2022 Comic Book Movies Ranked
8. Secret Headquarters
When Secret Headquarters was moved out of a predictably slow August release window and directly onto streaming only two months away from its scheduled release date, alarm bells rang for what had seemed like a promising original and family-friendly superhero offering. In receiving possibly the least amount of hype, interest or coverage of any 2022 comic book movie thereafter, the Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost project lucked its way into escaping the mire of criticism that its uninspired action, formulaic plot and executive-driven formula deserved.
So formulaic was this offering that it even suffered from the old family movie chestnut of being patronising to the kids it was aiming at, the child actors being by far the best part of the movie (and each holding more personality in their pinkie fingers than any character in Black Adam) but nevertheless succumbing to awful dialogue written with no intention or meaning other than to capture “what the cool kids would say”. Worse still, the old fashioned Restoration of the Father Figure narrative made for a consistent cycle of embarrassingly unrealistic scenes, an example of which is Owen Wilson (in the not-quite lead role) earning cool points from his kid for having a new people carrier – Bruckheimer Films really took that money from Volkswagen and ran.
Secret Headquarters seemed like a film formulated by a marketing department, written by people at least two decades removed from being a teenager, and then edited by an algorithm before being churned out with the lowest risk imaginable. With no less than twenty characters having lines in the opening ten minutes, at least some up-and-coming talents were given the opportunity to get paid.
Watching Sony’s Spider-Man Universe offering Morbius in 2022 was like stepping into a time machine and heading directly back into the mid-2000s era of superhero films like Elektra and Daredevil, only with a decade and a half of better comic book movies to compare it to. It wasn’t good.
“Borrowing” all the coolest moments from your least favourite superhero movies, washing them of colour, and removing said moments of all the depth and purpose they might have once had, Morbius was the shadow of many better ideas. Appropriately washed in black and bluey-greys, Morbius stumbled from cheap imitation to dire dialogue, comically cartoonish performances to Playstation-level graphics, in a clumsy attempt at a gothic horror turned superhero film; one that was ultimately as unable to grasp the depth of lore surrounding vampires as it was incapable of adding to it.
It wasn’t an MCU movie, which worked for it in some ways, and there was at least a degree of focus on the protagonist which was certainly absent in Black Adam and Secret Headquarters, but Morbius could have been good. It was a vampire comic book movie; how do you mess that up?
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6. Thor: Love and Thunder
Thor: Love and Thunder could go down in history as the moment when the Marvel Cinematic Universe jumped the shark; when it became so self-involved and absent of what brought it to the dance that it accidentally became a parody of itself. It certainly proved that Taika Waititi’s brand of comedy has overstayed its welcome.
To put this film side-by-side the infinitely superior Thor: Ragnarok is to tell a tale of a studio and/or filmmaker completely falling off in terms of standards. What was once a sharp and witty reimagining of a stuttering franchise has become a middle aged man’s TikTok reel, complete with accidental memes, problematic politics and an absence of artistic consistency. The CGI is shoddy by Marvel Studios’ usual standards, and the green screen filming has left the rest of the visual presentation at times completely void of cinematic language, as if Waititi was barely present at any stage of filming and simply asked the graphics team to fix it in post.
There are moments that might spark a happy memory, and there is a joke or two that lands, plus there’s no doubt that the return of Natalie Portman as Jane was a welcomed inclusion that has a fairly good pay off, but Thor: Love and Thunder is a film of negligence. Chris Hemsworth is parodying a character that once made his name, Taika Waititi is so checked out it’s evident on screen, and so much of what made Thor a lovable oaf has completely disappeared by film’s end. Without Portman, or indeed Christian Bale’s sympathetic and uniquely presented villain Gorr the God Butcher (who is much better in every respect than the villains of the films listed thus far), there wouldn’t be much to like about this film at all.
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