2. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever takes the award for being Marvel’s best movie of 2022 not necessarily because of its artistic endeavour, the way it subverts expectations, or the thrills that it offers in each of its action sequences, but because of what it means to fans of the genre and to the genre as a whole. As a piece on grief for a superhero (in real-life to many, and on screen to many more), Black Panther: Wakanda Forever becomes an unmissable comic book movie in anyone’s book.
Former Black Panther Chadwick Boseman fought silently against cancer for many years, the actor allowing his talent and passion to shine so brightly it lit up the darkness he was facing. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever attempts to do the same, and while there is no doubt a sadness imbued in its every line of dialogue and each performance, there is a celebration of Boseman as well as his character T’Challa in this most emotive of Marvel movies.
Gone were the unique set of circumstances surrounding the original Black Panther being a moment in history for black people around the world, and there is certainly a disjointed nature to this sequel (which had to quickly switch directions following Boseman’s death and faced a plethora of lockdown-enforced challenges during production) that means its most hearty of tributes isn’t as cemented in history as it might have been, but Wakanda Forever is special to many because of what it means, what it signifies. 2022 was filled with films churned out to satisfy accountants, at least Black Panther reached for something greater.
1. The Batman
There are the films listed numbers two to nine on this list, then there’s The Batman. The divide is noticeable, the leap in quality ginormous. The Batman is the best comic book movie of 2022 by a stretch, one of the great comic book movies of the past five years, a fantastic example of a film that moves its genre forward and evolves a new perspective on what its genre can be.
A detective thriller so akin to Se7en it might as well be straight from David Fincher’s notebook, and yet one that upholds old fashioned blockbuster ideals regarding the importance of an iconic theme (of which there have been no more iconic than that of Michael Giacchino’s score), boundary-pushing visuals (of which few films have rivalled Greig Fraser’s cinematography over the past decade), and iconic costume design, The Batman is the comic book movie fan’s art film and the art film fan’s blockbuster, an exceptional amalgamation of filmmaking quality, artistic intent and mass appeal.
Robert Pattinson is instantly one of the better Batmen in live-action, but The Batman is about more than who plays who and how, it’s the overall presentation that most resonates. Matt Reeves’ guidance of the project ensures a modern genre classic in every sense that any film can wish to be, and in doing so becomes the same source of light for the genre that its Batman becomes for the people of Gotham. There are no comic book films released in 2022 that can compare to the quality of this film in any respect; it is of a completely different level.
Recommended for you: Live-Action Batman Movies Ranked
Comic book cinema seems to be on the precipice of something new, its evolutions for better and for worse signifying an imminent change to the formula of the genre or even the profitability of the genre. With so much change behind the scenes at Warner Bros/DC, and a less stable marketplace for $200-300million comic book films to be born into, 2023 ought to prove most interesting with regard to what happens in the next phase of the MCU and the new era of the DCEU, not to mention the development of comic book adaptations elsewhere.
Which comic book film from 2022 did you enjoy the most? Do you agree with our order? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to follow @thefilmagazine on Facebook and Twitter for more insightful movie lists.