X
CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

The Best Movies Released in 2022, According to CNET Editors

It might not have been the most remarkable year in cinema, but it did bring Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Jennifer Bisset Former Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
Expertise Film and TV Credentials
  • Best New Journalist 2019 Australian IT Journalism Awards
Dan Avery Former Writer
Dan was a writer on CNET's How-To and Thought Leadership teams. His byline has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, NBC News, Architectural Digest and elsewhere. He is a crossword junkie and is interested in the intersection of tech and marginalized communities.
Expertise Personal finance | Government and Policy | Consumer affairs
Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
Sean knows far too much about Marvel, DC and Star Wars, and poured this knowledge into recaps and explainers on CNET. He also worked on breaking news, with a passion for tech, video game and culture.
Expertise Culture | Video Games | Breaking News
Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films | TV | Movies | Television | Technology
Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
Credentials
  • Third place film critic, 2021 LA Press Club National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards
Mark Serrels Editorial Director
Mark Serrels is an award-winning Senior Editorial Director focused on all things culture. He covers TV, movies, anime, video games and whatever weird things are happening on the internet. He especially likes to write about the hardships of being a parent in the age of memes, Minecraft and Fortnite. Definitely don't follow him on Twitter.
Connie Guglielmo SVP, AI Edit Strategy
Connie Guglielmo is a senior vice president focused on AI edit strategy for CNET, a Red Ventures company. Previously, she was editor in chief of CNET, overseeing an award-winning team of reporters, editors and photojournalists producing original content about what's new, different and worth your attention. A veteran business-tech journalist, she's worked at MacWeek, Wired, Upside, Interactive Week, Bloomberg News and Forbes covering Apple and the big tech companies. She covets her original nail from the HP garage, a Mac the Knife mug from MacWEEK, her pre-Version 1.0 iPod, a desk chair from Next Computer and a tie-dyed BMUG T-shirt. She believes facts matter.
Expertise I've been fortunate to work my entire career in Silicon Valley, from the early days of the Mac to the boom/bust dot-com era to the current age of the internet, and interviewed notable executives including Steve Jobs. Credentials
  • Member of the board, UCLA Daily Bruin Alumni Network; advisory board, Center for Ethical Leadership in the Media
Meara Isenberg Writer
Meara covers streaming service news for CNET. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. When she's not writing, she likes to dote over her cat, sip black coffee and try out new horror movies.
Jennifer Bisset
Dan Avery
Sean Keane
Richard Trenholm
Ty Pendlebury
Leslie Katz
Mark Serrels
Connie Guglielmo
Meara Isenberg
6 min read
Michelle Yeoh in an office doing a martial arts move

Michelle Yeoh gave a phenomenal performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once.

AGBO/A24

These days, it's a testament to the greatness of a film when it lures us out of our indoor retreats. A handful of movies achieved big milestones at the box office this year -- Top Gun: Maverick, for one -- without sacrificing high cinematic standards.

Then there were the smaller-budget films making big waves, namely Everything Everywhere All at Once. This multilayered kaleidoscope of a film combined crafty filmmaking, moving performances and a wildly creative narrative to earn its place as one of the best films of the year, if not the best.

Let's not ignore those stories that might've drawn more eyeballs while streaming in homes after shorter stints in theaters. Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio was a later entry this year, but boy did it bring home a tour de force triumph of stop-motion animation.

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

Read more: CNET's favorite TV shows of 2022

Netflix

Glass Onion isn't on Netflix yet, but it'll be streaming before the end of the year, on Dec. 23. The Knives Out sequel, once again written and directed by Rian Johnson and starring Daniel Craig as detective Benoit Blanc, involves an unexpected death that occurs when several guests are gathered at a billionaire's over-the-top residence on a Greek island. I saw the smart, funny and surprising flick during its limited run in theaters in November and couldn't get over how good it was. I can't wait to watch again (and scan for clues) when it hits Netflix.

--Meara Isenberg

Warner Bros.

There have been so many versions of grimy old Gotham City in movies, but none has drawn me in quite as much as writer-director Matt Reeves' take -- I felt dazed after watching it. The Batman is designed to make you feel uncomfortable from the opening shot, and it's exactly what I needed in a superhero movie.

Instead of serving some wider cinematic universe, this movie draws into its intense world of mobsters, corruption and serial killers. Colin Farrell gobbles up the scenery, John Turturro exudes sleaze, and Paul Dano's Riddler has clearly been watching Seven.

Crucially though, Robert Pattinson is electric as a vigilante teetering on the edge, with his Batman radiating danger like no other cinematic interpretation has before.

