shed a tear at least once.

– Jennifer Bissett

side of the road

Emily the Criminal may not be a perfect crime thriller, but it’s a pretty excellent example of a low-budget indie that makes the most of its clever concept and excellent central performances. Aubrey Plaza plays Emily, a college graduate who struggles with ever-increasing debt. In a world succumbing to her, she is tempted to take various, not entirely legal, means to make money. Watch Plaza step fully into the dramatic actor’s shoes in this action-packed, tension-packed thriller.

– Jennifer Bissett

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