My top 5 Movies
Looking back on my review of 2021 I note that I’d distinctly promised to continue watching a lot more lesser-known films in order to end up with a top 5 that wasn’t dominated by superhero movies. Well, although I did succeed in broadening my viewing habits further this year, I seem to have ended up watching fewer movies overall than I did in 2021! And despite actually starting to experience Marvel fatigue this year, mostly due to their TV output, I haven’t quite been able to shake the superhero presence from my overall favourites of the year either.
For the majority of 2022, my top 5 didn’t change very much at all. However, the last month or two has seen a real shift, with some genuine surprises making it into my top 5. But before I get into my top 5, I just want to make a couple of honourable mentions.
Firstly, a movie that actually came out in 2021, but in terms of first-time watches, it ranked top this year for me – the winner of this years best picture Oscar, CODA (now on Apple TV+). Secondly, a movie that was both hilarious and uncomfortable in equal measure, The Banshees of Inisherin (now available to stream on Disney+). This one proved to be a real gem and even now as I’m typing this I’m thinking I should have ranked it higher.
So my number 5 for this year is a movie that came out just before Halloween, Barbarian (streaming on Disney+), and which I found to be an absolute blast. Watching the trailer I thought I knew the direction this movie was headed and even while watching it I found my expectations constantly twisted and turned as I held on for the ride. Coming hot on the heels of the brilliant Smile, this year has certainly delivered some strong horror movies.
When I saw the trailer for my number 4, The Menu, I was intrigued, but not sure whether or not I was going to enjoy it. Turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong and The Menu had me on the edge of my seat throughout, buoyed by some cracking performances from the ever-reliable Anya Taylor-Joy and Ralph Fiennes and with a simple but beautifully executed plot. Another very recent shake-up to my top 5.
Arriving in May was a film unlike no other and one that will no doubt feature on many best-of-the-year lists. Everything Everywhere All at Once (streaming on Prime Video) took the multiverse concept to a level that Doctor Strange failed to deliver and was high energy, wildly creative, hilarious and so completely bonkers that it almost defies description. But it still remained anchored by a genuine, emotional core highlighting the importance of family. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before and it earned a spot at number 3 on my list.
My number 2 is another fairly recent new entry and one that I really wasn’t expecting to land so highly on my list. When I first saw the trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, I knew it was going to be emotional and I knew it was going to introduce us to Namor, as well as a new Black Panther. But if I’m honest, the trailer for it didn’t particularly grab me, so when I eventually saw the movie in IMAX, it completely blew me away. Yes, I got all emotional at the beginning and the end, but I was also treated in between to an action-packed and decent story, with a couple of very interesting new additions to the MCU in the form of Namor and Ironheart.
So, my number 1 for the year has held its spot since the first moment I saw it back in March. Much like Wakanda Forever, I wasn’t entirely sold on the trailer for The Batman and I certainly wasn’t sold on Robert Pattinson starring either. I’m such a huge fan of the Christian Bale run at being Batman that I just couldn’t see how this would ever hold up alongside them. So, I was very pleasantly surprised when the result was a dark and gritty detective story, with a pretty decent portrayal of Batman too. Everything just clicked for me and it was my first and only 5-star rating of the year.
My top 5 TV shows
When it comes to TV, I’m finding myself once again in the exact same position I was in when I wrote my end-of-year review for 2021 – completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of incredible TV shows being released, struggling to try and keep on top of what’s coming out let alone watch them any of them, and almost certain that I have missed out on at least a dozen shows that I would absolutely love. I also find myself with a list that is again completely lacking in Marvel shows, which I really wasn’t a fan of at all this year. There seemed to be a running theme with my viewing of Marvel TV – an interesting opening episode, followed by a bunch of increasingly dull filler episodes and then an interesting finale.
As with my movie list, I have a few honourable mentions before heading into my overall top 5. First up, Willow, now streaming on Disney+. I remember absolutely nothing at all from the 1988 movie that this series is a sequel to, other than the fact it starred Warwick Davies, but I managed to binge the first four episodes in one go, something which is completely unheard of for me, and I love the mix of fantasy, humour and storytelling within it. Second is season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale, which is coming to a close here in the UK. To be honest, I am feeling a slight dip in my enjoyment of this season compared to others, but for me, this is still one of the best and consistently strong shows around. And then there’s season 4 of Ghosts on BBC. I gave a mini review for this one in a recent StreamChat post but in summary – it was stronger than ever, it introduced some amazing new ideas and storylines, and I absolutely loved it.
So, onto my top 5 and at number 5 is The Sandman, which is streaming on Netflix (and you can read my full review here). Both The Sandman and Wednesday (which is another honourable mention), were new Netflix shows that were based on familiar source material and featured some brilliantly dark storytelling in every episode. I could quite easily see both of them running for multiple seasons.
My top 4 are all fairly interchangeable really. All are wildly different, all are returning shows, and all have gained a 5-star rating from me. Season 3 of The Boys (streaming on Prime Video) was stronger than ever, continuing to shock and entertain in equal measure and forever leaving us hopeful that Homelander was going to finally get what was coming to him. With spinoff show, Gen V headed our way in 2023 and season 4 of The Boys already in the works, there certainly won’t be any shortage of outrageous superhero action any time soon. On the other hand, season 3 of The Umbrella Academy (streaming on Netflix) didn’t feel quite as strong overall as previous seasons did, but it was still one hell of a crazy, fun-filled ride.
It’s hard to pick an overall favourite out of these last two. The first season of Undone (streaming on Prime Video) made it to the top of my TV list in 2019 and I couldn’t wait for season 2 to hit. Thankfully, the new season was just as good as the last. The earlier episodes this time around were much more focused on family drama, before eventually returning to the emotional time-jumping trippiness that I loved from the first season.
My final choice is season 6 of Better Call Saul (streaming on Netflix). Much like Breaking Bad, the show this precedes, Better Call Saul has always featured consistently strong writing and performances, with this final season being no exception. Aside from the wonderful fan-pleasing cameos, we finally found out what happens to Kim, a character who wasn’t in Breaking Bad, leaving fans worried as to her fate. It also nicely tied up the post Breaking Bad storyline that we usually just get a brief glimpse of in earlier seasons. This was a perfect ending to one of the most perfect shows to have ever graced our screens.
Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.