--Sean Keane

Disney, Pixar

Turning Red didn't come out in 2022, did it? There's no way I've seen a movie that many times and it only came out this year. But yes, as the parent of a 3-year-old, I've seen this Pixar coming-of-age animated movie many, many times, and it's still a joy. The story of a preteen girl discovering she's cursed to turn into a giant, fluffy, chaos-causing panda, it's a hugely relatable and funny tale of adolescent angst, unbreakable friendship, boy bands and ancient magic. My daughter calls it The Red Panda (as in "Daddy, can we watch The Red Panda?"). Oh, go on then. At least it's not Frozen.

--Richard Trenholm

Marvel Studios

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Despite the mammoth success of its precursor, this inevitable sequel had the deck stacked against it -- not least because of the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman.
Instead of replacing Boseman, though, or giving us a generic Marvel blockbuster, director Ryan Coogler delivered a gorgeously rendered treatise on grief and how it can cause us to lash out -- or shut down. Having lost both my mother and father in the past two years, and a dear friend just last month, I was stunned by how deeply it touched me.
And by how you could make a superhero movie about such things.
Having an action-packed superhero franchise movie fronted by women of color was just a delight. And as a longtime Marvel Comics fan, I can say that the film's fleshing out of 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 in the afrofuturism of the Wakandans.

--Dan Avery

Netflix

This Australian film, streaming on Netflix, is a spare, perfectly paced psychological thriller inspired by a heartbreaking real-life crime. It stars English actor Sean Harris as Henry Teague, a man suspected of abducting and murdering a teenage schoolboy. Australian actor Joel Edgerton is an undercover cop tasked with getting the truth out of Teague years later. That happens via an elaborate police sting that recruits Teague into a fake drug-running ring, promising a hefty payout and a place for the jobless drifter to belong. 

The movie explores the uneasy bond between Teague and Frame, as well as the formidable burden and cost of keeping one's true identity a secret, as both men do. It haunted me long after I watched it.

--Leslie Katz

Nick Wall/Netflix

Many Jane Austen fans -- Janeites -- were mightily disappointed with the latest version of Persuasion, with some reviewers calling this sort of modernish take "a disaster" and others criticizing the choice to update the original (and admittedly brilliant) text to appeal to those who might not be into 19th century dialogue. I get it. I've read all of Austen's works and seen every film and TV series, including the very well-done BBC adaptation of Persuasion in 1995. 

But you know what? I enjoyed Dakota Johnson's cheeky take on Anne Elliott and the way she broke the fourth wall to share her funny, poignant innermost thoughts. I can still see in my mind's eye the moment when Captain Frederick Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis) regains his lost love, his face capturing his surprise, longing and happiness. And I thought Anne's self-absorbed younger sister Mary was spot on. 

Yes, this is less than a faithful retelling of Austen's last book, but we have enough of those already. I'm going to agree with reviewer Holly Thomas who called the film "brilliant" because it gave Janeites something to rant about -- and the curious a chance to glimpse the genius of Jane Austen.

--Connie Guglielmo

Paramount

About halfway through my theater showing of Top Gun: Maverick, my wife leaned over and whispered, "This is just porn for middle-aged men."

And you know what? She was right. And you also know what? That's awesome.

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

Top Gun: Maverick is a throwback. It's a kick-starter to an entire industry. It's also an incredibly well made allegory for the death of the movie star and a perfectly drawn metaphor for Tom Cruise's entire movie career.

It's also the best action movie of the year. Easily.

--Mark Serrels

AGBO/A24

Though Everything Everywhere All at Once is technically a multiverse movie -- joining Doctor Strange 2 and Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse -- it's nothing like either. In the case of Doctor Strange, it's even better than that. Everything Everywhere All at Once offers kung fu action, absurdist humor and existential despair in a movie without a clear equal. There are some great performances from Jamie Lee Curtis, Michelle Yeoh and The Goonies' Ke Huy Quan, who's now enjoying a long-overdue comeback. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll get a great idea for a Halloween costume.

--Ty Pendlebury

Netflix

Guillermo del Toro rarely disappoints, and his take on Pinocchio is no exception. Making this more than just a kids' story, del Toro unfurls a trademark moving gothic fairy tale rooted in what it means to be alive. With significant deviations from the story we all know, and memorable new creature creations, including skeletal rabbits and an ethereal wood sprite, this version of Pinocchio might just be the very best -- not least because it keeps the astonishing art of stop-motion animation alive. A must-watch. Warning: You will shed a tear at least once.

--Jennifer Bisset

RoadsideFlix

Emily the Criminal might not be a perfect crime thriller, but it's a pretty excellent example of a low-budget indie making the most of its clever concept and stellar central performance. Aubrey Plaza plays Emily, a college graduate crippled by ever-mounting debt. In a world caving in on her, she's tempted to take on different, not totally legal, means of making money. See Plaza fully step into her dramatic actor shoes in this surprisingly action-packed, tension-laden thriller.

--Jennifer Bisset

New Movies Coming in 2023 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

See all photos